Pharo Family Fund

Family foundations usually represent a significant commitment of assets and energies. The Lehigh Valley Community Foundation can provide a permanent home for family foundations when family members no longer wish to be occupied with the costs or administration of their foundations. That service became important to the Pharo family when the brothers who established the foundation decided that the time had come to relinquish their administrative responsibilities and simply enjoy grantmaking.

“My brother John had passed on,” recalled Donald Pharo (now deceased), “my brother Richard was not in the area, and my brother Bob was not in good health. It simply made sense to convert the Pharo family foundation into a permanent fund at the Community Foundation so that the family name could live on and our charitable intentions could be met long after we were all gone.”

Family, church, and community; hard work and a love for the land they farmed—for decades and generations, those entities were at the center of life for the Pharo family. In the mid-twentieth century, Donald’s parents, J. Donald Pharo and his wife Margaret, began to make charitable gifts that reflected their core commitments to family, church, and community. The Pharos’ sons embodied and extended their parents’ belief in service to others and giving and sharing their good fortune. In 1973, the Pharo brothers decided that a charitable family foundation would be a useful vehicle to plan and direct the family’s philanthropy.

The corpus of the family foundation was provided by the proceeds of the sale of 40 acres of Pharo-owned land to Hanover Township in 1974 for the Township’s park and municipal building. Over the course of a quarter-century, grants from the Pharo Foundation assisted worthy individuals, groups, and organizations, with particular emphasis on grants that would have a significant impact, enabling special programs, and capital projects to go forward.

Grants recommended from the Pharo Family Fund at the Community Foundation now support churches, colleges, libraries, and civic organizations. “We’re especially interested in music, education, community betterment, and the work of the church,” said Donald. “Having a fund at the Community Foundation allows us to focus on grants and good works instead of requirements and regulations. This gives us the advantages of a family foundation with none of the disadvantages. The ease of working with the Community Foundation and the knowledge that the family’s philanthropy will go on forever is a terrific combination. I highly recommend it.”