Executive Director’s Message
Sixty years ago, Leonard Parker Pool and Dorothy Rider Pool joined their deeply held belief in service to others and to civic philanthropy by establishing The Rider-Pool Foundation. The Foundation’s focused support in education, human services, culture/art, and community development closely mirrored Mrs. Pool, a woman who was foremost a teacher, a musician, and a strong proponent of reacting to the needs of the community around her.
In the diamond anniversary year of The Foundation, we have thought frequently of Dorothy Rider Pool, her devotion to civic betterment, and her legacy. Looking through the stories of impact from grants made in 2017, I believe you will still clearly see Mrs. Pool’s legacy at work for the Lehigh Valley six decades later.
Program highlights discussed herein showcase programs and services carefully selected and approved for funding by The Rider-Pool Foundation Trustees. Common themes of these awards include support for programs that reach children from low-income families, after-school activities that inspire arts and reinforce learning, programs that teach usable, lifelong skills, and cohesive systems of service delivery that address the total needs of disadvantaged youth and families.
These highlights are about systemic change, focusing on success that can only be measured over a long-term period. That is where The Rider-Pool Foundation has arrived in 2017-2018. We remain committed to the Pools’ four focus areas and committed to finding avenues for the greatest impact in the region right now.
In the last several years, we announced our concentrated areas of generational success in education, community development linked to economic development in the Allentown Neighborhood Improvement Zone, and measurable results. We have also openly discussed our responsibilities as grant makers to evolve and react to the changing needs of the community.
Our major funding to the Collective Impact Fellowship program, now moving into its fifth year, reflects that evolution. The potential yield of this program remains both immeasurable and limitless. We are finding recognition that a forward-thinking process such as Collective Impact training can ultimately prompt widespread, root-level solutions to challenges in our region.
It remains helpful, then, to look back after 60 years and know we have stayed the course charted for The Rider-Pool Foundation. We also look ahead and believe our future path remains in line with a legacy of innovative, determined service to our community and its residents.
Edward F. Meehan