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Foundation-Directed Leadership Grantmaking

The Lehigh Valley Community Foundation has formally adapted incorporating Community Leadership into our Foundation-directed grantmaking platform. The Community Foundation industry defines Community Leadership as the following: The community foundation is a community partner that creates a better future for all by pursuing the community’s greatest opportunities and addressing the most critical challenges, inclusively uniting people, institutions, and resources from throughout the community, and producing significant, widely shared and lasting results. 

Especially in relation to the Leadership Foundation-directed grantmaking focus areas, LVCF is taking an active role in several different initiatives and collaboratives that further the impact of LVCF’s mission. Please view community leadership initiatives under each Leadership Foundation-directed grantmaking focus area below to learn more. They include 1) Capacity Building, 2) Youth and Families, and 3) Arts and Culture.

Capacity Building | Grantmaking

After formally evaluating the first two years of the program, the Community Foundation is planning the next iteration of this grantmaking program. At current time, the Community Foundation is gathering feedback from past and current program grantees and valued partners. More information regarding the 2021-2022 Capacity Building Grantmaking Program will be released in the fall of 2021.  

2020-21 Grantmaking Cycle for Nonprofit Effectiveness (Under Construction)

Currently, LVCF is in the third cohort of Nonprofit Effectiveness during the 2020-2021 cycle. In this cycle, LVCF funded a cohort of organizations are led by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) and that serve Lehigh Valley’s Black and Brown communities. LVCF aims to build the capacity of these organizations due to historical lack of funding to support BIPOC organizations and the demonstrated impact of these organizations. Targeted funding for organizational capacity-building is necessary to ensure the long-term sustainability of these important organizations. The Lehigh Valley Community Foundation initiated this grant opportunity in recognition of the important role that BIPOC-led organizations have in providing culturally-responsive services and programs to the Lehigh Valley community. 

In addition to the grant, the cohort has participated in a community of practice. The 2021 Nonprofit Effectiveness Program Community of Practice is a community of health, well-being and practice among leaders of Asian, Black African Heritage, and/or LatinX descent. The Community of Practice provides the space to deepen relationships, share knowledge and develop skill sets. Leaders in the Community of Practice Program work individually and collectively to increase their capacity for success within the nonprofit sector. The 2021 Community of Practice reframes the outcomes of success in the non-profit sector - defining success as collaboration.  Black and Brown leaders, in sessions and in a practicum, build collective agency that models the principle of abundance and the power of cooperation.  

Below are the partner organizations, along with a list of funded projects: 

2020-2021 Grantees & Project Titles: 

Organization Name 

Project Name 

Afros in Nature  

Afros in Nature Financial Viability Plan 

Black Heritage Association of the Lehigh Valley 

Allentown Digital Inclusion Initiative 

Boys & Girls Club of Bethlehem  

Great Leaders Initiative 

Cohesion Network  

Project Sustainability 

Martin Luther & Coretta Scott King Memorial Project Inc DBA Freedom Memorial 

MLKCSK Infrastructure Build Out Strategic Plan 

Pratyush Sinha Foundation 

Mindful Education System 

Promise Neighborhoods of the Lehigh Valley 

Fund Development Plan 

Resurrected Community Development Corporation 

RCDC Staff Compensation Study 

 

History of Grantmaking Program Model  

In 2017, LVCF initiated an in-depth research process in order to inform an intentional transition in how the foundation was using foundation-directed funding. Through this process, LVCF discovered that there was a gap in funding in the Lehigh Valley to support capacity building. While foundations rely on strong, healthy organizations to achieve progress in solving the region’s most pressing issues, there was a lack of grant dollars to support the many challenges that nonprofits routinely face, from major staff transitions to board development to technology implementation.    

In recognition of this gap in support for organizational capacity building, the Lehigh Valley Community Foundation launched the Nonprofit Effectiveness Pilot, which provided funding and resources to nonprofits to provide targeted support. The pilot began in 2018 and was designed to help strengthen nonprofit effectiveness, enabling organizations to do their work better and enhance their impact. The model included grant funding for a capacity-building project, an organizational assessment, and also cohort-based organizational development training and peer-to-peer engagement through a Community of Practice.  

