Dekko Foundation Turns 35 But Grantees Get Gifts

Dekko Foundation staff members completed this week a mailing of 35 gift boxes addressed to select people across the communities and in states that the organization serves.
The boxes contain a present and a surprise grant to support each recipient’s organization or cause.
“(Chester) Dekko left us with a mission to foster economic freedom through education,” said program Director Sharon Smith in the announcement from the organization. “We think that the surest way to economic freedom is to build skills, knowledge and character in young people as they grow and develop. On our 35th  we’re recognizing people whom we’ve observed stepping back, intentionally, to meet the needs of children and youth.”
Dekko Foundation President Tom Leedy said in the release, “There’s a saying in the world of foundations and grantmaking: ‘New foundations invest in things. Mature foundations invest in ideas.’ As we celebrate our 35th year, our experience reflects this saying exactly.”
The foundation has invested in its share of buildings and equipment, he also said, “But, as we continue to hone our work and move closer toward our mission of fostering economic freedom through education, we’ve learned a lot. Buildings and equipment are necessary, but they don’t go nearly far enough to develop children into independent adults. While we still offer support for buildings and equipment, we want to make our investments in organizations and communities where adults are intentional about growing healthy, independent young people.”
Recipients of a Dekko Foundation 35th birthday mailing will be announced in about a week. For more information, visit the Foundation’s website ( or go to Facebook and search for the Dekko Foundation.
The Dekko Foundation was started in 1981 by Chester A. Dekko, an entrepreneur whose businesses made component parts for the auto, lighting, household goods and office furniture industries.  When he passed away in 1992, a portion of his estate went to support the Dekko Foundation. The Foundation’s current endowment totals $233 million, and it has granted $196 million since its founding.

(Story By The Times Union)