Dart Chief Executive Officer Mark VanDevelde recently announced the recipients of the inaugural Dart Grants valued at CI$250,000. Special Needs Foundation Cayman received this year’s CI$50,000 Dart Grant in support of its Inclusion Programme. Eight additional local non-profit organisations received CI$25,000 Dart Grants.
Launched earlier this year, Dart Grants is a new programme of fixed grants intended to optimise Dart’s positive impact on the local community by providing targeted support to well-run, registered non-profits with high-value work in the areas of youth development, education or the environment.
In its initial year, the Dart Grants programme received 50 applications from local non-profits. In the first round of the selection process, applications were checked for basic eligibility requirements and alignment with the three areas of focus, and 30 were shortlisted for further consideration. In the second round, two separate teams of internal reviewers evaluated the applications against six criteria chosen to ensure objectivity and then ranked the finalists.
Dart’s staff complement of approximately 400 were invited to vote for the recipient of the CI$50,000 Dart Grant from the three top-scoring finalists and the Special Needs Foundation was selected as the recipient. The other two finalists, the Central Caribbean Marine Institute and the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park will each receive a grant of CI$25,000.
Although there are approximately 1,400 children with special needs in the Cayman Islands, there are limited specialty education opportunities available locally and special needs children are routinely denied admission to mainstream schools.
In partnership with US-based The Haring Centre, a leader in inclusive education, the Special Needs Foundation’s Inclusion Programme aims to increase the number of school places available in mainstream education for children with special needs, improve the stability and success of existing placements, and deliver professional development and coaching to local educators.
Additionally, six CI$25,000 Dart Grants were awarded to the Alex Panton Foundation, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Cayman’s Acts of Random Kindness, the Cayman Islands Sailing Club, Literacy Is For Everyone, and the Stingray Swim Club.
The application period for next year’s Dart Grants will open in January 2020. Please visit dart.ky for more details.