Investor Support Helps LVEDC Continue Its Work Throughout COVID-19 Crisis
By Colin McEvoy on March 9, 2021
At this time one year ago, the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC) was unsure whether it would be able to retain the talent and regional economic development initiatives that have helped make the Lehigh Valley a Top 10 growing economy of its size in the U.S. for the last five years.
Like many other businesses, LVEDC faced a significant threat due to economic challenges created by the COVID-19 crisis, particularly because of its impact on regional hotel tax proceeds and the potential loss of investment from the private sector.
“Fortunately, LVEDC is a public-private partnership with balanced funding, and many companies, organizations, and elected officials in the Lehigh Valley understand the importance of investing in regional economic growth and strategies,” said LVEDC President & CEO Don Cunningham.
Despite the many challenges of 2020, LVEDC garnered more than $700,000 in private and public sector investment and sponsorship to keep LVEDC going strong, Cunningham said. While the organization lost some private investors as the pandemic took its toll on companies, Cunningham said more than 125 investors found a way, despite the economic downturn, to continue or increase support.
Additionally, the organization welcomed five new investors: Iota Communications, Lehigh Valley Partnership, Sharp, VfD Technologies, Inc., and Worthington Energy Innovations.
Visit here to see a full list of LVEDC’s investors and to find more information about how to become an investor with the organization. Additional information can be found in the LVEDC Investment Brochure.
Your investment helps keep the regional economy strong and enable LVEDC to pursue such efforts as business attraction and retention, our talent supply initiative, and showcasing the region through Made Possible in Lehigh Valley and other marketing efforts.
“We are forever grateful to our investors for their generous and incredible support during these trying times,” Cunningham said. “The secret to our success is in the partnerships that have been forged in the Lehigh Valley. Now, more than ever, support from our investors is essential.”
Elected officials at all levels allocated emergency aid to LVEDC and other regional organizations. The counties of Lehigh and Northampton, in addition to remaining the largest investors in LVEDC, allocated emergency Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds to LVEDC and other regional organizations in 2020.
This CARES Act funding, along with private sector investment, helped LVEDC continue to market the Lehigh Valley’s economic assets and promote the region as a destination that is attracting new business and talent.
“When LVEDC was first formed, the vision was a regional approach so the Lehigh Valley could compete in the new global economy,” Lehigh County Executive Phillips Armstrong said. “That was the right decision, and our allocation of CARES funding continues that collaborative approach.”
Northampton County Executive Lamont McClure added: “These funds helped LVEDC continue to operate throughout the pandemic, freeing up the organization to provide critical information and assistance to the business community, and work with companies looking to come or grow here.”
LVEDC Executive Vice President and Chief of Staff Jaime Marie Whalen expressed gratitude for the unwavering support of the counties and LVEDC’s private sector partners.
“A crisis reminds you how important it is to have friends and supporters,” she said. “LVEDC is a ‘coalition of the willing’ and we are fortunate that so many partners are so willing to invest in a strong economy for the people of the Lehigh Valley.”
Cunningham noted that when LVEDC was founded in 1995, it was a similar time of economic disruption and uncertainty, at that time due to the closure of Bethlehem Steel and the shuttering of most of the mills, factories, and quarries that had driven the regional economy for a century.
“Leaders from our public and private sectors recognized the need to work together and reshape the regional economy,” Cunningham said. “That regional approach and the commitment of our investors enables LVEDC to go beyond traditional marketing approaches used by most economic development organizations.”
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