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$50,000 in Grants from the Barry M. Kessler Fund to Help Support Food & Housing Nonprofits

Allentown, Pa., April 2, 2019—The Lehigh Valley Community Foundation (LVCF) recently announced $50,000 in grants to ten nonprofits in the Lehigh Valley that provide food and housing services to vulnerable populations.  The grants were made from the Barry M. Kessler Fund at the Community Foundation.

“In 2015, Barry Kessler established a designated fund to support several specific organizations of personal interest.  In the following years, Mr. Kessler expressed an interest in also learning about new organizations and particular needs in the Lehigh Valley while remaining involved in the grantmaking process. The Community Foundation had a solution,” said Erika Riddle Petrozelli, director of donor services at the Community Foundation. “LVCF helped Mr. Kessler establish an area of interest fund, but with a twist. This charitable fund included an opportunity for Mr. Kessler to take a deep dive into one of the community’s most pressing needs by participating in LVCF’s application review process.”

“As with all charitable funds, Mr. Kessler first shared his charitable interests and goals.  The Community Foundation team provided guidance and insight to refine and focus the mission of the particular area of interest fund while still reflecting what Mr. Kessler showed passion in supporting” said Megan Briggs, director of community investments.  “Together, Mr. Kessler and the staff focused their attention to the issue of food and housing access, which was made more urgent by the impact of the 2018-19 government shutdown.

Utilizing the Foundation’s network and knowledge of the nonprofits in the region that address food and housing issues, LVCF sourced high quality grant applications from a diverse set of organizations serving various aspects of the issue. The Foundation’s grants team established criteria through which to individually evaluate these applications, followed by a robust committee conversation.

Armed with the technology capabilities needed to solicit, post and evaluate applications efficaciously, Mr. Kessler was engaged in the application review through the use of Foundant Technologies, LVCF’s grant management software.

“Going through the process, Mr. Kessler was able to see first-hand how LVCF applies its due diligence expertise, knowledge of community needs, and understanding of nonprofit capabilities to identity gaps in services and funding,” Briggs explained. “Ultimately the grants committee recommended $50,000 in support of ten organizations best positioned to have positive impact on food and housing access in the Lehigh Valley.”

Receiving funding from the Barry M. Kessler Fund are:

  • Third Street Alliance for Women & Children, Easton
  • Ripple Community Inc., Allentown
  • Safe Harbor Easton, Easton
  • New Bethany Ministries, Bethlehem
  • Lehigh Conference of Churches, Allentown
  • The Children's Home of Easton, Easton
  • Meals on Wheels of the Greater Lehigh Valley, Bethlehem
  • Northeast Ministry, Bethlehem
  • Greater Valley YMCA, Allentown
  • Nurture Nature Center, Easton