At the current time, LVCF has completed three full funding cycles of the model funding a total of 21 different organizations distributing nearly $370,000. Additionally, in 2019-2020, which was the second year of the program, LVCF partnered with Two Rivers Health and Wellness Foundation to provide the model to four grantees that TRHWF selected.  In the third year of launching the model, during the current 2020-2021 cycle, LVCF funded 9 BIPOC-led organizations, in addition to funding a joint project to assess how best to create a connected capacity building model in the Lehigh Valley. Throughout the last three years, LVCF has gathered data formally and informally in order to evaluate the pilot to understand the impact and discover learnings.  Past grantees, along with their funded projects can be viewed below.  

After reviewing the evaluation data from the pilot period, LVCF plans to launch the 2021-2022 Capacity Building Program making key shifts in the model goals, structure, and process to build on the pilot. View information about the current program - click here.

Previous Grantees and funded projects are listed below: 

2020-2021 Grantees & Project Titles: 

Organization Name 

Project Name 

Afros in Nature  

Afros in Nature Financial Viability Plan 

Black Heritage Association of the Lehigh Valley 

Allentown Digital Inclusion Initiative 

Boys & Girls Club of Bethlehem  

Great Leaders Initiative 

Cohesion Network  

Project Sustainability 

Martin Luther & Coretta Scott King Memorial Project Inc DBA Freedom Memorial 

MLKCSK Infrastructure Build Out Strategic Plan 

Pratyush Sinha Foundation 

Mindful Education System 

Promise Neighborhoods of the Lehigh Valley 

Fund Development Plan 

Resurrected Community Development Corporation 

RCDC Staff Compensation Study 

Humanitarian Social Innovations 

Regional Coordinated Nonprofit Capacity Building: Fact-Finding Phase 

Volunteer Center of the Lehigh Valley 

Regional Coordinated Nonprofit Capacity Building: Fact-Finding Phase 

 

2019-2020 Funded Projects 

Organization Name 

Project Name 

Bethlehem Area Education Foundation 

Data Management Tool 

Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Lehigh Valley 

Creating a Sustainable Business Model 

Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center 

Planned and Individual Giving Fundraising Plan Development and Implementation 

Communities In Schools of the Lehigh Valley 

Communities In Schools Intranet 

Community Bike Works 

SOS2: Smarter Operations and Staffing, Year 2 

Humanitarian Social Innovations 

Sustainable Growth for Maximum Community Impact 

Lehigh Valley Center for Independent Living (LVCIL) 

Development & Marketing of LVCIL Consulting Program 

Third Street Alliance for Women & Children on behalf of the LV Regional Homelessness Advisory Board 

Lehigh Valley Regional Homeless Advisory Board Capacity Building 

Volunteer Center of the Lehigh Valley 

Mining, Measuring & Managing Data to Increase Volunteer Engagement & Traffic 

Young Women's Christian Association d/b/a YWCA Allentown 

YWCA Allentown’s Strategic Plan for Empowerment, Equity, and Social Justice 

 

In 2019-2020, through a partnership with Two Rivers Health and Wellness Foundation, both LVCF and Two Rivers Health and Wellness Foundation funded the following projects: 

Organization Name 

Project Name 

Hispanic Center Lehigh Valley 

HCLV Capacity Building - Manager of Operations 

Safe Harbor Easton 

Organizational Culture and Core Values at Safe Harbor Easton 

 

Two Rivers Health and Wellness Foundation fully funded the following projects: 

Organization Name 

Project Name 

Equi-librium 

On Firm Footing: Ensuring Long Term Success and Viability 

Easton Area Community Center 

EACC Smart Operations - Staff Optimization and Development 

 

2017-2018 Grantees & Project Titles: 

Organization Name 

Project Name 

Bethlehem Area Education Foundation 

Five Year Strategic Plan (2020-2025) 

Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Lehigh Valley 

Minority Recruitment Initiative 

Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center 

Sabbatical Preparedness and Implementation Grant 

Communities In Schools of the Lehigh Valley 

Communities In Schools Intranet 

Community Bike Works 

SOS: Smarter Operations and Staffing at Community Bike Works 

Easton Area Community Center 

EACC -  Smart Operations- Staff Optimization and Development 

Hispanic Center Lehigh Valley 

HCLV Staff Development and Program Assessment to Advance Effective Case Management Services Delivery 

Lehigh Valley Center for Independent Living (LVCIL) 

LVCIL Consulting Program 

Third Street Alliance for Women & Children on behalf of the LV Regional Homelessness Advisory Board 

Lehigh Valley Regional Homeless Advisory Board: Strengthening our Strategic Collaborations 

Young Women's Christian Association d/b/a YWCA Allentown 

Cultural Competency and Racial Justice Training 

 


