WILMINGTON – The WSFS CARES Foundation, the charitable giving arm of WSFS Bank, announced it has provided grants to three community organizations located in Delaware and Pennsylvania as part of its continuing series of philanthropic activities by WSFS and the Foundation. The grants, approved in the first quarter by the WSFS CARES Foundation board, will support the following organizations:
- Chester County Economic Development Council – Pennsylvania Catalyst Fund ($100,000)
The Chester County Economic Development Council (CCEDC) supports businesses in four key areas – Financing Solutions, Location Services, Workforce Development, and Innovation and Entrepreneurship – to assist the business community and enhance the quality of life for those who live in the area. The WSFS funds will support the Pennsylvania Catalyst Fund in providing small business lending to disadvantaged businesses.
- Delaware Business Roundtable Education Committee ($75,000)
The Delaware Business Roundtable Education Committee’s (DBREC) mission is to improve public education in Delaware by aggregating and aligning the resources of Roundtable members and other business leaders. The WSFS funds will support DBREC’s Student Success 2025 initiative, a statewide plan for Delaware public education that aligns with the Delaware Business Roundtable’s growth agenda to support economic development.
- Freire Charter School Wilmington ($100,000 Matching Grant)
The Freire Charter School Wilmington has a mission to provide a college-preparatory learning experience with a focus on individual freedom, critical thinking and problem solving in an environment that emphasizes the values of community, teamwork, equity and commitment to peace. The WSFS funds will help support converting a secondary building into a gymnasium with a full-sized court, training room and spectator seating to help boost enrollment and retention rates, encourage athletic participation, and provide a space large enough for all-school gatherings.
“Revitalization and Business Economic Empowerment, Education and Leadership Development are among the core pillars of the WSFS CARES Foundation,” Patrick J. Ward, executive vice president, Pennsylvania Market president at WSFS Bank and chairman of the WSFS CARES Foundation said. “By working together with organizations with a shared focus on these areas like the Chester County Economic Development Council, Delaware Business Roundtable Education Committee and Freire Charter School Wilmington, we’re helping to bring WSFS’ mission of ‘We Stand for Service’ to life and enriching our Communities.”
“The Pennsylvania Catalyst Fund is a cooperative venture spearheaded by Chester County Economic Development Council in cooperation with economic development agencies in eight counties inclusive of Delaware and Bucks counties,” Chris McHenry, vice president, Development Finance at CCEDC, said “The mission of the Fund is to provide fair and equitable business financing to underserved borrowers within our region. The funds contributed to the Pennsylvania Catalyst Fund by the WSFS CARES Foundation will enable our Fund to support the establishment or expansion of four to five micro-businesses that are typically not eligible for conventional bank financing. This will give these small business owners the opportunity to create stable income for themselves and their employees in our areas most in need of economic development.”
“We are so grateful for the WSFS CARES Foundation’s ongoing support of DBREC,” Ernie Dianastasis, DBREC chair and founder and CEO of the Precisionists, Inc. said. “These funds will go toward helping us advocate for our youngest learners accessing high quality early childhood education as well as helping us reach of our goal of 80%, or 32,000, of Delaware’s high school students participating in the state’s nationally recognized career pathways program. WSFS has been a leader since DBREC’s founding nearly 20 years ago and their deep roots in the Delaware Valley are evident in the work they continue to do to build Delaware’s future.”
“Freire Wilmington's new athletic center is envisioned to boost student engagement, grow school spirit and advance equity,” Clint Walker, Freire Wilmington Board president said. “WSFS Bank knows what a good investment looks like, and their investment in this critical project is a testament to our school's record of excellence and our students' limitless potential. We are so grateful for WSFS Bank's partnership, and the WSFS CARES Foundation’s matching grant will encourage even more community members to invest in the future of New Castle County and help build a space worthy of our amazing kids.”