The Rider-Pool Foundation Announces 2020 Awards
The Trustees of The Rider-Pool Foundation held their annual spring and fall meetings during 2020. After careful review and consideration of proactive grant proposals, 11 grants were approved. At the center of the discussion for these grants was a long-term approach to assist the health and well-being of Allentown residents.
While Allentown experiences a once-in-a-generation economic initiative in the downtown area, it is clearly evident that a poor health and well-being status, educational gaps, and housing challenges remain a reality to many individuals and families. The COVID-19 crisis of the year brought this reality into the headlines. As the city moves through the crisis and into recovery, the efforts will expand across multiple factors to offer system level changes for the long-term while assisting needs immediately.
Strategically, The Rider-Pool Foundation 2020 proactive grants serve as catalysts and leverage for groundbreaking work in four categories outlined below and intend to ensure the momentum for Allentown’s residents continues in an upward motion for overall quality of life.
Cradle to Career Education Pipeline
Educational outcomes for every child are improved when we co-create change together. Our region is host to a wide range of groups, organizations and sectors that are committed to student success. This work focuses on community and home-based early childhood learning, quality Pre-K for all children, strong K-12 placement, and opportunities for vocational and higher education attainment.
Project: Remote Teaching for Early Childhood Development Grant: $25,000 to Community Services for Children
Project: S.T.E.M. Learning Opportunities for Low-Income and Underserved Public School Student Populations Grant: $15,000 to National Museum of Industrial History
Project: Expansion of the James Lawson Freedom School Partnership Grant: $25,000 to Resurrected Community Development Corporation
Project: Climate and Culture/Family and Neighborhood Engagement Grant: $25,000 to Building 21 Allentown
Safe, Healthy Housing
In response to growing health concerns that disproportionately affect the most underserved populations, the concept of safe and healthy housing has risen as a high priority in Allentown. Within this focus area, activities will create the conditions necessary for public and private reinvestment in distressed neighborhoods that are critical to a family’s choice and voice in their community.
Project: Exploring Host Home and other Housing Support for Displaced Residents Grant: $25,000 to Ripple Community, Inc.
Project: Expanding Staff Capacity to Address the Housing Insecure Neighborhood Grant: $25,000 to Ripple Community, Inc.
Our approach to community wellness includes support for physical health and emotional well-being. Encompassed within are access to quality health care, opportunities for physical activities, access to nutritious food, and social interaction. In turn, these approaches can lead to reduced risk of illness and disease, improved community resilience, and more individual contributions to community, family and work life.
Project: Pivot of COVID-19 Community Engagement to Other Social Determinants Grant: $50,000 to Promise Neighborhoods of the Lehigh Valley
Project: Client Choice Food Pantry Grant: $50,000 to Allentown Area Ecumenical Food Bank
Project: HealthBeat – Social Determinants of Health Show and Podcast Grant: $10,000 to WDIY
The fluid interactions and overlaps of these initiatives are joined together for individual and collective successes. A belief defined by Purpose Built Communities and Collective Impact is that effective partnerships need an entity to foster the cross-sector communication, alignment, and collaboration required to improve the quality of life in the neighborhoods surrounding the downtown development. That entity – a backbone organization or community quarterback – works to guide vision and strategy, drive revitalization initiatives, establish shared data, measurement and analysis, cultivate community level inclusion and serve as a single point of accountability for partners and funders.
Project: Collective Impact Fellowship – Cohort 7 Grant: $150,000 to Dorothy Rider Pool Health Care Trust
Project: Expanding Community Engagement to Improve Community Well-Being Grant: $41,000 to Valley Health Partners to develop community-based participatory approaches to address issues important to people who live, work, play, and worship in Allentown
*Note photographs are prior to 2020, mandated masks, and social distance safety guidelines.