Walker Fund at LVCF Issues $416,200 in Grants for 2024

Walker Fund at LVCF Issues $416,200 in Grants for 2024

The Walker Fund at LVCF

Allentown, Pa., June 10, 2024—The George T. Walker Charitable Fund at Lehigh Valley Community Foundation (LVCF) recently issued more than $416,200 in grants to support seven organizations that were important to the late George T. Walker of Monroe County in Pennsylvania. A donor designated fund at the Community Foundation, the George T. Walker Charitable Fund provides annual grants to organizations designated through the estate of George T. Walker in perpetuity. Grants from the Fund for 2024 included the following:

  • American Red Cross – Northeastern PA Chapter
    General Operating – General Operating & BioMedical Services – $46,200
  • Deborah Hospital Foundation
    Capital Campaign – Deborah100: The Campaign – $50,000
  • Effort United Methodist Church
    Capital Projects– $40,000
  • Guiding Eyes for the Blind
    General Operating – $80,000
  • Mount Pocono United Methodist Church
    General Operating – $40,000
  • Salvation Army East Stroudsburg Corps
    Emergency Shelter/Housing Programs serving Monroe County, Pa. – $85,000
  • St.Jude Children’s Research Hospital
    Named Space at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital – $75,000

The late George T. Walker of Monroe County in Pennsylvania discussed his charitable goals with his professional advisors in 2005, creating the parameters for a charitable fund at the Foundation which was funded by bequest upon his passing.  The George T. Walker Charitable Fund was established with his bequest in 2011.  “Mr. Walker specified that the Lehigh Valley Community Foundation has complete discretion, each year, regarding the amounts to be granted to each of these charitable organizations as well as the specific programs to be funded by grants from the Fund,” said Carrie Krug Nedick, LVCF Director of Donor Services. “We are pleased to make these grants to the organizations Mr. Walker held dear as the Foundation fulfills his charitable legacy.”

About George T. Walker

George T. Walker lived a humble life in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. He was very generous, and he was especially careful to support organizations doing so much for their communities without asking for reimbursement or charging fees. He wished to continue this legacy of “helping those who help others” after his lifetime. He sought guidance from his financial advisor and estate planning attorney on how to incorporate his charitable wishes into his estate plans. The legacy gifts resulting from his considerable estate had the potential for significant impact. His professional advisors recommended a charitable fund at Lehigh Valley Community Foundation to give to organizations in perpetuity. Grants from the Fund are made to Mt. Pocono United Methodist Church, Effort United Methodist Church, the Salvation Army of East Stroudsburg, the American Red Cross of East Stroudsburg, St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, Deborah Heart and Lung Center, and Guiding Eyes for the Blind. 

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LVCF’s Erika Riddle Petrozelli Named a LVB Woman of Influence

LVCF’s Erika Riddle Petrozelli Named a LVB Woman of Influence

Allentown, Pa., March 26, 2024—LVCF President and CEO Erika Riddle Petrozelli, CPA, CAP®, was selected as one of this year’s Lehigh Valley Business’s Women of Influence. The designation recognizes high-achieving women for their tremendous career accomplishments. The Women of Influence honorees are selected based on professional experience, community involvement and a commitment to mentoring. See the list of recipients at: Women of Influence Awards – LVB

Erika Riddle Petrozelli stepped into the leadership role in January 2021, in the midst of a pandemic and racial justice movement. Through her steady leadership, the Community Foundation has achieved an immense amount over the last three years. A few of those achievements include: Developing a new strategic plan, diversifying the board, creating new messaging and marketing, implementing a new database system to increase efficiency, and leading the process to refine grantmaking platform.  During the last three years, LVCF’s assets have grown significantly, in addition to expanding and deepening relationships.

Erika Riddle Petrozelli

Her entire staff supported her nomination. Her leadership style is empowering, bold, strategic, and thoughtful. She exemplifies what it means to lead with curiosity and intellect. She’s a values-based leader who sees the potential and leadership in each person. She has continuously utilized her position and role to lift up other women around her, often times women who have been unrecognized previously. She inspires her staff to not only be good at their job, but also to be good people.