Capacity Building Community Leadership 

Project Equity Initiative  

In 2020, the full impact of the COVID-19 pandemic was felt in the Lehigh Valley, as well as the social uprisings stemming from inequities that occurred before the pandemic but were more visibly seen and felt during this time and that were sparked by the murder of George Floyd. In response to the impact of the pandemic and social uprisings on the social sector in the Lehigh Valley, LVCF in partnership with United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley and FACES International launched Project Equity, an initiative to bring together 35 social sector stakeholders to hold space to consider how might we create a more equitable, sustainable nonprofit sector together, across difference. This initiative had a deep impact in building key relationships and transformational progress in leaders understanding, awareness, and knowledge of racial equity. 

The Initiative is now in it’s second year and has transitioned to a new core planning team to drive forward the work. To learn more about year 1 of Project Equity and project participants, please visit http://projectequitylv.com/. 

The project was initiated through the Strategic Response Team, a collaborative that began to meet to align and coordinate initial response and recovery efforts in the Greater Lehigh Valley. Project Equity is supported by a grant from the United Philanthropy Forum’s Momentum Fund, as well as donor contributions supporting COVID-19 relief efforts.  

Current Vision: Together, we will forge new paths to personal transformation so that we can be in authentic relationships with each other across the racial divide as we decenter whiteness and center equity in the nonprofit sector in Lehigh Valley. Through personal transformation, we will transform organizations that will transform a system to be racially equitable and sustainable.    

Our approach:  This is an iterative project. As we learn more, our approach progresses. The project began with a focus on developing a framework, and shifted to understanding that ultimately, the vision is about transforming ‘ways of being,’ not about assuming that there exists a framework, checklist, or strategies that could be institutionalized to address the inequities that we are facing in the Lehigh Valley.   

Below outlines a few of our core beliefs:  

  • We believe that transformational equity work is a full-body, full-heart commitment.  
  • We believe in pushing past inclusion to create true belonging.   
  • We believe in building relationships based on authenticity, and to build those relationships authentically, it will take vulnerability and humility.   
  • We believe that accountability must take place for transformational change.   
  • We believe that if this work is to succeed, the heart of the approach must center the needs, wisdom, and voices of communities of color, and de-center whiteness.   
  • We believe that the process of transformational equity is painful, and worthwhile. Growth is always painful, and always worthwhile.   

Values we aim to uphold:   

  • Being grounded in the participating consultants’ expertise  
  • Practicing transparency  
  • Centering on equity  
  • Focusing on learning, personal transformation, inclusivity, and belonging  

Project Equity – Core Planning Team 2021 

  • Judie Dickerson, Cops ‘N Kids of Easton 
  • Yamelisa Taveras, Unidos  
  • Jessica Ortiz, The Ortiz Ark Foundation 
  • Darian Colbert, Cohesion Network 
  • Marc Rittle, New Bethany Ministries 
  • Sarah Barrett, YWCA Allentown 
  • Megan Briggs, Lehigh Valley Community Foundation 
  • Erin Connelly, United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley 

Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank Reinventing Our Communities Program 

About the Program: The Philadelphia Fed’s Reinventing Our Communities (ROC) Cohort Program targets nine communities across the U.S., including Allentown, bringing together experts and stakeholders for a 10-month training program to promote equitable small business recovery from the pandemic.  Cohorts, comprising cross-sector community partners, explore solutions to community-based needs for financing and access to credit for small business owners of color, promote small business ownership as a means of wealth building, and support small businesses to scale to become community employers, thus creating more equitable and sustainable regional economies.  Lehigh Valley Community Foundation serves as the Allentown’s cohort convener in this program.  

The program is delivered through a partnership between The Philadelphia Fed and Race Forward. Cohort participants are equipped with the tools to identify structural barriers faced by small business owners of color and create a plan to address these barriers tailored to Allentown.  Together, cohorts will examine pervasive barriers to equitable small business recovery in their own communities, develop solutions informed by best practices and tested methods, and collaborate on paths forward that directly support small business owners of color in their communities and strengthen the small business sector.   

