Delaware County jurors not only perform a civic duty, but many aid disadvantaged children by donating their stipend to one of several charities that help children in need. The Delaware County Juror Donation Program was founded by Gerald C. Montella, Esquire, Delaware County District Court Administrator in 2003. Through the program, jurors volunteer their $9.00 per day stipend to one of six charities. Since the program started in March 2003, the Juror Donation Program has donated over One Million Dollars! (Delaware County crossed the Million Dollar milestone mark in the first quarter of 2019.)
In 2010, the program even extended its reach to send aid to Haitian children impacted by the devastating earthquake that hit the island. The Haitian effort was a one-time campaign in response to a devastating event and resulted in a $6,130.31 donation to UNICEF to help Haitian children who were injured or orphaned as a result of the quake.
Similarly, in December of 2017, following Hurricane Harvey which occurred in August, a donation of $5,698.32 was made to the American Red Cross by generous jurors who donated compensation for jury service. Harvey caused about $125 billion in damage and ranks as the second-most costly hurricane to hit the U.S. mainland since 1900.
Delaware County jurors can regularly opt to donate their stipend to the following organizations:
CASA/Youth Advocates, Inc. - CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) is a non-profit organization that trains volunteers to advocate for abused and neglected children in Delaware County. Each year, hundreds of Delaware County children are placed under protection of the Dependency Court because of abuse or neglect. CASA provides Court appointed special advocates to facilitate safe, permanent, and timely placements for abused and neglected children. As of May 31, 2021, donations to CASA/Youth Advocated have totaled $53,975.72. For more information about CASA Youth Advocates, please visit their website at: https://www.delcocasa.org/
Children Youth Services (CYS) - Children and Youth Services include Child Protective Services, service to children in their own home, Child Welfare Day Care, Child Sexual Abuse, and Independent Living for adolescents transitioning out of foster care. The funds donated to the Citizens' Advisory Committee of Children and Youth Services will enable abused and neglected children to participate in summer camp programs, experience the joy of the holiday season, and attend post-secondary education programs as they transition out of foster care. As of May 31, 2021, donations to Children and Youth Services have totaled $380,231.97. For more information regarding Children & Youth Services, visit their website by clicking on the link: Office of Children and Youth Services - Delco HSA
Domestic Abuse Project - The Domestic Abuse Project of Delaware County, Inc. is a private human service agency providing services to women and children throughout Delaware County who have experienced domestic violence. Children (infants-17 years old) are served at the emergency shelter and in the Agency's transitional housing programs operated for women and their children made homeless by domestic violence. Funds donated support the children's program including counseling, support groups, safety, enrichment, education programs, and activities for children. As of May 31, 20201, donations to the Domestic Abuse Project have totaled $214,691.59. For more information regarding the Domestic Abuse Project, please visit their website at: https://dapdc.org/
Hero Scholarship Fund - The Hero Scholarship Fund was originated in 1977 by Delaware County Council to honor Police and Firefighters who have died in the line of duty. The Fund was authorized by Council to award scholarships to the children of Police and Firefighters who have given their lives in the line of duty. As of May 31, 2021, donations to the Hero Scholarship have totaled $194,067.32. If you would like information pertaining to the Hero Scholarship Fund, click on the following link: delcopa.gov/clerk/boardscommissions/HeroScholarshipBoard.html
Operation Warm - Operation Warm is a local non-profit organization which provides brand new winter coats for at-risk children who live in Delaware County. Operation Warm works to enhance the self-esteem of disadvantaged children by providing new winter coats; thereby promoting a positive self-image. Children in need are identified through local social service agencies and schools. Operation Warm truly warms the hearts of children. As of May 31, 2021, donations to Operation Warm have totaled $78,814.27. For more information regarding Operation Warm, please visit: https://www.operationwarm.org
YMCA Community Branches of Delaware County - The YMCA community branches in Delaware County are non-profit organizations which promote and provide programs and services for children of all ages throughout the county. The funds raised through the juror donation program will be committed to assist children and teens to participate in education programs, swimming, youth sports, gymnastics, fitness, childcare, day camps and wellness for youth development and a healthy and safe lifestyle. This program was added to the Juror Donation Program in October of 2017. To date, donations to the Community Branches of the YMCA of Delaware County total $11,228.33.
In acknowledgement of their donation, donors receive a Donation Receipt which is considered tax deductible.
Jerry Montella acknowledged the efforts of Jerry O’Connor and Otto Zitarelli of the County's IT Department for making the computer revisions needed to keep track of the donations. Montella also acknowledged Nancy L. Alkins, Jury Administrator, and her staff for accepting the added responsibility to manage the program. The program was started with the hope of raising $1,000 the first year.
"A thousand dollars was donated the first month and at that point, I knew we had something special," said Montella. "The program is strictly voluntary. Donors also have the option of donating only a portion of their stipend. We simply advise the jurors about the program when they come in. There's no pressure placed on the juror to donate their stipend. It's a great opportunity for a juror to both perform their civic duty and help a child who needs assistance. I am very proud of the program and hope that it continues to help kids who need support. I'd like to thank the thousands of jurors for their generosity. Our jurors can be confident that their donations will be money well spent."