Del. coronavirus recovery: University raises $1 million emergency fund

Delaware State University

Delaware State University's campus. (Mark Eichmann/WHYY)

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Delaware added another 56 COVID-19 cases Thursday, bringing the state’s total to 10,499. There were five more deaths, making the state’s total death toll 431.

There are 79 people being treated in Delaware hospitals for the virus.

Delaware State University raises $1M emergency fund

The emergency fund designed to help Delaware State University students hit hard by the coronavirus shutdown has reached its $1 million goal. Nearly 1,000 students have already received financial assistance from the fund which first launched in April.

“Our students are benefitting from an incredible outpouring of love and support from their community, and we could not be more grateful or more humbled by this response,” said DSU president Tony Allen. “We decided to tell our students’ story to the community that has always supported them, and to be extremely transparent about the amount necessary to meet the need.”

Donors to the fund include trustees, alumni, faculty and staff at DSU. Nearly 80% of individual donations came from alumni. “We knew that our alumni would answer the call, but even we have been staggered by their overwhelming response,” said Dr. Vita Pickrum, vice president for institutional advancement, who is coordinating the fundraising effort.

Despite reaching the million-dollar goal in about two months, Del. State will continue the fundraising effort to help students cover the cost of food, lodging, technology access, school materials and medical supplies.

Socially distant art project launches

The Delaware Art Museum has launched the first in a series of displays that combine social distancing and art called “Creative Spaces.” The museum commissioned local artists to produce a series of five pieces that are converted into vinyl decals and installed in places where social distancing is required.

The first two artists in the project, visual artist Jo Redbird and abstract artist JaQuanne LeRoy, will have their works installed outside food banks, restaurants and other cultural institutions in Wilmington.

“Knowing my art skills are able to positively impact the circumstances with effective visual communication brings me great joy and fulfillment as an artist,” Redbird said.

“I was happy to contribute to this project,” LeRoy said. “It’s given me a chance to spread hope in this time.”

The first works have been installed at Green Box Kitchen on Market Street and West End Neighborhood House, with an upcoming installation at the Latin American Community Center in Wilmington.

Gas prices creeping back up

One benefit for drivers still commuting during the coronavirus shutdown has been lower gas prices. On May 12, the state average for a gallon of gas dropped to $1.74. But that downward trend could be over.

AAA Mid-Atlantic says the average gas price is above $2 per gallon for the first time since March as Delaware and other states have relaxed restrictions on travel. The average is still well below the normal price for the summer driving season. This time last year, the cost for a gallon was $2.49.

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