PDFF Golf Tournament Exceeds Fundraising Goal

The Pete du Pont Freedom Foundation held a charity golf tournament on Monday, August 30th at DuPont Country Club. The event sold out and exceeded the Foundation’s fundraising goal. 

The weather cooperated and “golfers enjoyed the course immensely,” said Ben du Pont, board member, Pete du Pont Freedom Foundation and co-owner of the DuPont Country Club.

The Foundation thanks “everyone who came out and supported this fundraising event. By supporting PDFF, you are directly supporting local businesses and entrepreneurs,” du Pont said.

Some of the highlights from this year’s tournament included spiked lemonades on the DuPont Course courtesy of Steel Blu Vodka, all natural gourmet ice pops courtesy of Summer J Artisan Ice Pops, and a new alternative event geared to the novice golfer. The alternative event allowed novice golfers the opportunity to receive a group golf lesson, and then use their newly learned skills to play 9 holes on the Montchanin Course. Golfers from both the DuPont and Montchanin courses were able to celebrate the day together for the awards reception, which featured an open bar, buffet dinner, and a silent auction.

Proceeds from the tournament are tax-deductible and will directly benefit the small-business owners within the Equitable Entrepreneurial Ecosystem (E3).

Thank you to all of our generous sponsors, supporters and attendees! Visit our Facebook to view photos from the tournament and our YouTube Channel to view the tournament highlight reel.






Rob Martinelli, Chair
Bill Manning
Nora Gonzalez
Bob Perkins
Ambrose Carr
Stephanie Johnnie
Bill Gardner
Doug Tobin

Today Media
Kenny Family Foundation & ShopRite
DuPont Country Club

SPECIALTY SPONSORS:                  
Richards, Layton & Finger
Discover Bank
Global Merchant Partners
Greg & Ruth Lavelle
Aegis Property Group
Wilmington University
AutoTeam Delaware
Steel Blu Vodka
Summer J Artisan Ice Pops
NKS Distributers
IA Business Advisors
Breakwater Accounting
Wohlsen Construction
McCollum D’Emilio Smith Uebler
Roosevelt Paper
Diamond Technologies
1919 Investment Counsel
Evergreen Printing Co.

Pete du Pont Freedom Foundation Breaks With Tradition For Its 2021 Freedom Award

Update: This event has been postponed until further notice. Please subscribe to the PDFF e-newsletter to stay up to date on announcements for the new date.

Award To Honor the Legacy of MBNA For Its Innovation, Impact on Employment Opportunities, and Generous Community Support.

For the first time in the history of the Freedom Award, the Foundation has chosen to honor a business rather than an individual and this year’s Freedom Award Recipient is former credit card giant, MBNA. Key former MBNA leaders John Cochran, Lance Weaver and Bruce Hammonds will be accepting the prestigious Freedom Award on behalf of MBNA and all who contributed to its national success and positive impact on Delaware.

“This honoree captures my father’s enthusiasm for entrepreneurial innovation and the priority he placed on job growth,” said the Foundation’s Board Chair, Thère du Pont.

The 2021 Freedom Award is especially fitting for the Foundation given the role of Governor du Pont in the legislation and overall business approach that drove the banking industry growth in Delaware and that laid the groundwork for MBNA and its success and contributions.  It was four decades ago that Governor du Pont and others started working on a new approach to further revitalize Delaware’s economy by crafting legislation aimed at drawing large banks and the related jobs to the state.

In 1981, the Financial Center Development Act was passed, creating an innovative tax structure and needed flexibility on fees and interest rates. Shortly thereafter, MBNA moved its operations to Delaware, eventually becoming one of the largest independent credit card issuers as well as the state’s largest private employer. The goal of the legislation was met as the efforts of MBNA and other financial institutions led to a revitalization across Delaware, creating thousands of employment opportunities, supporting numerous community efforts, and drawing people to the state. 

