Established in 1967 as the Bethlehem Area Foundation, the Foundation was regionalized and re-named in 1992 in order to serve the entire Lehigh Valley. Fortunately, the locals preserved the true spirit of the Community Foundation throughout this transition, and it remains today. The Bethlehem Area Foundation began as part of the City’s 225th anniversary celebration. The community used the funds remaining from that celebration to create a permanent community endowment, the Bethlehem Area Foundation. Schoolchildren, steelworkers, retailers, college professors, homemakers, and business leaders contributed this funding. It was a true community beginning for a community foundation, and that community spirit is at the heart of the Lehigh Valley Community Foundation.
John Heske, Robert Holland, Esq., Frank Marcon, Donald Taylor, Robert Taylor, Jr., Esq., and the Rev. Lyle Thomas served as the first people on the Foundation’s Board of Governors. Rolland Adams, businessman, civic leader, and philanthropist was chairman of The Board . It was Mr. Adams who had envisioned a community endowment as a natural outcome of the 225th anniversary celebration. Mr. Adams added his personal endorsement with a generous gift of one million dollars to the Foundation. Today, the Foundation manages more than 260 charitable funds representing approximately $85 million in assets.
The Lehigh Valley Community Foundation promotes philanthropy in order to improve the quality of life in our region, encourage collaboration among area philanthropists, and serve as a source of information and expertise regarding charitable giving.
The Lehigh Valley Community Foundation will be a major force in the development of philanthropy in our region. The Foundation will promote and encourage collaboration among area philanthropists and will be a source of information and expertise regarding charitable giving. The Foundation will be recognized and respected for its trustworthiness, its permanence, and the quality of its Board of Governors.
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