Some of her current leadership roles in the community include: Board of Directors on the Bach Choir, Vice Chair of the Board of the Pennsylvania Community Foundation Alliance, Immediate Past President of the Estate Planning Council of the Lehigh Valley, member of the Junior League of the Lehigh Valley and mother of two beautiful children.

In 2023, Erika attained the Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy® (CAP®) designation, administered through The American College of Financial Services. She was a 2018-19 Rider-Pool Foundation Collective Impact Fellowship, participating in a program that trains and equips nonprofit leaders to address complex community needs and develop stronger cross-sector partnerships. In 2016, Erika completed the Leadership Lehigh Valley program at Northampton Community College. A Bethlehem native, she graduated from Lehigh University with a major in Accounting.  She was awarded the President’s Scholarship and went on to earn her Masters in Accounting and Information Analysis.

She is a cherished leader by not only her staff, but also the many fundholders and partners of the community foundation.

LVCF Awards Grants to Enhance Early Childcare Access

LVCF Awards Grants to Enhance Early Childcare Access

Allentown, PA, March 12, 2024 — The Lehigh Valley Community Foundation (LVCF) has announced the distribution of over $175,500 in general operating grants to local nonprofits for improving access to early childcare. This funding initiative is part of LVCF’s foundation-directed community investments grantmaking strategy.

Megan Briggs, LVCF’s Vice President for Community Investments, emphasizes the organization’s commitment to collaborative efforts in mitigating the early childhood care and education crisis. “LVCF is not only channeling funds into this critical area but is also engaging in partnerships and initiatives to further its mission of accessible and affordable early childhood care for all,” she noted.

The following organizations have been awarded second-year grants, as part of a three-year funding cycle, with amounts ranging from $25,000 to $20,000 for the fiscal year 2023-24:

– Resurrected Community Development Corporation
– The Children’s Center, Volunteers of America of Pennsylvania
– Third Street Alliance

Additionally, two-year grant awards ranging from $14,000 to $2,500 for 2023-24 have been granted to:

– Community Services for Children
– Fine Feather Foundation Inc.
– Greater Valley YMCA
– Lehigh Valley Children’s Centers, Inc.
– Mindful Child Initiative
– Northampton Community College Foundation
– Pinebrook Family Answers
– ProJeCt of Easton, Inc.
– Red Door Early Learning Center
– Saucon Valley Community Center
– Via of the Lehigh Valley

These grants support nonprofits tackling the root causes of early childhood care and education challenges. Throughout fall 2023, Erika Riddle Petrozelli, LVCF’s President and CEO, and Megan Briggs met with over 20 stakeholders in the early childhood sector. These discussions highlighted critical issues, such as workforce shortages due to low pay, increasing behavioral and mental health diagnoses among children, and insufficient funding for quality programs. They also explored how these challenges intersect with broader impact areas like family support, workforce development, economic well-being, transportation, and health.

LVCF is actively developing strategies to support and enhance the collective effort towards ensuring high-quality, accessible childcare across the Lehigh Valley. The foundation is committed to leveraging its resources, voice, staff, and positioning to impact the early childhood sector positively.

The Foundation oversees various area-of-interest funds aimed at supporting youth and families in the Lehigh Valley, including the Edward & Inez Donley Fund; Walter & Alma Bastian Fund; Outdoor Recreation Fund for Youth; Robert D. & Gwendolyn-Jane Romeril Campership Fund; Lucille F. Driver Fund, and supported by Roger and Kathy Yott.

Grant applications were reviewed by the Early Childhood Care Grant Advisory Committee, which comprises community experts in early childhood care and family services. This diverse group evaluated applications based on the organizations’ focus areas, the populations served, and their community-driven approaches to delivering transformative services equitably.

For more information about LVCF’s foundation-directed grantmaking: click here.

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PNC Institutional Asset Management New OCIO at LVCF

PNC Institutional Asset Management New OCIO at LVCF

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.