Planning Committee

2018 Honorary Chair:
Delaware Attorney General Matt Denn

Attorney General Matt Denn took office in January 2015, and has focused on the issue of reducing violent crime in Delaware.  He proposed a plan for more police officers on patrol in Wilmington, legislation to crack down on young people caught with guns, and proposed using bank settlement funds for programs addressing crime along with the root cause issues of addiction, education, reentry and housing.  He also established a new Office of Civil Rights and Public Trust.
A long-time advocate for Delaware’s children and a proponent of small businesses, Denn helped improve Delaware’s public schools by leading efforts to improve recruitment of outstanding new school teachers, encourage more efficient spending of tax dollars by school districts, provide better services to schoolchildren with disabilities, and expand parental involvement in schools.

During his time as Lieutenant Governor, Denn also led efforts to create one of the nation’s most comprehensive developmental screening programs for infants and toddlers, create a new health insurance program for children of low income working parents, and expand the number of families willing to care for children in foster care.

He worked closely with the Governor on the Governor’s landmark early childhood education program, and was part of the Governor’s financial team, helping balance four state budgets during the worst recession in almost a century.

As the state's elected Insurance Commissioner from 2005 to 2009, Denn led the charge to pass laws restricting credit scoring and unfair cancellation of homeowners insurance, and fought to limit increases in Delawareans’ insurance rates. During his term, workers compensation insurance rates were cut by 45 percent, saving tens of millions of dollars for Delaware businesses. Additionally, Matt personally took on the cases of hundreds of Delawareans who were being treated unfairly by their insurance companies.

Denn grew up in New Castle County, the son of Morton and Marilyn Denn, attending Yorklyn Elementary and H.B. du Pont Middle School before his family moved to California.

He graduated from the University of California at Berkeley and Yale Law School.

Denn returned to Delaware after Yale and sought out Delaware Volunteer Legal Services for his first job, providing free legal advice and representation to people who couldn't afford it.  In 1998, after he had entered private legal practice, Den was asked by then-Governor Tom Carper to chair a commission charged with fixing state government's child protection system after a series of tragic child deaths.

Denn and his wife Michele live near Newark with their twins Adam and Zach and their pug Lenny.

From left, members of the Planning Committee and the IRI staff:
Nicholas Lemesh, Christine Trincia, Anna Butters, Ken Rolph,
Kerry L. Parker, Veneé Purnell, Cynthia O'Connor, Darryl McEwen
and Romaine Beasley.
Not pictured are Dr. Despina Wilson, Patti Addison and
Dee Huntsman.

2019 Planning Committee
Patricia Addison
Peer Support Manager
BlindSight Delaware

Anna Butters

Dee Huntsman
Catering Sales Manager
Chase Center on the Riverfront
Nicholas Lemesh
Darryl McEwen
21st Sensory Management Co.
Cynthia O'Connor
Kerry L. Parker
Liaison to AWC (NCC)
Division of Developmental Disabilities Services, State of Delaware

Veneé Purnell
Senior Guardian Case Manager of New Castle County
Christine Trincia

IRI Staff

Despina Wilson, Ed.D.
Executive Director

Ken Rolph
Blind and Visually Impaired Program Manager

Romaine W. Beasley
Office Manager