Allentown Cohort: 

  • Dan Bosket, Community Action Development Corporation of Allentown  
  • Megan Briggs, Lehigh Valley Community Foundation 
  • Megan Colon, Allentown School Uniforms 
  • Chris Hudock, The Rising Tide Community Loan Fund 
  • Danielle Joseph, Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce 
  • Shalanda Riddick, Visit Vans, LLC 
  • Jillian Seitz, Lehigh Valley Planning Commission 
  • Dana Yurgosky, City of Allentown, Community and Economic Development 
  • Todd Watkins, Ph.D., Martindale Center for the Study of Private Enterprise, and Professor of Economics, Lehigh University 
     

Leadership and participation in Collaboratives

Strategic Response Team

The Strategic Response Team (SRT) launched in the wake of COVID19 to provide a rapid, informed, and coordinated approach to assessing community need and quickly allocating dollars to the areas of greatest need. The purpose of this team is to share information and continuously strategize and activate new and effective methods for addressing emerging needs due to the COVID -19 crisis and offer guidance on how to direct funds to address needs with individuals and community.  LVCF’s Director of Community Investments, Megan Briggs, continues to participate in this collaborative group.  

Technical Assistance Working Group of the Strategic Response Team

Soon afterwards, the SRT spun out a Technical Assistance Working Group to ensure area non-profit organizations have the specialized resources, information, and support they need to continue operations and respond to rapidly changing community needs. LVCF’s Director of Community Investments, Megan Briggs, co-chairs this working group with the Volunteer Center of the Lehigh Valley’s CEO Karen Smith. The TA Working Group is a community collaboration consisting of representatives from funding organizations, local government, grassroots community organizations, health networks, community health and nonprofit organizations who bring their varied perspectives to the table to create the most effective impact. 

The Technical Assistance Working Group has initiated projects like the 2021 Lehigh Valley Nonprofit Unconference, distribution of COVID-19 nonprofit supply needs, state of the Lehigh Valley nonprofit survey, and many other workshops. To learn more and/or sign up for the monthly newsletter, please visit this site: https://www.unitedwayglv.org/find-resources/for-non-profits/technical-as...

Lehigh Valley Funders Group

As part of community leadership work, LVCF participates as an active member of the Lehigh Valley Funders Group. Erika Riddle Petrozelli, LVCF’s CEO & President, co-leads the monthly meeting agenda along with Melissa Flynn from the Baker Foundation and Jill Pereira from the United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley.  


Youth & Families | Grantmaking  

INFORMATION REGARDING 2021-2022 GRANT OPPORTUNITIES COMING IN THE FALL OF 2021.  

The Community Foundation manages the funds for several different area-of-interest funds that are focused on supporting Lehigh Valley youth & families. The funds include

In the 2021-2022 grant cycle, the Community Foundation will group these funds together for a competitive grant award process to organizations that are providing services for youth & families. More information will be released in the fall/winter 2021.


Arts, Culture & Creative Economy | Grantmaking  

The staff of the Community Foundation participates in several collaboratives that are important to promoting and providing arts & culture in the region.  

Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts Grants

The Lehigh Valley Community Foundation is the regional partner agency of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. Through the Partners in the Arts program, LVCF works with the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts to distribute grant awards for projects or programs involving artists throughout Region 5, which includes: Carbon, Monroe, Lehigh and Northampton counties. This program enables the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts to reach a wider audience by increasing access to funds for organizations and artists across the state, thereby increasing statewide audience exposure to arts activities. Learn more...

Learn more about the Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts grants are divided into three categories: 

Arts, Cuture & Creative Economy | Community Leadership

Touchstone Theatre’s Festival Unbound Council 

The Lehigh Valley Community Foundation has supported the vision and mission of Festival Unbound since it’s initial launch in 2019. Festival Unbound is a collection of arts and community dialogue around concerns of diversity, sustainability, health, youth leadership, and interconnectedness. Staff at the Community Foundation joined the Festival Unbound Council for the 2021 festival. The Council’s role is to advise on how to make Festival UnBound most useful to and impactful on our community. To learn more about Festival Unbound, please visit http://www.touchstone.org/festival-unbound/.  

Any Given Child Bethlehem 

In 2017, the Community Foundation joined the Any Given Child Bethlehem program, which was developed in collaboration with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts national “Ensuring the Arts for Any Given Child” program. This vision of this collaboration is a learning community where every child experiences, creates, and values the arts. To learn more about this program, please visit https://anygivenchildbethlehem.org/mission-goals/ 


ASK MEGAN | Learn more about the community investments/grants opportunities at LVCF

Megan Briggs, Director of Community Investments, Lehigh Valley Community FoundationMegan Briggs
Director of Community Investments
Lehigh Valley Community Foundation
840. W. Hamilton Street, Suite 310
Allentown, PA 18101
610 351-5353, ext. 11 | megan@lvcfoundation.org