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Community Foundation Awards $50,000 in Spark Grants for Environment & Sustainability Programs

Allentown, Pa., August 2, 2017— The Lehigh Valley Community Foundation (LVCF) announced the recipients of $50,000 in Spark Grants for environment and sustainability programs. The announcement came at the Foundation’s program, “How Green is the Valley?,” Cindy Adams Dunn, Pennsylvania’s Secretary of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, and Michael Stershic, president of Discover Lehigh Valley the Pool Wildlife Sanctuary Pavilion, Wildlands Conservancy on August 2. The Spark Grants are part of the Community Foundation's 50th-anniversary celebration.

How Green is our Valley? Event at Wildlands Conservancy

Environment & Sustainability is the fourth of six issues the Community Foundation is addressing during its anniversary year by providing funds to local nonprofit organizations.  The Community Foundation will issue grants totaling $300,000 during 2017. The issues include: mental and behavioral health, cultural enrichment, food and housing, environment and sustainability, human trafficking, and veterans affairs.

Before announcing the grants, Bernie Story, president and CEO of the Lehigh Valley Community Foundation, said “we congratulate all five finalists for their creativity, their collaboration, their engagement, THEIR SPARKS. You have truly ignited awareness of your organizations and this issue, and we are proud to have you as our partners.”

The top grant recipient was Community Bike Works for their Bike to Sustainability program which was fully funded at $18,000.  The youth of Community Bike Works recycle hundreds of bicycles a year, working with mentors to refurbish donated bikes they can ride across the city. The grant will enable Bike to Sustainability project to work with students to build a stronger culture of sustainability, serving more students in the Earn a Bike program, and offer those students more meaningful experiences in nature, including the opportunity to create and maintain a bike trail. Finally, students will travel to Washington to attend the Youth Bike Summit and will help develop a sustainability plan for the organization.

Other organizations receiving grants included the Greater Easton Development Partnership which was awarded $10,000 for their Easton Compost Project which will serve as a pilot to provide food waste education and a composting option at the Easton Farmers' Market for market vendors and also for a pilot group of local residents. Project data, experiences, and costs will be collected and shared afterwards.

The Bethlehem Economic Development Corporation also received a $10,000 grant for Reimagining the Bethlehem Rose Garden. The grant will be used to engage a landscape architecture firm to develop a revised plan for the park, creating a map and inventory of structures and trees, noting species and condition. The new plan will add signage and walking/cycling paths. Native gardens, and understory and specimen trees will be planted, and bike racks sited.

Wildlands Conservancy was awarded a $7,000 grant for their Collaborative Watershed Education Program. Wildlands Conservancy and Lehigh Gap Nature Center will collaborate to provide multiple watershed education experiences for students from low-income neighborhoods in the Lehigh Valley.

The Watershed Coalition of the Lehigh Valley received a $5,000 grant for their Youth Watershed Steward Program that creates school-district based, county-level coordinated 'stream team,' reaching youth where they live and go to school in learning and hands-on projects that relate to environmental assets and challenges in their communities.

See the videos from the five finalists. The Spark Sponsor for Environment & Sustainably is the Alvin H. Butz, Inc.  Learn more about the Community Foundations 50th Anniversary celebration and Spark Grants.

About the Lehigh Valley Community Foundation

For nearly five decades, the Lehigh Valley Community Foundation has helped donors with their charitable contributions with a simple, powerful, and highly personalized approach. LVCF is a philanthropic hub for the Lehigh Valley—who know and navigate the landscape of the Lehigh Valley’s community needs to connect people who care to causes that matter.

With a diverse and respected Board of Governors, the Community Foundation is a tax-exempt 501(c)3 organization located in Allentown, Pennsylvania.  The Foundation is cause-neutral and supports all areas of community needs in in the Lehigh Valley and beyond in compliance with the National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations. To learn more, visit:


Community Bike Works


Bethlehem Economic Development Corporation


Greater Easton Development Partnership


Wildlands Conservancy

Watershed Coalition of the Lehigh Valley