The United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley has received its third $1 million challenge donation in a row, the second year the challenge has been funded entirely by City Center Development Corp., the company behind much of the new construction in downtown Allentown.
David Lewis, president of the UWGLV, said the organization is lucky to have the company step up and make the challenge donation.
“This is really unheard of for us to have this three years in a row. Some have done it companywide, but not on this scale,” he said.
The first year a $1 million challenge donation was made for the campaign was two years ago when a group of companies, led by PPL Corp. of Allentown, combined funds to create the pot of money.
The next year City Center stepped up as the lone contributor to the fund.
“We thought this was once and done. We’re really excited to have this for a third time,” Lewis said.
This year’s matching challenge will double the donation of any new or increased leadership grant, as compared to any new or increased donation of any size.
Leadership grants are grants of $1,000 or more, which equates to about a $20 per week donation.
“This is an area where we really thought we could grow,” Lewis said.
Lewis said a matching donation is a bigger benefit than just a straight donation because it encourages other people to give more as well.
“People love to be able to double their gift,” he said.
While he said the chapter was able to receive enough new and increased donations in the past two years to get the full donation, Lewis said it was a challenge and it took the organization until fairly late in last year’s campaign to meet that target.
With this year’s bar being raised just a little bit higher – asking for larger donations – he expects it will be a greater challenge this year, but hopes it will inspire greater giving to the 2019 campaign.
The 2019 campaign officially kicked off with the Day of Caring on June 20, but Lewis said the bulk of the organization’s fundraising efforts will begin after Labor Day.
The 2018 campaign raised nearly $16.7 million.
The United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley raises money and invests in programs that impact the lives of 75,000 people each year and create opportunities to improve health, education and safety.