Pie? Lemon meringue please!

One of the best parts of working at the Dekko Foundation is meeting the people we serve.  They have lots in common!  They love their community.  They love kids.  And often they’re not quite happy with how things are going for children.

After our travels we share stories…like this one:  A few weeks ago Ashlee, one of our program officers, visited the Washington STEM Academy and talked with principal, Tom Ray.  Over the past few years, their entire staff has worked tirelessly to change a traditional elementary into a project-based learning school.  We didn’t write down Tom’s exact words but, to paraphrase, he said that as experienced educators it’s necessary, but difficult, to step back and learn new things about teaching and how children learn.

Step back and learn new things? We agree!  Researchers learn more about brains and how they work every day!  New methods are uncovered…best practices are shared!  It’s true in teaching.  It’s true in grantmaking.  It’s true everywhere.

Stepping back and learning new things requires us all to admit that we have a lot to learn…  It’s a little slice of humble pie…most people’s least favorite pie flavor!  But stepping back pays big dividends!

We think a lot about stepping back…as a matter of fact it’s part of our key message for 2014:

Great things happen when adults step back and consider what children need to grow and develop!!!



Learning from you, Mr./Ms. Grantseeker

We’re trying something new at the Dekko Foundation and, so far, WE LOVE IT!

What are we doing?  Spending a little time with some of our grantees AFTER they’ve sent their final grant report.

Why?  It’s a great way to learn from your experiences and plug that knowledge back into our work.

Like most foundations, we used to spend nearly all of our time talking with grantseekers BEFORE our grants were made.  We met with you, learned about your mission, worked to understand the ins and outs of your project…then, once our grant was made, we moved on to work with a whole new group of grantseekers.

Now, we’re learning that there’s real benefit in talking with you after your grant money is spent, and your final grant report has been sent.

Just today we met with leaders from the Girl Scouts of Northern Indiana-Michiana.  They talked about their experience of working with a national consultant.  They told us how impactful it was to have professional, non-emotional, unbiased guidance.  We recorded their thoughts.  Now the next time one of our grantseekers questions whether or not to bring in professional support, we’ll have some great experience (and someone they can call) in the hopper!

Here’s something that a smart consultant shared with us:

SUCCESS = What you were able to accomplish + What you learned along the way.

Continuing to get better is what it’s all about!!!






Tales of inspiration

We love it when grantees share stories of success in youth development. It’s most fulfilling when we can see real-world examples of our grants in action and the impact on youth education they’re having.

For example, view any (or all) of the videos highlighting inspiring stories from the The Center for Whitley County Youth at the organization’s web site.

Top 5 grantseeker questions (answers too)!

Here they are, in no particular order: The top five questions that we field!  If you’ve been wondering these things, you’re certainly not alone.

Q.   WHAT DO YOU FUND? A.  We want young people to grow up to be independent and have choices in their lives.  To make sure that happens, we invest in positive development for children, young people and communities.

Q.  WHEN’S YOUR DEADLINE?  A.  We don’t have any!  But we do need about 90 days to research and consider your proposal.  So, say you want to request support for a summer camp.  If you want to begin your marketing about March 1, we need your grant proposal about December 1.

Q.  HOW CAN I APPLY?  A. You’re already on our website…just click on our Apply Now section! There you’ll be able to make a user name and password and fill out our online grant application.  If you need helpful hints, that section is full of them!

Q. DO I MAIL MY PROPOSAL?  A. We love it when you apply on line!  On our Apply Now section, just click the bright green button and follow the instructions.  It’s just like ordering from Amazon.com!

Q.  WHAT IF I NEED HELP?  A. Call us:  260-347-1278.  Or send us an email:  dekko@dekkofoundation.org.  It will be our pleasure to talk things through with you.


Elephants and monkeys and cats…oh my!

Raise your hands grantseekers.  Are you confused, frustrated or just plain puzzled by foundations and their insistence on measuring and evaluation? 

Let’s talk. 

At the Dekko Foundation when we encourage our grantseekers to measure the work they do, what we’re really saying is this, “Tell us what will change for the better.” And, “How will you know whether or not anything has changed?”  

In the same way that we all like to see our savings accounts grow, foundations want to invest in improvement.   When projects make small improvements in people’s lives in the short term, it’s good. And, when those small improvements compound into significant change over time, well that’s what we’re all about! 

You’ll be pleased to know that measuring things doesn’t have to be serious, overwhelming stuff.  In fact, keeping track of progress can be downright fun! 

Here is a great idea from Sherry Hanchar, the executive director of Butler Early Education (BEE) in Butler Indiana.  Take a look at this survey below to see how Sherry took a previously un-measurable thing (“How are you feeling about the changes we’re being asked to make?”) and came up with a way to measure progress. 

Let us know what you think of Sherry’s demystifying idea…and share your own…email us at:  dekko@dekkofoundation.org