PNC Institutional Asset Management New OCIO at the Community Foundation

PNC Institutional Asset Management New OCIO at the Community Foundation

PNC Institutional Asset Management logo

Allentown, Pa., February 16, 2024—The Lehigh Valley Community Foundation recently selected PNC Institutional Asset Management Group (IAM) as it’s Outsourced Chief Investment Officer (OCIO) for two of the Foundation’s portfolios. This decision follows a rigorous evaluation process led by LVCF’s ad hoc Investment RFP Committee, which concluded that PNC IAM’s expertise and capabilities align most closely with LVCF’s mission and goals.

The committee chaired by Denise Blew, former LVCF board and finance committee member, carefully reviewed proposals from several esteemed firms, conducted interviews and other due diligence measures before recommending PNC IAM. The committee was composed of LVCF board members, staff, and outside financial experts. “We were impressed by PNC IAM’s people, services, and technological capabilities, recognizing the value they will bring to LVCF’s work and asset growth initiatives,” Blew noted. “We are excited about the possibilities this collaboration brings and believe it will contribute positively to our investment outcomes and overall success. I thank the committee members for their commitment, insight, and expertise in guiding the Foundation through this very important process.”

“PNC IAM comes highly recommended by other community foundations where they have demonstrated exceptional service and support,” noted Trisha Higgins, CPA, Executive Vice President, and CFO of the Foundation who served on the committee. “Their understanding of community foundation dynamics and commitment to assisting organizations like LVCF manage its assets were particularly noteworthy. We were also impressed with PNC IAM’s cutting-edge technology solutions that will enhance LVCF’s operational efficiency by ensuring smooth processes.”

“In 2023, we made the decision to transition to a new OCIO as part of our ongoing commitment to enhancing our investment strategy and ensuring alignment with our organizational goals,” explained Erika Riddle Petrozelli, CPA, CAP®, President and CEO of the Community Foundation. “The Foundation conducts periodic reviews and evaluations of our investment program as part of our fiduciary responsibility and commitment to sound governance practices. This includes a thorough assessment of our investment strategy, performance, and investment partners. The decision to open the process reflects our evolving needs and strategic direction.”

About Lehigh Valley Community Foundation

The Lehigh Valley Community Foundation has been responsibly stewarding the community’s endowment and resources for more than 55 years. Committed to sustainable fund growth and impactful grantmaking, LVCF works closely with donors, fundholders, and partners to address pressing community needs and create positive change.

About PNC Institutional Asset Management Group

PNC Institutional Asset Management Group provides comprehensive investment solutions tailored to the unique needs of institutional clients. With a focus on innovation, integrity, and client service excellence, PNC IAM helps organizations achieve their financial goals and make a meaningful impact in their communities. Visit their website: click here

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For more information about LVCF and its partnership with PNC IAM, please Michael Wilson, Director of Communications, Lehigh Valley Community Foundation at michael@lvcfoundation.org or 484-695-3277.

Focus on Foundation-Directed Grantmaking

Focus on Foundation-Directed Grantmaking

On this webpage, we take a look back at 2023 and provide some highlights of our foundation-directed leadership grantmaking. Our three main focus areas, capacity building through our CORE Fellowship Program, early childhood care, and arts, culture and the creative economy are supported by a variety of sources including Community Investment Funds that generate the unrestricted dollars that support foundation-directed grantmaking. To those fundholders and all of you who make our work possible—Thank you.

CORE Fellowship | Fostering Inclusive Leadership and Developing Equitable Organizations

This past year was an exciting year for the CORE Fellowship Program. The program was launched in July 2022, and through two different cohorts, nearly 50 fellows have participated, representing around 24 institutions. LVCF is planning the start of a third cohort in the summer of 2024.

The CORE Fellowship Program is a two-year capacity building process designed to bring Lehigh Valley nonprofit leaders together to center equity in themselves, their relationships, their organizations, and the sector. The intended impact of the fellowship are the following:

1) that each fellow will develop the skills, understanding, and capacity for inclusive leadership

2) that organizations will further their work in centering equity, having a plan and resources to understand how best to build their own capacity both in the fellowship and beyond

3) that a diverse set of leaders will build and deepen relationships leading to a powerful social network of changemakers emerging.

