The ceremony included the announcement of the 2022 Reinventing Delaware winner and new partnerships.

WILMINGTON, Del. (Sept. 23, 2022) – The legacy of MBNA was honored by the Pete du Pont Freedom Foundation last night at the annual Pete du Pont Freedom Award event at the Hotel du Pont in Wilmington, DE. Former MBNA leaders John Cochran and Lance Weaver accepted the prestigious award on behalf of MBNA during last night’s ceremony.

At its height, MBNA employed 10,000 people in Delaware, and was known for supporting organizations such as the Ministry of Caring and the Grand Opera House, as well as scholarships for students at the University of Delaware. It was later purchased by Bank of America.

Pete du Pont Freedom Foundation Chairman Thère du Pont, son of former Delaware Gov. Pete du Pont, said that the 1981 Financial Center Development Act was central to his father’s work attracting employers to Delaware.

“The visionary efforts of MBNA in taking advantage of the law helped shape Delaware’s distinctive business culture. Its leaders exemplified community generosity and customer service,” du Pont said.

This year’s award reflected the foundation’s continued focus on entrepreneurship and job creation. Proceeds from the event will support initiatives including the Equitable Entrepreneurial Ecosystem (E3) and Reinventing Delaware.

The ceremony also recognized the Delaware Creative Economy, represented by attorney Angela Wagner. who was named the 2022 Reinventing Delaware winner. The Delaware Creative Economy aims to establish a formal creative economy in Delaware to attract filmmakers to the First State, create employment opportunities in the creative space for Delawareans, and replicate Georgia’s success over the past 30 years.

“Similar to the legacy of Governor du Pont in bringing the banking industry to Delaware, I am so excited to partner with the Pete du Pont Freedom Foundation in bringing another industry to our state: entertainment!” Wagner said.

The eighth annual Reinventing Delaware dinner will be held on November 10, 2022. The foundation welcomes the public to submit their innovative ideas that will create jobs and make Delaware a better place to live, work and raise a family. The idea submission window opens Monday, September 26 and will close October 14.

The Pete du Pont Freedom Foundation acknowledged and celebrated its co-founder and board member Bill Manning who announced his departure from the board after serving 19 years. Manning worked closely with Gov. du Pont as his top aide and chief of staff. Manning leads the Wilmington office of Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr and has over 40 years of experience practicing before Delaware’s state and federal courts.

It was announced that Delaware State University President Tony Allen has joined the board. Committed to increasing educational access and opportunity for all, Allen is also the founding president of the Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League, co-founder of Public Allies Delaware, and chair emeritus of the National Urban Fellows. He is also a member of the Economic and Community Advisory Council for the Federal Reserve Bank in Philadelphia.


“Bill’s involvement with the board will be missed, and we value the time and dedication he put forth in helping to guide the foundation to where it is today,” said Foundation Executive Director Stephanie Johnnie. “At the same time, we’re thrilled to welcome Tony and look forward to having his expertise on the board.”