Community organization / nonprofit being nominated
Delray Citizens for Delray Police
Tell us a little more about this organization. Please include detailed ways in which this organization makes strides to benefit the community, who is impacted and what future goals are for this organization.
Nearly 33 years ago, a one of kind person by the name of Perry DonFrancisco started a grassroots organization (501c3) called Delray Citizens for Delray Police (DCDP) with a couple of other Delray Beach residents who are still part of the organization. As a former educator and local business owner at the time and now retired for many years, Perry believed in the importance of Police Community relations before it became a popular topic. Over the last three decades, Perry and his associates have raised millions of dollars to include their own money and given their time, which has been used for countless Kids and Cops’ programs. DCDP provides funds for officers to bring all elementary school 5th grades in Delray Beach to a local Science Museum and Lion Country Safari each year, this has been occurring for decades. DCDP funds a literacy program where it provides Delray Beach Police Officers an opportunity to read to hundreds of Elementary School Children each year throughout Delray Beach. At the end of this event, each child goes home with a copy of the book in which was read to them. Every year, DCDP helps fund a back-to-school backpack giveaway, where over 500, this year 800 backpacks were stuffed with nearly every school supply a child needs based on their grade level, DCDP funds a summer camp where police officers watch children for one week during the day while their parents or guardians are at work and teach them how to play baseball and recently, officers have been hosting a soccer camp funded in part by DCDP. DCDP funds an annual holiday toy drive, now known as Hero’s and Helpers (formally Shop with a cop) and additional toys are purchased or donated to DCDP so police officers can deliver them directly to families in need. Each year, DCDP host an annual award banquet to honor officers and civilian employees that have reached a 25-year milestone with our organization, in addition an officer of the year, employee of the year, supervisor and rookie police officer of the year are all recognized and awarded for their achievements. DCDP provides scholarships to every college age child of a Delray Police Officer who meets the requirements of the program. DCDP has purchased equipment that is used in the community such as, most recently a brand-new Ford Truck that was wrapped and converted to a Police Community Ice Cream Truck, purchased a trailer to transport our police motorcycles, a six-foot commercial grade BBQ to be used for community cookouts, during natural disasters to feed personnel and the community if needed. DCDP has also purchased lifesaving equipment for the Delray Beach Fire Department. Each year, prior to COVID-19, the Delray Beach Police Department host an award-winning National Night Out event that draws thousands of community members from all over our city to one central location. At this event, police officers, city staff, community leaders and others all interact with our guests, this event would never happen without the financial arm and time that DCDP provides.
DCDP has touched the lives of countless children and families in the City of Delray Beach for over 30 years. DCDP has also touched the lives of each police officer in our department to include those and the families of those that have fallen over the years. DCDP has sadly taken part in providing both emotional and financial support during tragedy and has turned the loss of our fallen heroes into everlasting memories. Each year a student that attends the Delray Beach Atlantic High School Criminal Justice Program and or the Delray Beach Police Explorer Program has an opportunity to submit an application to apply for a scholarship in the name of Officer Christine Braswell that was tragically killed in a DUI accident. The money is either used to supplement the child’s college education or used to fund the cost of the police academy for a new Delray Beach Police Officer that was in either one of the stated programs.
DCDP has positively impacted the lives of tens of thousands of children, adults, police officers and others over three decades. Through the work of DCDP we have broken down barriers and created relationships with many members of our community. When civil unrest broke out in our country over the past few years and members of our city wanted to protest, they did it peacefully with little to no tension between Delray Beach Police Officers and protestors. I accredited this to the work that Delray Beach Police Officers have been doing in the community for decades. DCDP has given us the financial arm to support those that need it, fund youth programs to breakdown barriers which led to us earning the trust of those we serve.
Perry wants no recognition as he does this simply because he wants to and truly believes in police community relations. DCDP has a reputation second to no other. When money needs to be raised and Delray Citizens for Delray Police is heard, people don’t question or wonder if their money is going to good use, they just know it. As those that benefited from this organization as a child reach adulthood and become successful, they are now assisting the program by donating money and volunteering with the many great things that Delray Citizens for Delray Police do for our community. Perry DeFrancisco has selflessly gone above and beyond for this community time after time and without hesitation. His kind generosity and heartfelt care for his community is a testament to his unending pursuit to make this world a better place. He would not ever ask for any recognition for all of his endless support of everyone who he comes across, but I feel that this award would show a wonderful appreciation for this fine man, for DCDP and what he and the organization has always stood for. Thank you for considering Delray Citizens for Delray Police for the 2021 Rise Community Award.
If selected as a winner, how will the $7,500 prize money be applied?
When Delray Citizens for Delray Police wins this award, the $7,500 will help fund existing kids and cops programs as listed in the attached document and allow additional funds for police officers to use to engage with the community through other outreach programs, sport camps, possibly purchasing basketball hoops and other sporting equipment, toward literacy programs where officers read to children, The Delray Beach Police Department is made up of community minded officers that often come up with great, innovative new ideas of how to interact with our community to breakdown barriers and strengthen existing relationships. This award could potentially be used to fund some of these vetted ideas as they come to light.