In turn, these individuals, organizations, and networks will harness their collective power to make equitable change in the nonprofit sector. See what CORE Fellows have to say about the program.

As a part of the CORE Fellowship, organizations and fellows receive general operating funding, participate in nearly 50 hours of cohort convening over two years, receive five hours of individual leadership coaching, and participate in an organizational equity discovery process to assess the organization in how to best build capacity to become more equitable, resulting in an individualized organizational roadmap for how to do the work.

Overall, LVCF believes that the impact of the fellowship is powerful, important, and urgent. During the November 2023 National Day of Philanthropy Breakfast, organized by the Association of Fundraising Professionals of the Lehigh Valley, the Lehigh Valley Community Foundation was recognized as Foundation of the Year due to the impact of the CORE Fellowship program. This recognition demonstrates the importance of the fellowship in the wider community after only one year. LVCF is looking forward to seeing the long-lasting impact.

“In the current time of polarization, the fellowship’s work to bring diverse people together in better understanding and appreciation of our many differences, in addition to understanding of our own and each other’s humanity is urgent, especially for those who work on the front line of making change in our community every day,” said Megan Briggs, Vice President of Community Investment. “The fellowship’s ability to provide the structure and space to heal, repair, understand, and grow our own selves and also our relationships is the way we can make long-lasting and meaningful change.”


Early Childhood Care: Working towards high-quality, accessible childcare

During 2023, LVCF deepened our commitment to working collaboratively to address the crisis in the Early Childhood Care sector. In March 2023, LVCF announced 12 grant awards, distributing nearly $200,000 to organizations that are working towards providing high-quality, accessible childcare. LVCF also awarded 3 of the 12 organizations with a 3-year multi-year grant award.

Alisa Baratta, Executive Director of Third Street Alliance, one of the three recipients of the multi-year grant award, demonstrates the importance of the award by saying, “The Foundation’s multi-year general operating grant supports our ability to build a strong and sustainable infrastructure for our early childhood program. For example, we’re able to take risks and pilot new initiatives related to curriculum development and family engagement. This support also helps us advance our equity goals by allowing us to invest in living wages salaries for staff in our early learning program—a sector with a female-dominated workforce that has long been notoriously underpaid.”

LVCF recently launched a new cycle of grant funding, which will support nonprofits addressing some of the root causes of the early childhood issue. During this fall, both Erika Riddle Petrozelli, LVCF’s President and CEO, and Megan Briggs met with over 20 early childhood stakeholders to understand the current crisis, early childhood landscape, and how best the LVCF could help. During these meetings, LVCF learned more about the root causes of the early childhood crisis, such as the issue with low pay for the entire field leading to workforce shortages, the increasingly complex behavioral and mental health diagnosis of children, and the lack of sufficient revenue sources to sustain high-quality programs. We learned about how this issue intersects with several impact areas including supporting babies and families, workforce development, overall economic well-being, transportation, and health.

We also learned about the efforts that local leaders are working on to address these challenges. LVCF is now developing the foundation’s strategies that will help bolster the collective efforts to provide high-quality, accessible childcare for all Lehigh Valley families. We look forward to not only distributing grants in this area, but also utilizing our staff time, our voice, our positioning, and our resources to make an impact in the early childhood space.


Arts, Culture & Creative Economy

During 2023, LVCF continues to redistribute state grant funding through the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (PCA) Partners in the Arts program for Carbon, Monroe, Lehigh, and Northampton counties. LVCF manages two distinct opportunities for funding through this program. The Creative Entrepreneur Accelerator Program helps creative entrepreneurs to grow their small business, audience, and revenue by providing $2,000 grants. Since the grant launched in late 2021, over $100,000 has been distributed to over 50 creative entrepreneurs. LVCF also launched the Creative Flex Fund, a new PCA program in the summer of 2023, which is designed to address the changing needs of dynamic Pa. arts organizations by providing grantees the flexibility to use $5,000 grants in ways that ensure the most significant impact for their organizations and communities. LVCF distributed $105,000 to 22 organizations in November 2023, and looks forward to understanding the impact of this funding.

