Executive Director’s Message
The rebirth of downtown Allentown over the past few years has been an exciting time of positive change for the Queen City and the entire Lehigh Valley. As new attractions and offices were built, and new restaurants and storefronts opened for business, the economic engine of the Neighborhood Improvement Zone (NIZ) has generated tremendous energy. We applaud this needed economic development. Further, we believe that there is an opportunity to link community development in the neighborhoods around the NIZ in order to simultaneously support the revitalization of downtown and enable the residents and families living immediately outside the Neighborhood Improvement Zone (NIZ) to also benefit from this redevelopment.
The Rider-Pool Foundation Trustees have once again utilized a proactive approach in seeking funding opportunities that were consistent with our philanthropic mission to improve the quality of life in the community, to build on the community’s strengths and add to its vitality, and to increase the capacity of the community to serve the needs of all its citizens. Education, Human Services, Culture and Art, and Community Development remained the major themes for funding consideration.
We sharpened our nonprofit organization’s focus to concentrate on three major areas: • Generational Success in Education • Community Development Linked to the Economic Development in the Allentown Neighborhood Improvement Zone • Measurement for Results
In 2015, we were proud to provide vital developmental funds to the new Building 21 High School, working closely with the Allentown School District to help the inaugural class of students through various initiatives and programs. We encourage these students who are building an academic culture and studious approach to learning that will serve as a model for future high school students in Allentown.
We also continued our support of the Promise Neighborhoods of the Lehigh Valley with its strong presence in Allentown, now expanding its reach into Easton’s West Ward and Bethlehem’s Southside neighborhoods, uniting residents and leaders from various sectors to ensure the success of children from birth through career.
When The Bach Choir of Bethlehem announced that it would bring its popular Bach at Noon concert series to downtown Allentown last summer, we readily promoted these free performances by the world-famous choir, its orchestra, and several soloists for the community.
The Trustees awarded 50 grants totaling $415,000. We’ve highlighted a few of our grant projects on the following pages.
We continue to be excited for downtown Allentown’s ongoing renaissance knowing that it will see its full potential when all residents in the Lehigh Valley are positioned to succeed in life.
Edward F. Meehan