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Vision in Philanthropy Award

Honoring Commitment to Philanthropy

LVCF Vision in Philanthropy Award

The prestigious Vision in Philanthropy Award given to those who have chosen to establish a fund at the Community Foundation as a method of supporting charitable organizations, and in so doing, have demonstrated a deep and meaningful commitment to philanthropy in the Lehigh Valley.  

Recent Vision in Philanthropy Award Recipients

The Century Fund | 2024

LVCF President and CEO Erika Riddle Petrozelli announced The Century Fund as the recipient of the Vision in Philanthropy Award at the spring 2023 Board of Associates meeting. “After 25 years of supporting the Valley, the Trustees were thoughtful in its wind-down,” she said. The trustees established endowments for the Allentown Symphony and the Allentown Art Museum at the LVCF, ensuring the continuation of Donald Miller’s legacy. A video was shared, showcasing the tremendous impact of Donald Miller’s generosity through The Century Fund. See the video celebrating Donald Miller and the Century Fund’s charitable giving.

Lisa Curran, Former Executive Director of the Century Fund, reminisced about the fund’s impactful history and the dedicated individuals behind it. “The inaugural meeting in December 1985, hosted by Richard Hummel, set a tone of warmth and camaraderie that lasted for 15 years. Don Miller, a humble community service pillar, and his daughter Alice Miller chaired the board with strength and passion. Over its history, The Century Fund donated over $55 million to more than 200 organizations, she noted. Major gifts included $6 million to the Allentown School District, $5 million to the Allentown Symphony, and a $2 million endowment to the Allentown Art Museum.

Through a recorded video, Max Weintraub, President and CEO of the Allentown Art Museum, expressed gratitude for the Century Fund’s transformational gift, which has made the museum free for all forever. This milestone has led to a 60% increase in general attendance and a 120% increase in educational program attendance. Max emphasized the positive community response and the significant impact of the Century Fund’s generosity.

Al Jacobsen, Executive Director of the Allentown Symphony Association, also expressed profound gratitude for the Century Fund’s transformational support. He highlighted the Symphony’s multifaceted nature, including its professional orchestra and ownership of the historic Miller Symphony Hall, along with numerous educational and community programs like El Sistema Lehigh Valley. The Century Fund’s relationship with the Symphony dates back to 1959 when Don Miller and his brother helped purchase the Lyric Theater, now Miller Symphony Hall. Contributions have supported musician wages, education programs, and free concert attendance for individuals under 21. Al emphasized that the Century Fund’s legacy gift ensures perpetual funding, securing the Symphony’s mission and growth for the future.

Upon accepting the award, Joan Miller Moran, daughter of Donald Miller and former trustee, said, “I didn’t write anything down, but I want to accept this award on behalf of my father, who had the vision to start the Century Fund. He would be very happy to see its success recognized today. I’ve been proud to serve as a trustee and enjoyed working with the committee. I also want to acknowledge my sister, Alice Miller, an original trustee chosen by our father, and Dave Bausch, the only original trustee present today.”

Lee Butz, former trustee of The Century Fund, concluded the remarks by fondly recalling the camaraderie and accomplishments of the trustees, highlighting the remarkable contributions of Lisa Curran and Judy Harris in managing and guiding the fund. He emphasized the lasting impact of Don Miller’s legacy, noting how his influence continued to shape the fund’s decisions and contributions, particularly the Century Promise, which is set to transform the lives of students in the Allentown School District. Lee also praised LVCF for its vital role in facilitating their philanthropic efforts, underscoring its growing importance and value to the community. He concluded by expressing deep gratitude for the Foundation’s support.

Bernard J. Story | 2021

Bernie Story Headshot

In the Fall of 2021, the Lehigh Valley Community Foundation honored Bernard J. Story, who served as President and CEO from 2012 to 2021, with the prestigious Vision in Philanthropy Award during the 2021 Fall Board of Associates meeting. Erika Riddle Petrozelli, LVCF President and CEO was joined by Sandra L. Bodnyk, Chair of the LVCF Board of Governors, and Award Sponsor David Osborn, Financial Advisor, Morgan Stanley to present the Vision in Philanthropy Award to Story (photo above.

While presenting the award, Riddle Petrozelli noted, “Bernie Story’s distinguished tenure as President and CEO of the Lehigh Valley Community Foundation from 2012 to 2021 has been marked by his wisdom, insight, and leadership, during key times of growth, transition, and community need. Bernie, for all you’ve done in service to the Community Foundation to improve the lives of those in the Lehigh Valley, on behalf of the Staff and Board of Governors, I present to you—the Vision in Philanthropy Award.” See the full story and photos

Barry M. Kessler | 2020

Barry M. Kessler

During the Fall of 2020, the Community Foundation honored Barry M. Kessler with the Vision in Philanthropy Award 2020 during its virtual Board of Associates meeting. Kessler is the Co-founder and President of Kessler Chemical, Inc. In 2015, he was referred to the Community Foundation by his financial adviser, who noticed that he was growing increasingly interested in doing more with his charitable giving. His first designated fund with the Foundation was earmarked to go to the seven charities that he was personally involved with as a volunteer. 

“We honor Barry Kessler with the Vision in Philanthropy Award in recognition of an individual who has truly made a difference in the community by establishing several charitable funds at the Community Foundation that are providing important support in addressing substance use disorder, hunger, and housing,” said Bernie Story, President and CEO. “Notably, Barry has partnered with the Community Foundation staff to create a new model for grantmaking from area of interest funds. This model allows the donor to sit alongside us and other subject matter experts to make grant decisions in support of a cause that is very important to the donor.” See the full story and video of award

Other past winners of the award include the following:

2018 Luther J. Hottle, Jr. (50th Anniversary)
2016 Ruth & Charles Marcon
2014 Linda Sheftel
2012 Carol Henn
2011 Michael Caruso
2010 Bob* & Ilene Wood / Louise Moore Pine (posthumously)
2008 Rolland Adams (posthumously) / Adams Family
2007 John & Ruby Updegrove / J.B. & Kathleen Reilly
2006 Lehigh Valley Helping Hand Fund
2005 Luther J. Hottle, Jr. / New Bethany Ministries
2004 Eleanor & Ben Boylston / William C. Rybak (posthumously)
2003 Carole Brown / Father Dan Gambet
2002 Debby Haight / Ferd Thun