Throughout the year, LVCF’s Assistant Director of Community Investments, Monique Saunders Moreno, (with Zoellner’s Mark Wilson right) joined several different working groups and panels focused on creating awareness and advocating for a vibrant, sustainable arts, culture, and creative economy sector. A highlight was the Pennsylvania Arts & Humanities: A Statewide Convening hosted at Zoellner Arts Center, for which Monique served as a Marketing Working Group member. LVCF is looking forward to continuing to partner with the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts to support the region’s arts, culture, and creative economy sector.

LVCF is looking forward to continuing to partner with the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts to support the region’s arts, culture, and creative economy sector. 

Grant from DCED to Support Local Artists

Grant from DCED to Support Local Artists

The Lehigh Valley Community Foundation has been awarded an American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) grant from the Pennsylvania Dept of Community & Economic Development (DCED) in the amount of $115,500. 

“This grant is an exciting step for us and our partnership with the PA Council of the Arts,” said Erika Riddle Petrozelli CPA, CAP, President and CEO of the Community Foundation. “We will be regranting most of these funds in support of creative individuals and artists who lost critical work and wages during the pandemic.  We are awaiting further word on spending parameters, including the administration allocation, and will share that with the Community Investments Committee at a future meeting.”

“Competition for funds was very strong and the demand far exceeded the available funds,” said Monique Saunders Moreno, LVCF’s Assistant Director of Community Investment who oversees the Foundation’s grantmaking that support the arts. “The DCED received eligible requests totaling more than $82.9 million for the $15 million that was available. “

The full list of approved projects, which includes many Lehigh Valley arts nonprofits, is linked below.  Note that you must download a PDF. 

Approved Projects 2023-12-19 – CFA Board Meeting – PA Department of Community & Economic Development

See related stories in the media:

Lehigh Valley recipients share $24M in state grants of federal COVID cash
Lehigh Valley Live
Lehigh Valley Community Foundation: to distribute pandemic recovery payments to arts and culture professionals, $115,500. Lehigh County.

Allentown lands $3M grant for sewer-line repairs; dozen others to split $4 million
LehighValleyNews.com
The Lehigh Valley Community Foundation is set to distribute its $115,500 grant through coronavirus pandemic-recovery payments to arts and culture …

Sen. Nick Miller Secures Nearly $300000 in Funding for Local Arts and Cultures Organizations
EIN News
The Allentown Art Museum will receive $68,525 to fund operating costs and the Lehigh Valley Community Foundation was awarded $115,500 to …

Schweyer, Schlossberg, Siegel, and Miller announce over $7.1 million in state grants
Valley Ledger

Upper Bucks Community Fund Issues 2023-24 Grants to Support Nonprofits

Upper Bucks Community Fund Issues 2023-24 Grants to Support Nonprofits

Allentown, Pa., December 15, 2023—The Upper Bucks Community Fund of the Lehigh Valley Community Foundation issued $37,450 in grants to fourteen area nonprofit organizations. The Fund consists primarily of two area-of-interest funds. The Richard E. Gasser Fund and Erwin J. and Gertrude K. Neusch Fund provide annual grants to organizations and programs primarily serving the Palisades, Pennridge and Quakertown School Districts in the Upper Bucks area.

These grants, ranging from $1,000 to $5,500, were made at the recommendation of the advisory committee for the Upper Bucks Community Fund, a geographic affiliate of the Lehigh Valley Community Foundation. “The Upper Bucks Community Fund Advisory Group carefully considered each application in accordance with the fund’s priorities,” said Megan Briggs, Vice President of Community Investments at the Lehigh Valley Community Foundation. “After a very thorough discussion about all the excellent applications, the Advisory Group worked together to recommend the final grant awards. Each member contributed their own depth of knowledge about the Upper Bucks region again this year to award projects and programs that will increase the quality of life for Upper Bucks residents.”

The following organizations received grants for programs from the fund’s 2023-24 grant cycle. The funded programs are listed as well.

