And the award goes to…


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.

Dear Santa, Please bring our grantees…


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

“The Dekko Foundation turned us down…

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.



Better than the lottery!


Dekko Foundation Grants–Three things you should know

  1. We want to invest in quality child and youth development. Our grants go to pay for all kinds of unusual things:  cameras, salaries, training, statues…you name it.  But it’s all directed at the same thing:  helping young people have the learning experiences they need when they need them!


  1. We don’t have application deadlines. We had grant application deadlines for a while but they didn’t make sense.  We found that grantseekers were trying to meet our deadlines rather than trying to do what worked best for their organization and their work.  Now we accept grant applications anytime.  Simply send your proposal 90 days before you need a response to your proposal.  We’ll get back to you on YOUR timeline!


  1. 80% of our grant applications receive support! Are you surprised by that?  We admit it seems high.  But foundation work has changed over time.  Our website is jam-packed with information, how-to’s and support.  You’ve gotten really good at researching and sending targeted proposals.  So many of you call just to talk through an idea you have—and we think this is great.  We can offer you ideas or maybe even suggest applying to a different foundation.

Call us to discuss an idea:  260-347-1278

Right in the sweet spot!

That’s where these proposals hit us!

Grantseeker, Betsy Pitchford, asked for a post about outstanding recent grants.  There are so many, it’s hard to choose.  Here goes.

We’d like you to notice, that in each of these grant arrangements, there’s an adult who’s stepped back to think about what children need to grow and develop.  Our investments are really in these adults and their thought process!

  • Just this week we invested $4,800 to pay for staff training at the Judy A. Morrill (JAM) Center in Garrett, Indiana. Their center uses the Reggio Emilia philosophy in their early childhood classrooms.  Teachers there asked for more training in order to maximize the impact of this beautiful philosophy.
  • The basketball and tennis court close to ten-year-old Morgan’s house in Gary, MN was a crumbling mess. With a whole lot of support from her mom, Morgan is leading a community effort to update and re-surface the court.  We’ve pledged $10,000 to help if the community can raise the rest of the money.
  • Last summer we made a $4,200 grant to support the robotics team at the Lindsay Lane Christian Academy in Athens, AL. We met teacher, Kathryn DeWitt, and learned of the student-led nature of the team (students elect the CEO and commit to job responsibilities).
  • We don’t make too many multi-year investments, but a recent proposal from DeKalb County Central United Schools was an exception. Because these school leaders believe that children are unique and need different options for learning, they’re offering Personalized Pathways to Learning.  Our grant of $497,000 over the next three years will support the training these leaders need to make this substantive change!