History, Mission & Vision
Established in 1967 as the Bethlehem Area Foundation, the Foundation was regionalized and re-named in 1992 in order to serve the entire Lehigh Valley. What was preserved in this transition is the true community spirit of the Community Foundation. The Bethlehem Area Foundation was begun as part of the City's 225th anniversary celebration. Funds remaining from that celebration were used to create a permanent community endowment, the Bethlehem Area Foundation. Those funds were contributed by schoolchildren, steelworkers, retailers, college professors, homemakers, and business leaders. It was a true community beginning for a community foundation, and that community spirit is at the heart of the Lehigh Valley Community Foundation.
The first people to serve on the Foundation’s Board of Governors were John Heske, Robert Holland, Esq., Frank Marcon, Donald Taylor, Robert Taylor, Jr., Esq., and the Rev. Lyle Thomas. The Board was chaired by Rolland Adams, businessman, civic leader, and philanthropist. It was Mr. Adams who had envisioned a community endowment as a natural outcome of the 225th anniversary celebration. Mr. Adams added his personal endorsement with a generous gift of one million dollars to the Foundation. Today, the Foundation manages more than 240 charitable funds representing nearly $60 million in assets.
The Lehigh Valley Community Foundation promotes philanthropy in order to improve the quality of life in our region, to encourage collaboration among area philanthropists, and to serve as a source of information and expertise regarding charitable giving.
The Lehigh Valley Community Foundation will be a major force in the development of philanthropy in our region. The Foundation will promote and encourage collaboration among area philanthropists and will be a source of information and expertise regarding charitable giving. The Foundation will be recognized and respected for its trustworthiness, its permanence, and the quality of its Board of Governors.