Top 5 reasons we love you, our grantees!

Posted on February 13th, 2015


We meet the most wonderful people in our line of work! With Valentine’s Day upon us, it seemed timely to gush just a little. So, without further ado, here are the Top Five reasons why we love you:

5. You’re dedicated to children and your community! In our 34 years as a foundation we can’t remember a single grantee that didn’t have the best interest of children and community in mind. Folks, you encourage us!

4. You want to learn and get better. As foundation leaders we continually strive for ways to accomplish our mission and that means that we often challenge you with new words, ideas and accountability. So many of you embrace these changes and challenges and strive along with us.

3. You’re inspired (as we are) by Mr. Dekko’s vision of economic freedom! Economic freedom is the ultimate liberty to make choices about one’s own life. We ask, “Is this a beautiful vision, or what?”

2. You tell us when we need to do better. We know it’s not easy to state the brutal facts to a funder that can offer support to your organization. And yet, many of you do! Some of you disagree on the reasons why a proposal is declined. A few of you think our email marketing stinks. All of you wish the 100-word limit on our grant applications would somehow get flushed. Your comments make us sit up, take notice and change things when it makes sense.

1. You work HARD! We thank you from the bottom of our Valentine’s Day hearts!


WHAT in the world do they want?

Posted on February 5th, 2015


Many of us on the staff of the Dekko Foundation have been grantseekers ourselves. Some of us did our grantseeking as volunteers for organizations we’re passionate about, others of us approached foundations in our former jobs.

Bottom line: we know a thing or two about grant applications.

One of the things we know for certain is that they’re hard. When support for your organization, and its work, is on the line it feels very important to get it right.

If you’re experiencing that feeling, we offer two things to help:

  • Grant Application Previews. We feel that, when it comes to helping grantseekers, there’s no such thing as TMI.   Our Grant Application Preview is on our website right along with our grant application. It has a sample answer for EVERY question on our grant application.
  • The opportunity to meet with one of our program officers. You already know that all foundations do their work differently. When we receive your grant proposal, we ask a program officer to meet with you (either in person or on the phone). This way, if you didn’t actually say what you meant to say on your grant proposal, you’ll have a chance to help our program officer understand what you DID mean to say.

Mary Allen, our grants manager, answers the phone with a smile in her voice. She takes calls from grantseekers all day every day. She’s resource number three and available at: 260-347-1278 or

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And the award goes to…

Posted on January 29th, 2015


Since it’s Oscar/Grammy/SAG/People’s Choice season, we decided to get in on the fun. Here are links to three of our favorite posts from 2014. These award winners received lots of your comments!

Doing it to youth, for youth or with youth?

Better than the lottery!

Mr. Dekko-ism

By the way, our blog doesn’t have a political agenda or try to sell anything. We simply use it as a way to talk to the subset of you, our grantees, who prefer their Dekko Foundation information with a little more detail.

We started our blog in 2014 (Who knew if this whole technology thing would catch on?). During the year we learned a lot about what you like to hear about and what you don’t really need/want to know.

We think it’s great when you comment on our posts. Blogging is our way of trying to let you know what we’re thinking. By commenting you complete an important feedback loop.

At the end of our comment section below there’s a place to subscribe to our blog. If you’re kind enough to do that, we promise we won’t cover you up with posts … usually just one per week.

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Dear Santa, Please bring our grantees…

Posted on December 16th, 2014


Dear Santa,

Our grantees have been very good this year.  They have worked hard and long  to help children grow up happy, healthy and ready for economic freedom.  If it would not be too much trouble, will you please put the following gifts underneath each of their organizational Christmas trees?

  • A great leader.   In his book, Good to Great, Jim Collins described great organizational leaders as Level 5 Leaders.  He says that Level 5 Leaders:  Focus  sharply on the  success of their organizations; drive for sustained results; set up their successors for success; are modest and take responsibility when things go wrong.
  • A board of directors that is willing and able to help sustain the organization.  Yes, this means fundraising, fund development, getting revenue and all other forms of bringing in the money to help the organization  accomplish its mission.
  • At least one person who will ask hard questions such as:  “Will someone please help me to understand this financial statement?’  and “How can our executive director run the organization when she has to spend so much time on programming?
  • The ability to use all of the resources that their funding partners (the Dekko Foundation, their local community foundation and United Way etc.) have available.  We funders have money, sure, but we also have experiences, contacts and more.  It all helps!

We have left cookies and milk by the Christmas trees Santa, and carrots for the reindeer.  We’d love it if you can bring these gifts.


The Dekko Foundation Staff

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“The Dekko Foundation turned us down…

Posted on December 8th, 2014

Sandy Profile photo

… and we LOVE them for it!”

Those words that you thought you’d never hear come from Sandy Petrie, director of the Noble County Public Library in Albion, IN.  Here’s the story:

Several years ago, the community of Albion, Indiana identified a problem:  Too few children were entering school with the experiences they needed to thrive.  Community leaders used their passion and ingenuity to design a solution.  Their idea was KiPS (Kindergarten Prep School), an intensive summer fun/learning opportunity that welcomed future students and removed barriers to participation. The library could host the event, and the money that it would take could come from the Dekko Foundation.  (This was exactly the kind of thing they like to support.)

Yes … except for one thing.  The year was 2008.  Our grantmaking capability (like that of all foundations) is tied to stock market performance.  In short, with the downturn in the market, there was precious little money for grants.  And the money that was available was needed to support excellent ongoing programs and organizations.  New initiatives were out of the question.

A declination from our foundation was not what they hoped for, but Albion’s intrepid leaders would not let their idea go away.  They went out into their community and found bits and pieces of support–kind of like a patchwork quilt–to launch their idea.  The school found money in its budget to transport children.  Local businesses and individuals contributed goods and services. Service clubs chipped in small grants.

In 2014, KiPS enjoyed its sixth year of preparing little people for school success.  The community still steps forward with the money, goods and service needed to offer the opportunity.  KiPS has reached that holy grail of sustainability.

“If the Dekko Foundation would have made the grant that we applied for, we would never have gone to our community,” Petrie said.  “We would never have built the buy-in that sustains us so well each year.”

Supporting programs and organizations without removing community buy-in is always a challenge.  But we find that balance in the thoughts of Mr. Dekko, our founder, who wanted to ‘help communities help themselves.’

P.S.  Since the stock market, and our grantmaking ability, has rebounded, we’ve made a small investment in KiPS.  But they sustain each year on their own.