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

1 month ago

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