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LVCF Lötter Fellow Reflections Paper Examines Spark Grants and Ongoing Needs in the Lehigh Valley


Click to Download the Reflections Paper PDFAllentown, Pa., August 1, 2018—The Lehigh Valley Community Foundation (LVCF) has released the findings of its Lötter Fellow Reflections Paper that examines the Foundation’s 50th anniversary Spark grants and identifies ongoing needs among nonprofits in the Lehigh Valley.  Authored by LVCF Lötter Fellow Christopher Borick, Ph.D., the paper reflects on the six program areas to which the Community Foundation directed its Spark grantmaking during the anniversary year: mental and behavioral health, cultural enrichment, food and housing access, environment and sustainability, human trafficking, and veterans affairs.

Borick, who directs the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion, began working with his students at the College in fall of 2017 to examine the six areas through a three-part process. “First, the report provides contextual perspective regarding the six issue categories in which the challenges were examined in terms of national, state and local perspectives through both quantitative and qualitative measures,” Borick noted. “The report also looked at the Spark grants and how the resources allocated are being used to address the underlying problems identified in each issue area. More importantly, the report turns to the most pressing needs that remain in the wake of the Spark sponsored efforts.”

“Moving forward, there is no shortage of needs in the Lehigh Valley that require substantive and immediate attention,” Borick said.  “The paper calls attention to a number of the most prominent needs and puts forth potential paths for the allocation of resources. It is critical that the community continue to support the existing organizations and programs that have been engaged in ongoing efforts to improve life in the Valley.”

The Reflections Paper contains “Next Steps” recommendations for each of the six focus areas. “The needs expressed, by no means, should be considered exhaustive as there are many salient needs that remain unstated in the report,” Borick emphasized.

The Paper expands on the next steps that includes the following recommendations:

Mental and Behavioral Health

  • Increase Support for Juvenile Mental Health Care
  • Build on Mental Illness Destigmatizing Efforts
  • Build Treatment Capacity for Mental Health and Drug Addiction

Cultural Enrichment

  • Increase Access to the Arts
  • Support Educational Programs in the Arts
  • Find Balance Between the For-profit and Nonprofit Arts Sectors

Food and Housing Access

  • Continue Support for Existing Food Security Efforts
  • Enhance Efforts to Bring Relief to Those Living in Food Deserts
  • Develop Permanent Supportive Housing

Environment and Sustainability

  • Increase Alternative Transportation
  • Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation
  • Protect Water Resources

Human Trafficking

  • Build Capacity to House and Support Survivors
  • Expand Awareness
  • Target Demand for Human Trafficking

Veterans Affairs

  • Improve Housing, Food Security, and Medical Care
  • Locate Homeless Veterans in the Lehigh Valley
  • Support and Expand Programs for Female Veterans

“We are thankful to Dr. Borick and the work of the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion,” said Bernie Story, president and CEO of the Community Foundation. “The Reflections Paper not only captured the spirit behind our 50th anniversary and the positive impact of our Spark grants, but its next steps recommendations now informs our grantmaking through our new Igniting Change Fund.”

“We are also thankful to The Lötter Family Fund at the Community Foundation, which at the recommendation of Luther J. Hottle, provided generous funding for the Lötter Fellowship,” Story continued.  “We are hopeful that this paper further increases awareness of these important issues as the Community Foundation continues to connect people who care to causes that matter.”

The Reflections Paper can be accessed and downloaded on the LVCF website:

About Christopher Borick, Ph.D.

A professor of political science, Christopher Borick is the director of the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion. His research and teaching interests are primarily in the areas of public policy and public opinion. He is a nationally recognized public opinion researcher who has conducted over 300 large-scale public opinion surveys during the past fifteen years. The results of these surveys have appeared in numerous periodicals including Time Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Los Angeles Times and Washington Post.

About the Lehigh Valley Community Foundation

For five decades, the Lehigh Valley Community Foundation has helped donors with their charitable contributions with a simple, powerful, and highly personalized approach. LVCF is a philanthropic hub for the Lehigh Valley—who knows and navigates the landscape of the Lehigh Valley’s community needs to connect people who care to causes that matter.

With a diverse and respected Board of Governors, the Community Foundation is a tax-exempt 501(c)3 organization located in Allentown, Pennsylvania.  The Foundation is cause-neutral and supports all areas of community needs in the Lehigh Valley and beyond in compliance with the National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations. Learn more at: