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BB&T acquisition prompts creation of $5M in corporate donor-advised funds

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BB&T’s $1.8 billion acquisition of National Penn, finalized last week, spurred the creation of two corporate donor-advised funds to support community and economic development.

National Penn made the $5 million donation to the Lehigh Valley Community Foundation and The Berks County Community Foundation as part of its merger process, said Bernie Story, CEO of the Lehigh Valley Community Foundation.

By establishing the BB&T Economic Growth Fund with these two nonprofits, the North Carolina-based BB&T is looking to extend its philanthropic reach as it begins to make inroads into eastern Pennsylvania. With each organization receiving $2.5 million, the funds will allow both community foundations to support charitable projects and initiatives that affect economic development efforts in Berks County and the Lehigh Valley.

“A community foundation is a really good choice for the corporate world in setting up economic funds for charitable needs,” Story said. “We haven’t met yet to determine how the funds are going to be used.”

The primary focus would be on economic growth in Lehigh Valley and Berks County, Story said.

“It’s a historic commitment to growing the regional economy by a local business,” said Kevin K. Murphy, president and CEO of Berks County Community Foundation. “Devoting this amount of capital over the course of several years gives us an opportunity to make an immediate impact in Berks County and the Lehigh Valley.”

The funds will last several years, but the exact length has not been determined and depends upon the projects, Murphy said.

This year, both community foundations will issue guidelines regarding how investments will be distributed from the funds. The funds’ advisory committee members are BB&T Group Executive Scott V. Fainor, formerly National Penn CEO; and BB&T advisory board members Thomas A. Beaver, Certified Public Accountant, and Jeffrey P. Feather, both former directors at National Penn.

To read the article on Lehigh Valley Business please click here.