Grants support organizations’ work with children

The Dekko Foundation, a private family foundation located in Kendallville, IN, with a mission of fostering economic freedom through education, awarded more than $288,000 in grants to 10 youth-serving organizations in four states during its most recent round of grantmaking.

The foundation, started in 1981 by the late businessman and philanthropist Chester E. Dekko, invests in projects and programs that help build knowledge, skills, and character in children and young people from birth through age 18 so they can be self-sufficient and grow up to be economically free.

Its grantmaking is concentrated within 13 counties in four states — Indiana, Iowa, Alabama, and Minnesota — where Mr. Dekko had business or personal interests.

Organizations receiving grants were:

  • Athens City Schools (Athens, AL): $2,500 to support expanded options for students at Athens Renaissance School to explore music.
  • City of Kendallville (Kendallville, IN): $9,000 over three years to support the children’s area at the annual Apple Festival of Kendallville.
  • Giving Gardens of Northern Indiana (Columbia City, IN): $50,000 to support the organization’s Wild Willow Nature Preschool.
  • Healthier Moms and Babies, Inc. (Fort Wayne, IN): $10,000 to support the organization’s prenatal home visitation program for expectant mothers in Noble and DeKalb counties.
  • Lost Sparrows, Inc. (Winona Lake, IN): $20,000 to support its conference on youth trauma at Grace College.
  • The Crew (Kendallville, IN): $32,000 to support its work with young people in the community.
  • Athens City Schools (Athens, AL): $10,000 to support Athens Intermediate School students’ visit to the Cook Museum of Natural Science.
  • Central Decatur Community School District (Leon, IA): $4,763 to support creating a music recording studio at Central Decatur Junior-Senior High School.
  • Garrett-Keyser-Butler Community School District (Garrett, IN): $30,000 to support an updated art room at J.E. Ober Elementary so students can better express themselves creatively.
  • City of Halstad (Halstad, MN): $100,000 to support turning a former school building into an education and recreation center for community members.
  • Pleasant View Early Learning (Warsaw, IN): $20,000 to support tuition assistance for parents.

For more information about the Dekko Foundation and its grantmaking, visit





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!