Imagine a world where people use their mobile device to bet their hard earned money for a chance of winning more money. We’re actually living in that world right now with the concept of interactive gaming – sometimes called internet gaming. 

Harrah’s Philadelphia (in Chester) launched interactive gaming a little over a year ago. To play, you download the Ceasars Rewards app and play slots, blackjack, poker, or bet on sports. (If you didn’t already know, Ceasars owns Harrah’s.)

I’m tickled every time I see the hilarious Ceasars Rewards commercials on television featuring comics JB Smooth as Caesar addressing the cheering throng in the square, along with Patton Oswalt as Carl standing out in the crowd asking Caesar stupid questions. Every time Caesar says ‘Only Caesars Can Give You Caesars Rewards,’ I crack up laughing. 

One percent (1%) of the money Harrah’s/Ceasars takes in from folks throughout Pennsylvania playing on the mobile app comes directly to Delaware County. The county formed an authority to manage that money and named it the Delaware County Interactive Gaming Revenue Authority or DCIGRA (dee-sig-ra). The board is comprised of five board members whose task is to give away all the money in the form of grants to deserving organizations in Delco.

The original five board members are Paul K. Johnson (Chairman), Frances Sheehan, Ron Evans (Secretary), Doreen Storey, and Stefan Roots (Treasurer). Staring a new county authority is like starting a new business as we’ve spent much of the first year putting structure around the authority with things like opening a bank account, naming officers, creating by-laws and a mission statement, creating a website, and figuring out how to give away money to as many worthy causes as we can. 

I’m thrilled to announce that on September 1, 2021, we received County Council approval to award DCIGRA’s first round of grants of $5000 to these 15 youth serving organizations in Delaware County: 

Kelly Music for Life in Havertown

Haverford Area YMCA

Community YMCA  in Lansdowne

Upper Darby Arts & Education Foundation

The Elwyn Foundation

Darlington Fine Arts Center

Harcum College

Women’s Resource Center of Delaware Valley

Episcopal Community Services

Pettaway Pursuit Foundation

If you were counting, you’ve figured out there’s only 10 organizations listed above. That’s because I wanted to single out the other five organizations because this is The Chester Matters Blog and what happens in Chester matters. Here are the final five…

Chester-Upland Youth Soccer

Boys and Girls Club of Chester

Making a Change Group

Chester Eastside, INC

The CAAT Center of Chester

As the treasurer, I can’t express how thrilling it was to sign my name to all 15 of those checks. 

The official stated mission of DCIGRA is to

…improve the quality of life in Delaware County. We seek to accomplish our mission by investing in economic and community development, emergency services, and non-profit organizations, with an emphasis on under-resourced communities. 

I can’t express in words the pride I had in having this important role in directly helping so many organizations who help children. Our board recognizes a long list of needs in Delco and we all agreed that our children come FIRST. In the future we look to fund programs addressing food insecurity, public safety, health and wellness, and others.

I’ve served on several boards and the major task is always to raise funds for the organization in order for it to fulfill its mission. How great and unique it is to be a part of something where money simply shows up in the bank account every quarter and all we have to do is give it away. As the treasurer for DCIGRA, my personal mantra is to get the money out the account as fast as it comes in. 

I know some of you want to rush to our website to see what DCIGRA is all about. Unfortunately, there is no DCIGRA website as we’re currently evaluating bids received from website developers. In the meantime, please go to the county site to find the schedule of our public meetings, view our past meetings, and read our minutes. 

We invite any organization interested in applying for funds to contact us. We’d love to schedule you to attend one of our board meetings to offer a 10-minute presentations to state your need and desire for DCIGRA funds that satisfy our mission. We also have an opening on our board as one of our original members had to resign due to relocation. 

Contact us at info@DCIGRA.org

A screen shot of a Ceasars Rewards commercial