Board Chair du Pont noted, “The 1981 Financial Center Development Act was the centerpiece of his efforts to attract employers to Delaware by creating an innovative regulatory environment. MBNA, displaying both courage and vision, was one of the first to take advantage of the FCDA and immediately created a distinctive culture wrapped around service to the customer and generosity to the local community.  Its impact on Delaware continues to this day and one wonders whether any of that would have happened without the vision shared by my father and MBNA’s leaders.”

MBNA’s success and reinvestment are also widely credited with helping to revitalize the city of Wilmington, where it was headquartered for many years.  In 2006, MBNA was acquired by Bank of America for approximately $36 billion.

The Freedom Award:

The Pete du Pont Freedom Award is presented annually to an individual or organization who has championed a successful idea which has led to economic growth or brought innovation to the private sector. The award honors one of Delaware’s finest leaders, the late Governor Pete du Pont, who pushed for policies that drove innovation and economic growth across all communities throughout his years in office and for so many decades thereafter as a commentator, writer, and think tank leader.

To learn more or to purchase your tickets, CLICK HERE. 

Sponsorship Opportunities:

Each sponsorship opportunity includes a corresponding number of complimentary tickets, as well as inclusion in the event program, and mentions in event publicity.

Presenting Sponsor – SOLD

5 Star Sponsor   $15,000

  • Onsite signage
  • Sponsor acknowledgement on marketing materials, social media, e-newsletter and website
  • Access to attendee list
  • Half-page ad in program
  • Six tickets to the event

4 Star Sponsor  $10,000

  • Onsite signage
  • Sponsor acknowledgement on marketing materials, social media, e-newsletter and website
  • Logo included in the program
  • Four tickets to the event

3 Star Sponsor  $5,000

  • Onsite signage
  • Sponsor acknowledgement on marketing materials, social media, e-newsletter and website
  • Company name included in the program
  • Two tickets to the event

Reception Sponsor – SOLD

Technology Sponsor – SOLD

Supporting Sponsor  $500

  • Name included in the program

For more information about sponsorship opportunities, ticket purchases, or the event contact Stephanie Johnnie at stephanie@petedupontfreedomfoundation.org

PDFF Receives $100,000 grant from Bank of America

The Pete du Pont Freedom Foundation (PDFF) has received a $100,000 grant from Bank of America. 

The grant will support PDFF’s efforts in championing small business owners and entrepreneurs through two key initiatives: Reinventing Delaware and the Equitable Entrepreneurial Ecosystem (E3). These initiatives work in tandem to improve economic mobility by creating an equitable, supportive landscape that links entrepreneurs with skilled professionals to help bring their ideas to life and/or accelerate their business. Both initiatives provide a process that includes a comprehensive wrap-around support structure which entails: coaching and business planning; marketing and promotion; information technology and infrastructure; space planning and design; and access to funding sources. 

“Bank of America’s focus on supporting underserved communities by helping educate them with business and technology skills runs parallel with the mission of the Pete du Pont Freedom Foundation,” said Thère du Pont, PDFF Board Chair.  “Bank of America’s generous grant allows our Foundation to expand our services to further support small business owners with an emphasis on supporting Black and Brown entrepreneurs.”

PDFF is currently accepting submissions for their E3 initiative for entrepreneurs in Kent and Sussex Counties, now through August 11th. Click Here to submit your application. An information session will be held on August 5th for anyone interested in learning more about E3 and the application process. 

The next Reinventing Delaware event will take place on November 11, 2021. Public submissions will be accepted in September. Subscribe to the Foundation’s E-Newsletter to stay up-to-date on announcements. 

The grant is part of Bank of America’s philanthropic giving efforts in local communities. Awardees were selected for their commitment to addressing basic needs and workforce development for individuals and families, in particular during the coronavirus pandemic. 

