Our program featured Carrie Nedick, who is the Director of Donor Services for the Lehigh Valley Community Foundation. Established in 1967 as the Bethlehem Area Foundation, the Foundation was regionalized and re-named in 1992 in order to serve the entire Lehigh Valley. LVCF is a non-profit Foundation that issues grants to other non-profits.
A community foundation is a collection of many charitable funds that are all under one umbrella. There is a governing Board, and the funds are invested collectively. LVCF has approximately $80 million in assets. Around $7 million is granted to non-profit organizations each year. $6 million of that is donor directed and the rest is directed by LVCF.
Some of the money goes toward capacity building which enables non-profits to solidify and expand their programs. About $200,000 each year is directed to youth and families with an emphasis on early childhood education. The rest is reserved for arts, culture, and the creative economy. In Easton they have helped to fund Family Connections and they are a sponsor of the Freddie awards. City Administrator Luis Campos spoke about how the new parks and recreation fund will help bring City parks up to the level of their suburban counterparts.
Technically, the grants can be used anywhere in the United States, but the clear focus is right here in the Valley. Requests from non-Valley organizations will usually be redirected to more appropriate community foundations. There are more than 700 community foundations across the United States. Together, these community foundations made grants of more than $4 billion and managed more than $49 billion in charitable assets in recent years.