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LVCF Announces Grants to Build Capacity of Lehigh Valley Nonprofits

Allentown, Pa., March 1, 2021—Lehigh Valley Community Foundation recently announced the recipients of its 2020-2021 Nonprofit Effectiveness grants.  Nine Lehigh Valley nonprofits will participate in the Foundation’s program designed to build organizational capacity.

The Foundation launched the Nonprofit Effectiveness Program as a pilot in 2018 to provide targeted support to assist in strengthening nonprofit effectiveness in a variety of ways, partnering with nonprofits to build their internal infrastructure so that they may enhance their impact. The model included not only grant funding for a capacity-building project, but also offered grantees a Community of Practice, a space for cohort-based organizational development sessions and peer-to-peer engagement. 

To date, two full funding cycles have been completed. In the past two cycles of this program, the Community Foundation has distributed $240,000 in grants to support this initiative, along with additional investments in bringing in expert consultants to provide cohort-based professional facilitation. LVCF also has partnered with Two Rivers Health and Wellness Foundation in delivering this model to selected Two Rivers Health and Wellness Foundation grantees both in the 2019-2020 cycle and in the 2020-2021 cycle.

In 2021, LVCF is funding a new cohort of organizations that are led by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) and that serve Lehigh Valley’s Black and Brown communities. “The Foundation is supporting building the capacity of these organizations due to historical lack of funding to BIPOC-led organizations and the demonstrated impact of these organizations,” said Megan Briggs, director of community investments. “Targeted funding for organizational capacity-building is necessary to ensure the long-term sustainability of these important organizations. We are so pleased to be partnering with this truly powerful group of nonprofits this year.”

The Lehigh Valley Community Foundation initiated this grant opportunity in recognition of the valuable role that BIPOC-led organizations have in providing culturally centered approaches in delivery of services and programs to the Lehigh Valley community. Each of the following organizations received a $14,000 grant for a project and will be participating in a 2021 Community of Practice, that will be specific to the desires and needs of the newly funded cohort:

  • Afros in Nature - Afros in Nature Financial Viability Plan
  • Black Heritage Association of the Lehigh Valley - Allentown Digital Inclusion Initiative
  • Boys & Girls Club of Bethlehem - Great Leaders Initiative
  • Casa Guadalupe Center - Casa Communications/Technology Update
  • Cohesion Network – Project Sustainability
  • Martin Luther & Coretta Scott King Memorial Project Inc. - Infrastructure Build Out Strategic Plan
  • Pratyush Sinha Foundation ­­- Mindful Education System
  • Promise Neighborhoods of the Lehigh Valley - ­ Fund Development Plan
  • Resurrected Community Development Corporation - RCDC Staff Compensation Study

In addition to the nine newly funded grantees for 2021, the Foundation has renewed grants for two of the organizations that were funded the previous year. Both Humanitarian Social Innovations and the Volunteer Center of the Lehigh Valley have been funded at $10,000 each this year to implement a joint project, the Regional Coordinated Nonprofit Capacity Building: Fact-Finding Phase.

Megan Briggs noted that when the Lehigh Valley Community Foundation launched the Nonprofit Effectiveness Pilot, the Foundation’s goal was to answer the question, would there be value in creating a centralized, coordinated approach to deploying capacity-building services to the non-profit sector? “Through several interviews and data collection points throughout the last two years, there was a resounding agreement that a centralized approach would be valued,” she explained. “Understanding that both the Volunteer Center of the Lehigh Valley and Humanitarian Social Innovations could be key partners in offering a centralized, coordinated approach, LVCF provided an initial grant to both organizations in the 2019-2020 cycle and have renewed them in 2020-2021 to begin laying the groundwork for a centralized, coordinated approach to capacity building in the Lehigh Valley.”

For more information on the Community Foundation’s grantmaking, visit: https://www.lehighvalleyfoundation.org/grants/community-investments-grants.

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