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Community Foundation to Spark Awareness of Food & Housing Access Initiatives with Video Contest

Allentown, Pa., May 5, 2017—The Lehigh Valley Community Foundation (LVCF) is conducting a video contest as part of its 50th Anniversary Spark Grant application process. Five finalists were selected from dozens of applications seeking funding for food and housing initiatives. Each organization has produced a “home-grown” one-minute video that describes their organization, the project, and brings attention to the importance of food and housing access in the community. 

The videos are being shared on social media to increase awareness of the issues and the community is encouraged to vote for their favorites. LVCF’s website and on its Facebook page. The organizations are competing for $50,000 in Spark Grant funding to address the issue. The voting period will open on Monday, May 8 and runs until Friday, May 19. The winner(s) will be announced by May 31, 2017.

“The organizations are encouraged to mobilize their constituents and the community to visit the contest page, view the videos and vote,” said Michael Wilson, director of communications at LVCF.  “The video contest phase was implemented as a way to raise awareness around the issue and the highlight the good work organizations in the Lehigh Valley are doing to promote food and housing access.”

The video contest is just one part of the evaluation process to determine which program will receive funding.  “After a thorough review by the Spark Grant Evaluation team, five finalists were selected to participate in the second phase of the application process,” said Bernie Story, president and CEO. “At the conclusion of the video contest, the Spark Team will reconvene to discuss the proposals and video results and make a final decision that we will announce at the end of the month.”

The five finalists are:

  • Valley Youth House Committee, Inc. | LGBTQ Inclusive Youth Housing

    Valley Youth House plans to use the fund to establish the first housing support program with a priority for LGBTQ youth from the ages of 18 to 24 in the Lehigh Valley. The program will offer a housing counselor that will conduct housing workshops, connect youth to community resources, provide emergency assistance funds to youth at risk of eviction, start-up rental funds and offer support for LGBTQ youth to live independently.

  • School Sisters of Saint Francis | Monocacy Farm Project

    The School Sisters of Saint Francis plan to use the funds to support low-income families. Their project involves a CSA farm-share program, community gardens, educational programs for children and adults, and a community service production farm dedicated to supporting families, soup kitchens, food pantries and homeless shelters in the Lehigh Valley region.

  • New Bethany Ministries | New Choice-Based Food Pantry

    New Bethany Ministries intends on using the fund to help support the renovation process of a two-story garage facility into a new, choice-based Food Pantry. The new Pantry will quadruple the storage capacity of their current pantry, which is the only one in the Valley open five-days-a-week 8:00a.m. to 4:00p.m. This new pantry will serve as an integral component of their long-term goal to empower the residents of Bethlehem and help them control their healthy diets.

  • Nurture Nature Center | Expanding SNAP Incentives Across the Greater

    Nuture Nature Center (NNC) plans to expand SNAP incentive across the Greater Lehigh Valley. The project will aid in increasing local fruit and vegetable consumption among low-income community members.

  • Pinebrook Family Answers | The Transitional Residence Program

    Pinebrook Family Answers intends on using the Spark grant to support the regions only transitional housing program that serves and addresses the unique needs of homeless women. The program provides comprehensive, ongoing community-based services designed to maximize the individual’s transition to self-sufficiency.

About the LVCF 50th Anniversary Spark Grants

To celebrate its 50th Anniversary in 2017, the Community Foundation is issuing grants totaling $300,000 in support of six major issues affecting the Lehigh Valley.  The celebration includes grants that are being awarded in the specified months below:

  • Mental & Behavioral Health (February 2017) 
  • Cultural Enrichment (April 2017) 
  • Food & Housing Access (May 2017) 
  • Environment & Sustainability (July 2017) 
  • Human Trafficking (September 2017)
  • Veterans Affairs (November 2017)

For more information and/or to apply for a Spark Grant visit: Be the Spark.