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DANA offers new support program for 8 First State nonprofits

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A new three-year program launched by the Delaware Alliance for Nonprofit Advancement (DANA) is providing eight First State nonprofits the organizational support they need to make a broader impact on the traditionally underserved communities they work with.

For La Esperanza Inc.’s Executive Director Jennifer Fuqua, participating in this new program will offer the organization’s leaders new opportunities for growth as La Esperanza, which has provided assistance and resources to southern Delaware’s Hispanic/Latino and immigrant communities for about 30 years, looks to expand its impact. 

“There’s only benefit to be gained in strengthening your organization to better meet your mission and better bring the resources that are needed to the community,” she said about the opportunities presented by the new program, which she described as “a very holistic approach.” This opportunity expands on the resources La Esperanza has already taken advantage of through its connection with DANA, including conferences and other technical assistance over the years that have been extremely helpful to the Sussex County-based nonprofit.

The DANA Nonprofit Accelerator Program, supported in part by an $810,000 grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration, will provide those organizations with technical assistance and guidance, including coaching and consulting related to leadership, operating plans and financial management. DANA itself is a nonprofit that helps other nonprofits pursue their own unique missions by providing resources, like this new program, that bolster other organizations.

“By strengthening leadership skills, enhancing organizational capacity, and fostering shared learning, we create opportunities for collaboration, partnership and increased community impact,” DANA President and CEO Sheila Bravo said in a press release.

Throughout the three years, the participating organizations will benefit from individualized support as needed, cohort training sessions a few times a year and executive directors will engage in scheduled peer learning opportunities, Bravo explained in an email. Participating nonprofits must pay “a small fee,” although the SBA grant is covering most of the costs for the program throughout the three-year span, she said.

“We are really excited to work with these amazing organizations,” Bravo said. “The passion and commitment of the staff, board and volunteers of these agencies is truly amazing.”

For Shané Darby, founder of Black Mothers in Power, the additional support will help her and her organization make a long-term impact in Delaware. Black Mothers in Power is a Wilmington-based organization founded with a mission to end racial health disparities in Delaware, especially for mothers of color.

“I never imagined running a nonprofit and it has been difficult finding support,” Darby said in a press release, adding that she hopes to “have a solid foundation in understanding our finances and fundraising” when the program ends.

Black Mothers in Power and La Esperanza join half a dozen others as the program’s first participating nonprofits: CAMP Rehoboth Community Center, Delaware Adolescent Program Inc. (DAPI), Delaware Interfaith Power and Light, Forward Journey Adult Day Services, Fostering Wishes Foundation and RodneyStreet Tennis & Tutoring Association. During the three years of the program, these participants will also benefit from workshops, peer-to-peer mentoring opportunities and other events.

Bravo said in an email that the hope is to launch a second round of the accelerator program later in 2024.

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