“The work being done by the Pete du Pont Freedom Foundation to promote entrepreneurship, job creation and economic opportunity is making a marked difference in the communities that need it most,” said Chip Rossi, President, Bank of America Delaware. “By supporting our community’s small business owners and entrepreneurs, the Pete du Pont Freedom Foundation is advancing economic mobility and ultimately making Delaware a better place to live and work for everyone.” 

About Bank of America
At Bank of America, we’re guided by a common purpose to help make financial lives better, through the power of every connection. We’re delivering on this through responsible growth with a focus on our environmental, social and governance (ESG) leadership. ESG is embedded across our eight lines of business and reflects how we help fuel the global economy, build trust and credibility, and represent a company that people want to work for, invest in and do business with. It’s demonstrated in the inclusive and supportive workplace we create for our employees, the responsible products and services we offer our clients, and the impact we make around the world in helping local economies thrive. An important part of this work is forming strong partnerships with nonprofits and advocacy groups, such as community, consumer and environmental organizations, to bring together our collective networks and expertise to achieve greater impact. Learn more at about.bankofamerica.com, and connect with us on Twitter (@BofA_News).

For more Bank of America news, including dividend announcements and other important information, visit the Bank of America newsroom and register for news email alerts.

Jobs for Delaware Graduates – A Local Idea That Sparked National Change

Forty-three years ago, in 1978, at a time when Delaware had the highest unemployment rate in the United States and the second-highest dropout rate…when the state income tax rate was the highest in the country…when companies were leaving the state, and new ones wouldn’t move to the state, late Governor Pete du Pont had an idea. That idea was creation of the Jobs for Delaware Graduates program. Five working groups made up of public and private sector leads, drawn from business, education, workforce, labor union, and community leadership, worked together to develop the model of Jobs for Delaware Graduates.

Pete’s mission for Jobs for Delaware Graduates was to enable students to achieve academic, career, personal and social success by offering programs for in-school youth, dropout recovery and follow-up services. At the time, the Governor insisted “We can do better – far better,” and organized a series of Task Forces to develop the first model for the program. 

As explained by Ken Smith, who worked for the Governor and now serves as the President of JAG: 

“At that time, I was Governor du Pont’s Chief Education Advisor, so I was responsible for organizing all of it and presenting a final plan to the Governor and the cabinet for a decision. Late one evening – almost midnight – after some very difficult discussions about the state budget being in shambles and many other issues, Governor du Pont told the weary group that the plan for Jobs for Delaware Graduates was done and ready for decisions and asked me to present it.

Looking at some exhausted cabinet members over cold cups of coffee (and I have to admit, a cigarette or two), I made my best case for the program. When I was done, the Governor asked for comments. Most said, “Gosh, Ken, great idea … surely need to do something, but we just can’t now…we simply have no capacity to do this…only a small amount of political capital to spend, and the issues are much bigger.” Then the Governor asked for a vote from the cabinet and senior staff. There were 12 no’s by the time it got around to me (again with kind remarks), and I said “Yes.” The Governor paused a second and said, “The ayes have it. Our young people cannot wait, the schools cannot wait, and our employers cannot wait. Let’s see if we can do something far more effective, far more accountable, and far more cost-effective than what we’re doing now for the poorest and most disadvantaged youth in our schools.” We launched Jobs for Delaware Graduates two months later.”

The Jobs for Delaware Graduates model worked so well, it led to the creation of the Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) program. Pete, a Republican, and then-Vice President Walter Mondale, a Democrat, worked together in bipartisanship to make Jobs for America’s Graduates possible. 

Over the years, both programs have continued to grow. Since its inception, more than 60,000 students have been involved in Jobs for Delaware Graduates programs. JAG now operates in 34 states with over 1,000 program affiliates and has served over 1.5 million graduates. 

In 1990, Pete spoke at a press conference to taut the success of both programs. Click here to see Pete proudly speak about watching his idea grow, bringing a future of opportunity and empowerment to young people.