Monday, November 30th, 2015
A Drake University junior whose nonprofit organization provides free sports clinics to children in Greater Des Moines was recently honored for his significant philanthropic contributions.
The Central Iowa Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals issued Dylan DeClerk its "Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy" award during a Philanthropy Day Awards program on Friday, Nov. 13. DeClerk, a marketing and finance major, is executive director of Opportunity on Deck, which has benefited hundreds of students.
“The best part about receiving this award is the recognition it brings to Opportunity on Deck and the connections it will help us build in the community,” DeClerck said. “Personally this award makes me feel proud of everything our volunteers were able to accomplish in the community since inception.”
DeClerck founded Opportunity on Deck in 2012. The organization teaches healthy living, athletics skills, teamwork, community, leadership, and sportsmanship to children who may otherwise have been denied such an opportunity. The organization has saved participant families more than $100,000 in costs by providing free clinics thanks to the organization's generous sponsors. Participants are fed healthy snacks at the end of each clinic, and get to keep their equipment (jerseys, cleats, etc.) at the end of each season.
"As a child, I was given every opportunity and chance to be successful," DeClerk said at the awards ceremony. "Now as a young adult, it is my responsibility to create the opportunity I was afforded for other children who want to be successful."
DeClerk founded Opportunity on Deck when he was 16 years old, and he had the opportunity to enhance the organization as a participant in The Lorentzen Student Hatchery program at Drake University. The program fosters student startup businesses and nonprofits through guidance and support, access to mentors and experts, and other resources. As a result of his involvement, DeClerk quadrupled the number of leagues and level of student participation in Opportunity on Deck through partnerships with Clive and Des Moines Parks and Recreation, the Boys and Girls Club of Central Iowa, and the Oakridge Neighborhood.
“The Lorentzen Student Hatchery helped transform Opportunity on Deck from a small project serving one neighborhood in Des Moines, to a successful non-profit organization with a variety of programs serving multiple neighborhoods in Central Iowa,” DeClerck said. “The most valuable part of the program was the mentorship provided by other business owners in Des Moines and the Drake University Entrepreneurship professors.”
Also honored at the Philanthropy Day Awards were:
The event was emceed by Steve Berry, a graduate of Drake University and Drake Law School and the vice-president of the Drake University National Alumni Board of Directors.