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Community Foundation Grants Aimed at Tackling the Opioid Epidemic in the Lehigh Valley

Allentown, Pa., May 7, 2021— Lehigh Valley Community Foundation recently issued $30,000 grants from the Substance Use Disorder Fund to organizations providing substance use disorder prevention, treatment, and recovery services. The grants will support programs at two organizations that were also funded in 2020:

  • Recovery Revolution, Inc. - 'On the Road' to Revolution project provides transportation with a CRS to treatment
  • Humanitarian Social Innovations (as fiscal sponsor) - Bridge Beyond Addiction project provides rent assistance for those entering sober living centers

The grants were made possible through an area-of-interest fund established by Barry Kessler who along with the Community Foundation in 2020 embarked on an effort to better understand the opioid epidemic in the Lehigh Valley.  The Foundation engaged county governments and nonprofits addressing the issue, with the goal of identifying funding gaps where private philanthropy can make an impact. 

In February 2020, Lehigh Valley Community Foundation invited fourteen organizations to apply for multi-year grants to address specific areas in the substance use disorder field. The Foundation sought to support areas that are not typically funded by federal or commonwealth sources but that are in need of financial support. Grants were issued to three nonprofit organizations that were providing substance use disorder prevention, treatment, and/or recovery services. Two of those organizations were funded a second time as part of the initiative.

"The Community Foundation’s work with Barry Kessler has been a great example of the melding of donor interests and Foundation work,” explained LVCF’s Erika Riddle Petrozelli.  “We have received feedback from Mr. Kessler that he greatly appreciates the connection to the Community Foundation and value we provide.”

“Addiction is defined as a chronic, relapsing disorder characterized by compulsive drug seeking, continued use despite harmful consequences, and long-lasting changes in the brain,” noted Barry Kessler. “I believe it is a road to human suffering on a scale only an addict can know. It could destroy the very fabric of our society and I want to help in a targeted way to address the problem. LVCF has helped me find a way to focus on this critical health issue.”

For more information on the Substance Use Disorder Fund, click here.