November 8, 2023

A $500,000 matching gift challenge put forth in June by two generous Lewes families to support the acquisition of the Fourth Street Preserve has now been met.

According to campaign Chair Jim Ford, gifts made by 116 other local donors generated an additional $513,179 to qualify for the match before its Dec. 31 deadline.

“By the end of the year, we will have raised more than $2 million toward the $8.3 million needed to purchase the 29-acre Fourth Street Preserve,” said Pam Costanzi, campaign manager.

That amount includes a $500,000 pledge from the City of Lewes.

Additional matching gift challenges as well as challenge grants will be forthcoming, Costanzi said.

During the past nine months, over 300 people have been encouraged to support the open space initiative through more than a dozen community meetings and appearances at public events.

The Fourth Street Preserve campaign approach will focus more on individual major gifts during 2024 to generate the additional funds needed. Grant applications are also being submitted to Delaware foundations and the state’s Community Reinvestment Fund.

“This is a significant, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to save the last large tract of open space in Lewes,” Ford said. “We need our community to step up, as they have been doing, with generous gifts in order to make this acquisition happen.”

Anyone wishing to meet with Costanzi or Ford to discuss the campaign can contact them by calling 302-644-0107 or emailing More information about donating can be found on the Open Space Alliance campaign website at