Bucks County Covered Bridge Society
Knechts Bridge Project

Durham Historical Society
Mill race refurbishments for the Historic Durham Mill

Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania
Girl Scouts STEM Programming – Upper Bucks

Heritage Conservancy
Critical Improvements to the Fuller-Pursell Preserve

Lenape Chamber Ensemble
Community Outreach for awareness of classical chamber music in Upper Bucks

National Inventors Hall of Fame, Inc.
Camp Invention STEAM

Palisades Community Foundation
The Red Covered Bridge Project

Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival
PSF’s WillPower Tour, new Shakespeare for Kids community tour

Quakertown Alive!
Mural for the Sine’s 5 & 10 Historical building

Quakertown Band
Veterans Ball Musical Performance

Quakertown Music Promoters Organization (QMPO)
2024 Spring Musical production

Riegelsville Public Library
Art for Kids in the Summer

The “Drop” at the Quakertown Community Center
Art at the Drop

YMCA of Bucks County
Quakertown Branch After School Arts Program

About the Upper Buck Community Fund of the Lehigh Valley Community Foundation

The Upper Bucks Community Fund of the Lehigh Valley Community Foundation, a geographic affiliate of Lehigh Valley Community Foundation, consists primarily of two area-of-interest funds. The Richard E. Gasser Fund and Erwin J. and Gertrude K. Neusch Fund are for organizations and programs primarily serving the Palisades, Pennridge and Quakertown School Districts in the Upper Bucks area. Recently added to Upper Bucks umbrella, The Bucks County Free Library Endowment Fund is an agency fund that benefits the seven-branch county library system with locations in Bensalem, Doylestown, Langhorne, Levittown, Perkasie, Quakertown, and Yardley-Makefield.

Upper Bucks Community Fund Committee.

Learn more about the Upper Bucks Community Fund on the Lehigh Valley Community Foundation website.

LVCF Honored with Outstanding Foundation Award

LVCF Honored with Outstanding Foundation Award

Center Valley, Pa., November 15, 2022— The Lehigh Valley Community Foundation (LVCF) was honored by the Association of Fundraising Professionals – Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter during the National Philanthropy Awards Breakfast on November 15, 2023, at DeSales University in Center Valley, Pa.

“The outstanding Foundation award recognizes a foundation that demonstrates outstanding commitment to philanthropy through their charitable support and their leadership in our community,” said Laurie Hacket, Director of Global Community Relations at Air Products, who served as master of ceremonies for the event. “For more than 50 years Lehigh Valley Community Foundation has been the philanthropic hub for the Lehigh Valley connecting people who care with the causes that matter most to them.”

“This past year, LVCF launched their CORE Fellowship Program, which is a two-year capacity building process designed to bring together leaders from different Lehigh Valley nonprofits to help individuals, organizations and networks focus their collective power to make equitable change in the nonprofit sector right here in the Lehigh Valley,” Hacket explained. “On behalf of AFP, we are so happy to present the 2023 outstanding Foundation award to Lehigh Valley Community Foundation.”

About the Association of Fundraising Professionals – Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter

Founded in 1986, the AFP Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter is a regional professional association whose membership is comprised of persons involved in development, public relations, nonprofit management and fundraising consulting. It is a chapter of the international organization, Association of Fundraising Professionals. The majority of chapter members represent organizations in Lehigh and Northampton counties.  The chapter currently has a membership of approximately 150 fundraising professionals.  

Congratulations to the 2023 National Philanthropy Day Honorees!

Lifetime Achievement Award: Barry & Marcy Dobil
Outstanding Philanthropists: The Haight Family
Outstanding Foundation: Lehigh Valley Community Foundation
Outstanding Business: Golden Pepper Productions
Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser: Wenda Boyer
Outstanding Fundraising Group: Emmaus Rotary
Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy: Alexis Valentin
Rising Star: Shaun Marakovits
IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, & Access) Champion: Murtaza Jaffer

Video by ASR Media Productions | Photo by Marco Calderon Photography

Creative Sector Flex Fund Grants Support the Arts

Creative Sector Flex Fund Grants Support the Arts

Allentown, Pa., November 27, 2023— The Lehigh Valley Community Foundation (LVCF) announced the recipients of the 2023-24 Creative Sector Flex Fund (CSFF) grants, a new initiative aimed at bolstering the region’s vibrant arts and culture scene. This year, twenty-one nonprofit arts and culture organizations in the Lehigh Valley have been selected to receive grants of $5,000 each, thanks to the collaborative effort between LVCF and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (PCA).

