LVCF Presents Philanthropy Awards for 2024

LVCF Presents Philanthropy Awards for 2024

LVCF Presents Philanthropy Awards to Judith A. Harris, Esq. and The Century Fund

The 2024 Board of Associated (BOA) meeting at the Lehigh Country Club was the perfect occasion for the Community Foundation to present its prestigious philanthropy awards. Linda Sheftel, chair of the BOA executive committee, got the proceedings rolling with a welcome to the crowd of more than 75 members and guests.

LVCF President and CEO Erika Riddle Petrozelli, CPA, CAP® presented the Lifetime Service to Philanthropy Award to Judith A. Harris, Esq. for her exceptional career of service and dedication to philanthropy.

The Community Foundation has collaborated with Judy on numerous occasions to help clients achieve their charitable goals, including our mutual work with the trustees of the Century Fund. “Judy has been instrumental in establishing six endowment funds at LVCF, including the George T. Walker Charitable Fund, our largest endowed fund valued at nearly $10 million,” Erika explained. “Judy’s recognition of the Foundation’s role and her commitment to her clients have significantly impacted philanthropy in the community. The LVCF staff and board express deep appreciation for Judy’s contributions, the importance of her work, and the lasting impact of her dedication.”

Dolores A. Laputka, Esq., representing Norris McLaughlin, LC., which sponsored the meeting, expressed her admiration for her colleague. “I am thrilled to present this award to Judy Harris, my colleague for over 20 years,” she noted. “Judy, born and raised in the Lehigh Valley, returned home after earning her LL.M. in Taxation from Villanova University, her J.D. from Washington College of Law, and her A.B. from Bryn Mawr College, and also spending time in Moscow. Her extensive community focus includes leading the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival as President of the Board of Trustees, involvement with the Allentown Symphony Association, and the Lehigh County Agricultural Society. Judy’s unwavering commitment to philanthropy in the Lehigh Valley has earned her many accolades. Her husband, Jack Mydlo, Chairman of Urology at Temple University, has been a steadfast supporter. Judy’s dedication to philanthropy and community service makes her a most deserving recipient of this award.”

Judy then took to the podium and delivered a heartfelt speech, expressing her gratitude and admiration for the Lehigh Valley Community Foundation and the dedicated individuals who have contributed to its success. She began by thanking Dolores and acknowledging the Foundation’s role in improving lives in the Lehigh Valley, emphasizing the collaborative efforts of professional advisors and business leaders.

Judy shared her admiration for the Century Fund and lauded the trustees, including Joan Miller Moran, David Bausch, Lee Butz, and Don Bernhard (in attendance), and Pastor Bob Stevens and the late trustees Alice Anne Miller, Dick Hummel, Rev. Dr. Grant Harrity, and Jack Leh. She also paid tribute to the late Attorney Michael Egan, Donald Miller’s lawyer, who wrote the Century Fund Trust and served as a mentor to many, including herself. Judy recognized Lisa Curran, the longtime Executive Director of the Fund for her dynamic leadership. She highlighted the contributions of John Zayaitz, CPA, and Dianne Pagano Manges, who played crucial roles in the Century Fund’s operations and its eventual sunset after 36 years. Harris also thanked her law firm, Norris McLaughlin, for its ongoing support of client philanthropy and community involvement. See the video of the award presentation and remarks.

Erika Riddle Petrozelli announced The Century Fund as the recipient of the Vision in Philanthropy Award, highlighting its legacy of supporting the Lehigh Valley. “After 25 years of supporting the Valley, the trustees were thoughtful in its wind-down,” she said. The trustees established endowments for the Allentown Symphony and the Allentown Art Museum at the LVCF, ensuring the continuation of Donald Miller’s legacy. A video was shared, showcasing the tremendous impact of Miller’s generosity through The Century Fund. See the video celebrating Donald Miller and the Century Fund’s charitable giving.

Lisa Curran, Former Executive Director of the Century Fund, reminisced about the fund’s impactful history and the dedicated individuals behind it. “The inaugural meeting in December 1985, hosted by Richard Hummel, set a tone of warmth and camaraderie that lasted for 15 years. Don Miller, a humble community service pillar and his daughter Alice Miller, chaired the board with strength and passion. Over its history, The Century Fund donated over $55 million to more than 200 organizations,” she noted. “Major gifts included $6 million to the Allentown School District, $5 million to the Allentown Symphony, and a $2 million endowment to the Allentown Art Museum.” See Lisa Curran’s remarks.

Through a recorded video, Max Weintraub, President and CEO of the Allentown Art Museum, expressed gratitude for the Century Fund’s transformational gift, which has made the museum free for all forever. This milestone has led to a 60% increase in general attendance and a 120% increase in educational program attendance. Max emphasized the positive community response and the significant impact of the Century Fund’s generosity.

Al Jacobsen, Executive Director of the Allentown Symphony Association, also expressed profound gratitude for the Century Fund’s transformational support. He highlighted the Symphony’s multifaceted nature, including its professional orchestra and ownership of the historic Miller Symphony Hall, along with numerous educational and community programs like El Sistema Lehigh Valley. The Century Fund’s relationship with the Symphony dates back to 1959 when Don Miller and his brother helped purchase the Lyric Theater, now Miller Symphony Hall. Contributions have supported musician wages, education programs, and free concert attendance for individuals under 21. Al emphasized that the Century Fund’s legacy gift ensures perpetual funding, securing the Symphony’s mission and growth for the future. See Al Jacobsen’s Remarks.

Upon accepting the award, Joan Miller Moran, daughter of Donald Miller and former trustee, said, “I didn’t write anything down, but I want to accept this award on behalf of my father, who had the vision to start the Century Fund. He would be very happy to see its success recognized today. I’ve been proud to serve as a trustee and enjoyed working with the committee. I also want to acknowledge my sister, Alice Miller, an original trustee chosen by our father, and Dave Bausch, the only original trustee present today.” View the video featuring Joan’s comments.

Lee Butz, former trustee of The Century Fund, concluded the remarks by fondly recalling the camaraderie and accomplishments of the trustees, highlighting the remarkable contributions of Lisa Curran and Judy Harris in managing and guiding the fund. He emphasized the lasting impact of Don Miller’s legacy, noting how his influence continued to shape the fund’s decisions and contributions, particularly the Century Promise, which is set to transform the lives of students in the Allentown School District. Lee also praised LVCF for its vital role in facilitating their philanthropic efforts, underscoring its growing importance and value to the community. He concluded by expressing deep gratitude for the Foundation’s support. View the video of Lee’s remarks.

See all the photos on LVCFs Flickr page:

Past Recipients

Service to Philanthropy Award
Vision in Philanthropy Award

BOA Spring 2024 Meeting Sponsors Philanthropy Awards