DEF’s mission is to improve college access and success, and career planning and preparation for residents of the tri-county area, with a special focus on the poor, vulnerable, and marginalized.

P.O. Box 148
Quantico, MD 21856
Phone: 410-219-3336

Board of Directors

Vernon Rivers

Michael P. Pennington
Vice President

Roger Harrell

Katherine Harting

Jake Frego

Gains Hawkins

Robert Tardiff




Salisbury, MD.  -- The Delmarva Education Foundation (DEF) is designating several local non-profit organizations as recipients of perpetual grants. The annual disbursements, distributed through the Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore (CFES), represent a permanent funding source for a select group of non-profits whose operations are consistent with the DEF mission “to support college access and success, and career planning and preparation for residents of the tri-county area, with a special focus on the poor, vulnerable and marginalized.” Once this disbursement program is fully underway, DEF will dissolve as an organization, leaving care of the fund with CFES.

Beneficiaries of the DEF grants are:

For Scholarships

For Programs

For Endowment Building for Scholarships and Programs

According to Vernon Rivers, president of the DEF board, “We identified these blue-chip recipients because of their established reputations for helping students go further in their education and training.”

Beginning later this month, funds will be granted every year, in perpetuity, to provide the non-profits with dependable funding for enrichment activities, counseling, guest speakers, field trips, financial aid resources, teacher- and counselor-designed activities, and scholarships.  An annual grant agreement will ensure the funds are spent for DEF-mission-related purposes. Each recipient will receive between $1,000-2,000 in the first distribution, and grant amounts are expected to rise over time. 

The DEF Designated Fund at CFES is open for additional donations, which will further increase the size of the annual grants to all these beneficiaries. Said Rivers, “This diversified fund provides an opportunity for giving that is unparalleled in our community.”

The Delmarva Education Foundation began providing services to the region in 2000.  It was formed by a group of local citizens who shared a deep appreciation for the benefits of higher education and led by Dr. Donald Harting, who was its principal visionary and benefactor until his death in 2011. Through 2016, DEF served as a convener of local education professionals to discuss current challenges; a consultant for students seeking to go to college and their parents, and a broker between those seeking scholarships and those with scholarships to give. DEF was particularly known for its free, online, searchable database of over 500 local scholarships for students in this area. 

For more information about the DEF Fund, contact CFES at 410-742-9911 or