Dekko Foundation: Grants for Early Childhood Education

OVERVIEW: Working in specific cities and towns in the states of Alabama, Indiana, Iowa and Minnesota, the Dekko Foundation aims to foster economic freedom. It supports early childhood and K-12 education, as well as civic responsibility, vocational exploration and youth philanthropy.

IP TAKE: Dekko's early childhood education funding aims to bring research findings from the field of child development into practice by mentoring parents and teachers. This funder runs an open application program for organizations operating within its geographic focus.

PROFILE:  Based in Kendallville, Indiana, the Dekko Foundation was established in 1981 by the late Chester E. Dekko, a manufacturer of wire harnesses that are used extensively in the lighting and automotive industries. Funding is directed at "fostering economic freedom through education." The foundation's education funding supports organizations working in early childhood, middle childhood and adolescence. It also invests in  civic responsibility, vocational exploration, youth philanthropy and young philanthropic leaders.

The Dekko Foundation's early childhood education funding aims to bring the findings of childhood development research to families and schools. At the Agape Day Care Ministry in Hudson, Indiana, for example, Dekko provided Montessori training that helped teachers recognize the importance of self-regulation and free play in students' development. Another project, Set Up for Success, aimed to foster children's pro-social attitudes and behaviors at the Ada-Borup Public School in Minnesota. The foundation also runs three signature programs: Art Dekko, which supports children's interactions with the arts; Before5, a signature program that mentors parents and encourages the optimization of "teachable moments," and Bloom, a teacher mentoring program that brings the finding of current research to early childhood classrooms.

The Dekko Foundation maintains a narrow geographic focus, consisting of specific cities and towns in Alabama, Indiana, Iowa and Minnesota in which Chester Dekko maintained an interest. Grants range from $2,000 to $2 million, depending on the size and needs of the project.

The Dekko Foundation runs an ongoing, open application program, with guidelines for different types of grants available on its application page.

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