According to comedian, Jim Gaffigan, bacon is SO good you can wrap it around other foods (like brussels sprouts or kale) to make THEM taste better.

At the Dekko Foundation, we think knowledge of child/youth development is a little bit like bacon.  Knowing how children and young people develop is good on its own.   But when you wrap that know-how around early childhood education, a  classroom or a youth group those experiences get better too!  Here’s how:

  • At some early childhood programs, adults bundle children up into coats, hats, mittens and boots for a trip to the playground.  But early childhood education programs that think about  what very young children need to grow and thrive…well, they allow plenty of time for children to dress themselves!  Getting dressed is as much a part of the learning experience as playing outside.
  • Some schools and classroom leaders think each child needs a computer at his/her fingertips.  Schools that think about what children need to grow and thrive believe that waiting for computer access once in a while builds planning skills and self-regulation.  Hmmm.  Those are good things!
  • It’s tempting for adults who advise teen groups to prepare the agenda, write the minutes and plan the food–otherwise it’s left to the kids and the last minute.  But adults who think about what teens need to mature know that natural consequences (no agenda or no snacks) are some really great teachers!  And who ever died from lack-of-agenda???

If you want to know more about our beliefs on what children and young people need to thrive, visit our website and click through our pages on what children need.  We think you’ll find it to be some sizzling-good information!

Mr. Dekko-isms

Mr. Chester E. Dekko

Mr. Chester E. Dekko

Sometimes we come across something that just has to be shared!  The title of this document was “Mr. Dekko-isms.”   We’re sharing it without any edits at all!

Mr. Dekko on priorities:  “Concentration of effort is the key to human accomplishment.”

Mr. Dekko on the essential ingredients of success:  “Talent–hopefully supplemented by hard work, and a little bit of luck.  I don’t’ think you can get along without a bit of all three.”

Mr. Dekko’s favorite saying:  “There is no finish line.”  –Nike ad

On Mr. Dekko’s gravestone:  “Only the educated are free.” –Epictitus

I was doing great until…


We hear this from grantseekers ALL the time!  They’re in the middle of filling out our grant application and they’re stumped.  The section they’re referring to is the part of our application entitled, “The Difference You Will Make.”  For short, ‘the results section.’

This section IS difficult!  So, let’s break it down.

Through this set of questions we want to understand something very important.  That is, if we make the grant that you’ve proposed:  What will change?  How much will it change?  How will you know whether or not anything actually happened?

Let’s say that you’re a community center that’s proposing an after school program.  Your result might be expressed like this:  Increase by 50 (from 75 to 125) the number of 6th-8th graders who will state:  “I am not home alone after school anymore,” and “I feel like my community cares about me.”

If you’re a parenting organization that’s proposing to build its capacity through updated technology, your statement might read:  Decrease staff paperwork time per employee by 2 hours per week; measured by employee time logs. The time saved will be spent serving 20 additional parents over the next year.

Maybe your organization is going to build or remodel. Here’s a sample result from a youth center that’s proposing to put in new windows:  Decrease heating and cooling bills by $2,400; measured by a comparison of last year’s and next year’s utility bills.

Bringing in a consultant to help solve problems (we call them Nonprofit Toolbelt Grants) might read something like this:  Increase the revenue from our annual fund from $52,000 to $75,000; measured by the net proceeds of our annual fund drive.

And what if your organization’s revenue doesn’t meet expenses?  A result might sound like this:  Decrease the gap between our revenue and expenses by $20,000, from $37,000 down to $17,000 by 12/31/18; measured by our 12/31/18 financial statements.

Grantees tell us that one of the best things that we do as a funder is hold them accountable for the grants they receive.  That’s why we work so hard to help you think about the changes that are desired and what needs to happen so that those things come about.  If project results aren’t completely met, it doesn’t mean that we’ll never make another grant to your organization.  What we do expect though, is a thought process of continuous improvement.

That thought process is summed up in one of our favorite phrases:  SUCCESS = What you accomplished + What you learned!

Let’s keep working together on that section that makes you crazy!


The disposable nonprofit. It’s time!


Cameras, contacts, razors, cars…everything’s disposable these days…except some things that SHOULD be. Let us explain.

It seems there are two types of nonprofit organizations:

Some nonprofits invest in peoples’ well being. YMCA’s, senior citizens’ centers and 4-H Clubs fall into this category. Even though times change and people change, it’s pretty likely that there will be a long-term need for healthy minds and bodies. Some segment of the population will always be senior citizens. And the need to invest in young people will never go away! Such organizations need to be strong, long lasting and sustainable.

Other nonprofits exist to solve a social ill (such as child abuse and neglect) or cure a disease (like polio). In our opinion these nonprofit organizations should be short term in nature and approach their work from a “trying to put themselves out of business” point of view. In other words, these nonprofits should be disposable. They should work hard to fulfill their purpose and, BOOM, be gone.

Problems arise when organizations designed to solve social ills begin to behave like nonprofits that invest in people’s well being.  Their focus shifts toward buildings and equipment.    Money gets spent on the wrong things.  Solving the original problem gets buried underneath day-t0-day business and busyness.

If you work for a nonprofit or serve on a board of directors, analyze which kind of nonprofit yours is.  Then, ask yourself, “Should we be trying to last forever or should we try to put ourselves out of business?”

Walk that talk!!!

It’s easy to suggest that your spouse should exercise and cut out soda.  It’s another thing entirely when you have to lace up your sneakers and avoid the sweet brown fizzy stuff yourself.

It’s called walking the talk.  It’s hard!

At the Dekko Foundation we ask our grantseekers to take a step back from their work and deeply consider what children and young people need to grow and develop.  To be sure that we walk our talk, we’ve stepped back from our work to consider:  What do teens need from us as grantmaking professionals?

We researched teens and their needs, and here’s what we found:

  • After being in school for so many years, teens are a little bit tired of formal learning.  They want to do something hands on!
  • They’re searching for a sense of purpose in their lives.
  • They’re capable of advanced reasoning…think problem solving.
  • They may become philanthropic if led in that direction.

Knowing these things, it seemed natural for us to teach our field of philanthropy to teens.  Our latest video shows what we (and the kids) are learning!

If you know a group of young people who want to make their community a better place, make them aware of our grants for youth philanthropy.