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ALLENTOWN, Pa. July 18, 2017 — On Thursday, June 29, BB&T announced $1.45 million in grants to several Lehigh Valley organizations from the BB&T Economic Growth Fund at the Lehigh Valley Community Foundation. Roughly a dozen local organizations will benefit from the grants intended to support manufacturing, create job pipelines, reduce blight and stimulate economic growth and development through various initiatives in the region. The City of Easton, in collaboration with Northampton County, Lafayette College, Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation and Greater Easton Development Partnership, was presented with a check at Easton City Hall in the amount of $200,000. The funds will support planning to enhance tourism in Easton, including the Da Vinci Science City Architectural & Exhibits Master Plan and Easton Parking and Hotel Studies.
Jenifer Gilio, Da Vinci Science Center’s Chief Philanthropy Officer, was in attendance at one of eight check presentations across the Lehigh Valley. Also in attendance were Scott Fainor, BB&T Community Banking Group Executive; Bernie Story, President and CEO, Lehigh Valley Community Foundation; and Easton’s Mayor Sal Panto, Jr.
“We are delighted to have partnered with BB&T in assessing the many opportunities for support, and we know this effort will have an impact throughout the entire community,” said Story. “The Lehigh Valley Community Foundation is in a strong position to support efforts like this, and BB&T is to be commended for their commitment to the quality of life in the Lehigh Valley.”
The Da Vinci Science Center announced its plans for a major expansion project in downtown Easton, tentatively called Da Vinci Science City, in late 2016. With the grant from the BB&T Economic Growth Fund, the Center is happy to report they have secured over 70 percent of the feasibility planning period’s projected $1.2 million budget. The generosity of BB&T and the Lehigh Valley Community Foundation has furthered the forward momentum of the fundraising campaign, allowing the center to issue RFPs for the selection of architectural and exhibit design firms to prepare a master plan for the project. Completion of the master plan is expected in late 2017.