The CSFF is an innovative grant program introduced by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts for the 2023-2024 grant year. Specifically designed to address the evolving needs of dynamic arts organizations and/or programs in Pennsylvania with average annual revenues ranging from $10,000 to $200,000, this initiative is a testament to the commitment to nurturing the arts and creative sector at the state level.

“The arts play a vital role in fostering cultural richness, promoting community engagement, and stimulating economic growth, making them an essential component of a thriving and vibrant community,” said Monique Saunders Moreno, Assistant Director of Community Investments at LVCF, who manages the arts programs. “I want to thank all those who submitted applications for the Creative Sector Flex Fund. It was a challenge to select from the many strong proposals. We also thank the members of our review community whose expertise and experience resulted in robust discussions and evaluations. This funding is critical, and it’s clear that much more is needed to support the arts, culture, and creative economy in the Lehigh Valley and beyond.”

One of the distinguishing features of the CSFF is the flexibility it offers to grant recipients. The $5,000 grants can be used in various ways to maximize their impact on organizations and communities, including administrative support, programmatic enhancements, and project-related expenses. This flexibility ensures that the funds serve the unique needs and goals of each recipient.

The grant recipients of the 2023-24 Creative Sector Flex Fund are as follows:

• The Camerata Singers
• Lehigh Valley Girls Rock
• Repertory Dance Theatre
• Karl Stirner Arts Trail Inc
• SouthSide Film Institute
• CEC of Organization of the Rebirth of Ukraine
• Lehigh Valley Chorale
• Pocono Concert Chorale
• The Allentown Band
• Bethlehem Fine Arts Commission
• Mock Turtle Marionette Theater
• Alternative Gallery
• Bloom for Women
• Young People’s Philharmonic of the Lehigh Valley
• Movement Moves Media
• Bach and Handel Chorale Inc
• Godfrey Daniels
• SATORI
• Chamber Music Lehigh Valley
• National Scenic Visitors Center
• Appalachian Fiddle & Blue Grass Association

LVCF, in partnership with the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts through the Partners in the Arts program, plays a vital role in distributing grant awards for projects or programs involving artists throughout Region 5, which includes Carbon, Monroe, Lehigh, and Northampton counties. This collaborative program extends the reach of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, enabling a broader audience to access funds, thereby increasing statewide exposure to enriching arts activities.

These grants are supported by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency, through the Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts (PPA), its regional arts funding Partnership. State government funding comes through an annual appropriation by Pennsylvania’s General Assembly and from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. PPA is administered in this region by the state’s PPA Partner (Lehigh Valley Community Foundation for Region 5].

For more information about the Creative Sector Flex Fund and LVCF’s commitment to supporting the arts, please visit: Creative Sector Flex Fund – Lehigh Valley Community Foundation (lehighvalleyfoundation.org)

About Lehigh Valley Community Foundation

The Lehigh Valley Community Foundation is a philanthropic hub serving the Lehigh and Northampton counties, dedicated to improving the quality of life in the region by connecting donors with the causes they care about most. With a mission to promote philanthropy, collaboration, and leadership, LVCF strives to make the Lehigh Valley a thriving community for all.

About Pennsylvania Council on the Arts

The Pennsylvania Council on the Arts is an agency of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania that provides grants and support to a diverse array of arts and culture organizations, nurturing the creative spirit of Pennsylvania’s citizens and communities. The PCA’s mission is to strengthen the cultural, educational, and economic vitality of Pennsylvania through the arts.

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LVCF Presents Speaker Series on Artificial Intelligence in the Nonprofit and Philanthropic Industry

LVCF Presents Speaker Series on Artificial Intelligence in the Nonprofit and Philanthropic Industry

Allentown, Pa.– August 21, 2023 – Lehigh Valley Community Foundation will host a three-part speaker series, “Navigating AI: Transforming Nonprofits and Philanthropy,” focused on the profound impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) within the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors. This educational series, featuring nationally renowned AI experts, is set to take place in September 2023.

