The Rider-Pool Foundation

Executive Director’s Message

In a look back at 2018, it is clear that the qualities so frequently attributed to Leonard Parker Pool and Dorothy Rider Pool – innovative, supportive, community-minded, passionate, proactive – are those still at work in The Foundation they established more than 60 years ago. In 2018, those principles guided our work across education, community development, leadership training, culture, and arts.

At the forefront of the year are seven specific proactive grants. While The Rider-Pool Foundation continued to provide grant awards in response to requests, proactive grants now account for 80% of fund commitments made by The Foundation Trustees. We expect that trajectory to continue. In these examples, the grants are true investments in initiatives that will have deep, long-term outcomes across our community.

In education, we see great opportunity for young people to find success early in programs such as a summer work experience for Building 21 students, and for Kolbe Academy as this new school opens its door to assist and educate young people struggling with addiction. After four years of operation, securing statistical results of the Building 21 model through a focused study appeared as central to supporting next steps in the program.

We applaud the innovative decision of two local boards of directors of Meals on Wheels for recognizing the value in joining efforts into one regional operation, now Greater Lehigh Valley. With that move comes a period of significant transition. The proactive grant will allow a faster, more strategic settling that is helpful for the team, but ultimately, means stronger service expansion for clients who rely on the organization.

As we moved more deeply into the social determinants of health, we saw an important step in proactively supporting the Ripple Community of Allentown, which will provide housing as well as solutions to challenges, including social isolation, employment, budgeting stability, and access to health care. We are also committed to Promise Neighborhoods of the Lehigh Valley as they work daily with the residents of neighborhoods in Allentown.

In a final act of tribute to his wife, Dorothy, The Foundation supported a renaming of the Pool Wildlife Sanctuary to The Dorothy Rider Pool Wildlife Sanctuary and forever marks the natural space of special importance to Leonard Parker Pool.

Also in 2018, The Foundation supported three important initiatives: The Key Informant Report; The Collective Impact Fellowship; and Rapid Prototyping. These, outlined in the coming pages, are integrated succinctly with efforts of The Dorothy Rider Pool Health Care Trust toward a unified understanding of inclusive community health and wellness.

We are pleased to share outcomes of 2018 and to continue to uphold the guiding principles of the Pool legacy.

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Edward F. Meehan, MPH