Art, art! It makes you smart!


Last week some of our co-workers attended a conference in California.  Over lunch they talked with a woman who runs an after school art program.  She stated that art and music are no longer part of the school day—so programs like hers are especially important for children.

At the Dekko Foundation we’d heard rumors that the arts were being squeezed from schools, so last year we did a little informal poll.  Good news.  No! Great news!  We found out that, in our grantmaking areas at least, the arts are alive and well in public and private schools!

We think that’s great news because we’ve come to believe that participation in the arts:

  • Promotes creative problem-solving, and the ability to apply learning across different disciplines.
  • Results in positive outcomes including deeper engagement and better retention.

Just a little distinction…it’s participation in music, painting, dancing etc. that brings about the positives above…not watching someone else do them!

We’re pleased to offer our Arts Partnership Grants to elementary and middle schools across our grantmaking areas.  These grants are open to both public and private school teachers who want to boost the arts education that they’re able to offer students in their classrooms.  If teachers apply this spring, they’ll have the money they need to implement their ideas next fall!

Follow this link for all of the information on Arts Partnership Grants:  Arts Parts Application


If you know an art or music teacher encourage them to apply.  And don’t delay.  Our deadline is Friday, April 4.

I’ve had an absolutely horrible day!


What do you want most when you’ve had a lousy day?  A cold shoulder? Or a nice warm foot rub and a five-minute personal pity party?

Children have emotional needs too and, too often, busy adults minimize their needs with the equivalent of a cold shoulder.  This link will take you to a great piece about children’s emotional needs.   The author offers ways that adults can help children deal with their feelings and go forward in positive ways.

At the Dekko Foundation we say: “Great things happen when adults step back and consider what children need to grow and develop!”  It’s surprising (or maybe not SO surprising) how so many of the things children need are EXACTLY what we adults need too!


I GOT one!!!!!

Was your grandpa standing beside you the day that you caught your first fish?



Did you celebrate holidays by getting more frosting on yourself and your mom than on the actual sugar cookie?

Childhood experiences make us the adults we become in SO many ways!

It’s no surprise then, that research shows philanthropy and community service are learned skills.  If you helped your mom make soup for a sick neighbor, it’s likely you do the same thing today (OK, maybe you get the soup from the Panera drive-thru…but still.).  If your church youth group raked leaves for elderly members, today you probably look around your community today for ways to help.

At the Dekko Foundation, we want to help children learn about philanthropy by DOING!   Doing what? Doing important things that will make their community better…and cement that all-important philanthropy gene for later.

One group of teens we know is remodeling the amphitheater in their town park…they’re hoping to be done in time for summer concerts.  Another sure winner is the Senior Prom…a social event for senior citizens that builds relationships and dance partners across generations!

Follow this link to learn more about our youth philanthropy grants!  Feel free to pass the word on to both kids and adults.


Know anyone with 80’s hair?

You know you do.  “Big” doesn’t begin to describe it.


When it comes to hair there’s not much downside to being behind the times.  But when it comes to growing and developing kids, if you’re still doing what you did in the 80’s, then your kids will definitely benefit from a refresh!

We believe there are a few timeless and simple principles that sum up what children need to grow and develop.  But sometimes, as adults, we get fancy and start to interact with children in complicated ways.  Other times we go all flavor-of-the-month on them.  Sometimes we arrange children’s learning for short-term financial reasons.  Or, maybe worst of all, we teach and develop kids in ways that are simply for adult convenience.

At the Dekko Foundation we want to invest in the work of people and organizations that are willing to step back and consider what children need to grow and develop.  These humble and caring adults match up their organizational priorities with what the children need most.

Maybe you’ve heard us say this before, but we think that Great things happen when adults step back and consider what children need to grow and develop.  Stepping back to re-learn what children and teens need to thrive is the organizational equivalent of a brand new haircut.  Does your organization need one?


Go ahead…provoke me!

“I provoke learning in my classroom!”  So says Amber Opper, preschool lead teacher from the JAM Center in Garrett, Indiana.

At the Dekko Foundation we were used to provoke being used in a more common way…meaning to annoy or irritate…but Amber and her co-workers use it differently.  They use the word provoke to mean “stir up” or “awaken!”

How intriguing…teachers as the awakeners of learning!

Here’s an example of how Amber provokes learning in her classroom:

“When we finally got a decent day and could go outside we went on a walk and brought back two tree branches that the children found.  We let them dry off and now the children are creating with them.  They have been working on it all week.  They are so quiet, so focused.  We brought in some tissue paper as one of the things for them to create with.  Two of the boys have been working there all week…they are so engaged.”

The JAM Center’s work is a great example of what we mean at the Dekko Foundation when we say, “Great things happen when adults consider what children need to grow and develop!”  In this case, what the children needed was a little provoking!

We want to help more adults think deeply about young children’s needs.  If you’re interested, learn more about our early childhood initiative called bloom!