The series aims to equip nonprofit leaders, philanthropists, fundholders, and donors with a comprehensive understanding of the transformative potential, ethical considerations, and practical applications of AI within their respective domains. As the nonprofit sector continues to evolve in response to technological advancements, this series seeks to empower participants with the knowledge and tools necessary to effectively embrace AI.

The Lehigh Valley Community Foundation has curated this series in recognition of the growing significance of AI technology, including systems such as ChatGPT. By providing a platform for national industry leaders, the foundation seeks to facilitate insightful conversations that delve into the opportunities, challenges, and responsibilities associated with AI.

Session #1 – An Introduction to AI for Nonprofit Leaders & Philanthropists

Date: Thursday, September 14th, 2023
Time: 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Format: Virtual Webinar on Zoom
Presenters: Beth Kanter and Allison Fine, Co-authors of “The Smart Nonprofit”

This session will address the emergence of AI tools like ChatGPT, exploring their potential to reshape fundraising strategies and enhance donor relationships. Beth Kanter and Allison Fine, acclaimed authors of “The Smart Nonprofit,” will demystify the technology, share real-world applications, and deliberate on ethical considerations. Attendees will gain valuable insights into adopting AI in a conscientious, human-centric manner.

Session #2 – Responsible Artificial Intelligence in Philanthropy

Date: Wednesday, September 20th, 2023
Time: 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Format: Virtual Webinar on Zoom
Presenters: Dr. Julia Stoyanovich, Director of the Center for Responsible AI at NYU, and Philip Deng, CEO of Grantable

Session two delves into responsible AI practices, especially relevant to donors and fundholders. Dr. Julia Stoyanovich will illuminate the challenges of equity, bias, and data privacy within AI systems, while Philip Deng will provide practical insights into incorporating responsible AI in philanthropic endeavors.

Session #3 – Practical Possibilities and Legal Perspectives for Artificial Intelligence

Date: Friday, September 22nd, 2023
Time: 1:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Format: In-Person Event at SteelStacks
Presenters: Jeffrey A. Franklin, Esq. and Eric Robuck, Cyber Security Expert

The final session transitions to an in-person event, where Eric Robuck and Jeffrey A. Franklin will guide attendees through practical AI applications within nonprofits. Robuck will offer hands-on demonstrations, while Franklin will address legal implications. The session underscores the potential for nonprofits to leverage AI in shaping more equitable societies.

Participants can register for individual sessions or opt for all three sessions, saving significantly on the combined registration fee. Registration links and detailed event descriptions can be found on AI in the Nonprofit & Philanthropic Industry webpage.

Note for Nonprofits: Nonprofit organizations with annual revenues under $200,000 may inquire about reduced or complimentary tickets. Please reach out to Megan Briggs at megan@lvcfoundation.org for further information.

Maureen Connolley Wendling Joins LVCF as Director of Donor Initiatives

Maureen Connolley Wendling Joins LVCF as Director of Donor Initiatives

Maureen Wendling

Allentown, Pa., August 1, 2023—Lehigh Valley Community Foundation welcomes Maureen Connolley Wendling as the part-time Director of Donor Initiatives, enhancing the Foundation’s overall fund development and fundraising efforts with a specific focus on family legacy and philanthropy.

In her new role, Maureen’s primary responsibilities include donor identification, cultivation, and solicitation. She will build relationships with professional advisors and develop strategies for groups of donors, such as planned giving donors. Maureen collaborates closely with the Director of Donor Services and the Chief Executive Officer to offer a range of services to donors and fundholders.

Erika Riddle Petrozelli, CPA, CAP®, President, and CEO of the Community Foundation, expressed her excitement about Maureen’s arrival, stating, “Maureen brings extensive fundraising experience to the Community Foundation, having worked for Lehigh University, the Allentown Art Museum, and several other nonprofits in a consulting capacity. She most recently led the Shanthi Project, one of LVCF’s grantees, which makes her familiar with LVCF’s community work and the impact we expect to accomplish.”

With a background in higher education, the arts, and social services, Maureen is an experienced leader in the Lehigh Valley’s nonprofit sector. She brings strategic insight and a hands-on approach to each donor/client relationship. Drawing on her knowledge of best practices, she has helped numerous regional organizations develop and implement key strategies to advance their missions.

As a Lehigh Valley native, Maureen believes in giving back to the community where she grew up. Over the years, she has served on the Communications Committee of Resilient Lehigh Valley, the Northampton County Suicide Task Force, and the Board of Associates of Muhlenberg College.

Additionally, Maureen is a mindfulness meditation teacher, having completed her teaching training at the Mindfulness Institute at Thomas Jefferson University and the Center for Mindfulness at Lehigh Valley Health Network. She graduated from DeSales University with a B.S. in Marketing and Sales.

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Staff Promotions Reflect Growing Expertise and Leadership

Staff Promotions Reflect Growing Expertise and Leadership

Allentown, Pa., August 1, 2023—The Lehigh Valley Community Foundation (LVCF) has recently promoted three staff members in recognition of their professional growth, increasing expertise, and demonstrated commitment and leadership in advancing the Foundation’s work.

Trisha Higgins, CPA, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Trisha Higgins, CPA, Executive Vice President for Finance and CFO

Trisha Higgins, CPA, has been promoted to the position of Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, elevating her from her previous role as Vice President and CFO. With over 20 years of dedicated service since joining in 2002, Trisha oversees all aspects of the Foundation’s financial and operational administration. When announcing the promotion, Erika Riddle Petrozelli, CPA, CAP®, President and CEO at LVCF, said, “This title change acknowledges Trisha’s long tenure, unwavering commitment, and valued leadership in many critical functions at the Foundation.”

Megan Briggs, Vice President of Community Investments

Megan Briggs, Vice President for Community Investments

Megan Briggs has been named Vice President of Community Investments, a promotion from her previous role as Director of Community Investments. Megan joined the LVCF staff in 2017, and in her new role, she is responsible for overseeing grantmaking administration and strategy as well as the organization’s community leadership work, a key initiative of the organization’s strategic plan.  She collaborates with volunteer advisory committees to implement the Foundation’s high-impact grantmaking programs and analyzes data from the nonprofit community to maximize and promote community impact. Petrozelli noted, “With this promotion, the Foundation recognizes Megan’s impactful contributions to our community leadership work and her trusted partnerships in the community.”

Holly Fitzpatrick, Grants Manager

Holly Fitzpatrick

Holly Fitzpatrick, who joined the LVCF staff in March of 2022, has been promoted to the position of Grants Manager from her previous role as Grants Administrator. “This promotion acknowledges her elevated role in the grants process and all that she has done to take ownership of these processes and earn the trust of fundholders, nonprofits, and fellow staff members,” Petrozelli explained.  As Grants Manager, Holly collaborates with the Finance, Community Investments, and Donor Services teams to steward grants through the process, from initial input to preparation for payment.

The promotions were announced at the spring LVCF Board of Governors meeting and became effective in July 2023. To learn more about the staff at the Community Foundation, visit The Lehigh Valley Community Foundation Staff (lehighvalleyfoundation.org).

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LVCF Announces 2023-25 Core Fellowship Participants 

LVCF Announces 2023-25 Core Fellowship Participants 

Allentown, Pa., July 25, 2023—Lehigh Valley Community Foundation (LVCF) has announced the 2023-2025 cohort for its CORE Fellowship Program, a two-year capacity-building process designed to bring Lehigh Valley nonprofit leaders together to center equity in themselves, their relationships, their organizations, and the nonprofit sector. LVCF is proud to partner with 15 fellows from 8 organizations, as well as 8 systems-stakeholder in this year’s fellowship.

“The CORE Fellowship Program name signifies that this work will focus on addressing the core of our own selves, the core of our organizations, and the core of our systems,” noted Megan Briggs, LVCF Vice President of Community Investments. “As a funder in the Lehigh Valley, we recognize that nonprofits are working to incorporate equity into their organizations. Due to our positioning and experience, our approach is to support that work that needs to be done to reach equity by providing the infrastructure and resources necessary to both individuals and organizations.”

“We recognize that individuals and organizations are in many different places in their work on equity, and the CORE Fellowship Program is designed to meet people where they are at in their own equity journey, as long as there is a demonstration of commitment to being on an equity journey,” explained Monique Saunders Moreno, Assistant Director Community Investments. 

The Community Foundation is partnering with consultants again this year to deliver the model, including Phyllis Alexander, Guillermo Lopez, Jr., and Carter Gilbert. These consultants contribute in the program design and decision-making as well as being in the facilitation role for the program. The CORE Fellowship program offers benefits to both the individuals in the cohort, but also their respective organizations. CORE Fellows will receive leadership development coaching along with guidance from organizational development consultants on the creation of an equity-centered capacity-building project. LVCF has partnered with Partnering For Change as the organizational development consultants for the fellowship.  They will conduct an in-depth equity and organizational discovery process with time to carry out an equity-centered capacity-building project. Fellows will also benefit from building connections to a network of nonprofit leaders. The CORE Fellowship offers a $25,000 grant to each participating organization.

Below is the list of Organizations and Fellows that were selected for the 2023-2025 CORE Fellowship Program:

Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Lehigh Valley 

  • Susan Bartels, Chief Executive Officer
  • Tyrone Fisher, Director of Volunteer Engagement 
Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Lehigh Valley - CORE Fellows

Easton Area Community Center 

  • Lisa Campbell, Associate Director
  • Kathryn Presto, President of EACC Board of Directors
Easton Area Community Center

Muhlenberg College (Office of Multicultural Life and Trexler Library) 

  • Robin Riley Casey, Associate Dean of Students and Diversity Initiatives 
  • Jess Denke, Community Engagement Librarian
Muhlenberg College (Office of Multicultural Life and Trexler Library) 

Robin Riley Casey, Associate Dean of Students and Diversity Initiatives 

Jess Denke, Community Engagement Librarian

NAMI Lehigh Valley 

  • Mitchell Lopez, Director of Community Outreach 
  • Margaret Murphy, Executive Director  
NAMI Lehigh Valley - CORE Fellows

The Bach Choir of Bethlehem 

  • Ebony Stevens, Marketing Manager 
  • Christopher Jackson, Artistic Director & Conductor 
The Bach Choir of Bethlehem  - CORE Fellows

Pinebrook Family Answers 

  • Angie Andresen, Vice-President Human Resources 
  • Monica R. Harrison, Family Based Teams Coach 
Pinebrook Family Answers, Angie Anderson, Monica Harrison

Pratyush Sinha Foundation | Mindful Child Initiative

  • Prabha Sinha, Founder 
  • Sara Kanoff Martinez, Co-Executive Director  

SELF – LV

  • Enid Santiago, Board Chair 
Enid Santiago, Board Chair SELF LV - CORE Fellow

Stakeholders 

In addition to nonprofit leaders selected to participate in the program, there are eight nonprofit stakeholders who were invited to participate in the CORE Fellowship Program. These stakeholders are important partners in shifting the nonprofit sector to becoming more equitable and have consistently demonstrated a commitment to equity. Stakeholders are represented from the philanthropic, government, or corporate sectors.  

The following stakeholders have agreed to participate in the 2023-25 fellowship cohort: 

Monica Brooks, Manager, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, PPL Corporation 
Dannah Hartman, Director of Marketing, Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania 
Margaret McConnell, Director of Strategic Partnerships, People First Federal Credit Union 
Laura McHugh, Vice President, Marketing and Communications, United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley 
Holona Ochs, Marcon Institute Director & Associate Professor, Lehigh University 
• Genesis Ortega, Communications Manager, City of Allentown 
Erika Riddle Petrozelli, CPA, CAP, President & CEO, Lehigh Valley Community Foundation 
Melissa Starace, Foundation Director, Baker Foundation/Boldly Go Philanthropy 

CORE Fellowship Stakeholders 2023-25

Learn more about the CORE Fellowship Program 

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