LVEDC Saw Record Investment, Sponsorships in 2021 Despite COVID-19
By Colin McEvoy on March 22, 2022
Despite the uncertainty created by the COVID-19 crisis, the coalition supporting the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation reaffirmed its support for regional economic growth, and LVEDC saw a record-high level of investment and sponsorships in 2021.
The organization reached just over $756,000 in investment and sponsorships for the year, welcoming new investors and seeing existing investors increase their contributions, which helped LVEDC endure the challenges created by the pandemic and continue its work to market the region’s economic assets and create partnerships that expand opportunities for all Lehigh Valley residents.
“At a time when other regions might be scaling back on such investments, our coalition in the Lehigh Valley came together and reaffirmed its commitment to advancing economic development,” Ed Dougherty, Chair of the LVEDC Board of Directors, said during the organization’s annual meeting virtual program on March 22.
“As a result, we lost no ground, but instead continued to welcome new development projects, create and retain jobs, and pursue important strategic initiatives,” said Dougherty, Senior Vice President & Chief Business Development Officer with Lehigh Valley Health Network. “The Lehigh Valley is fortunate to have so many leaders who understand the importance of prioritizing economic growth.”
LVEDC has more than 140 investors, most of which come from the region’s private sector. The organization welcomed 31 new investors in 2021, and 9 existing investors increased the amount they contribute, according to LVEDC President & CEO Don Cunningham.
“The coalition supporting LVEDC truly came together during the COVID-19 crisis, embodying the spirit of regionalism that has defined our organization since its formation,” Cunningham said. “This support has allowed us to continue to support economic growth and pursue other efforts that go beyond the traditional work of economic development.”
Those efforts include the Made Possible in Lehigh Valley® initiative, LVEDC’s executive video interview series, and the organization’s talent development strategies initiative. The lattermost was recognized last year by the International Economic Development Council as one of the best economic development programs in the nation, and by the Pennsylvania Economic Development Association as the state’s best economic development program.
The organization will be publicly voicing its appreciation for its investors through an advertisement in The Morning Call and via social media posts in the upcoming weeks.
Though most of LVEDC’s investors come from the business community, $155,000 of the investment from 2021 was provided by the counties of Lehigh and Northampton, the organization’s two largest stakeholders whose long-standing contributions are foundational for the LVEDC coalition.
“It is thanks to LVEDC that we are able to look towards the future, and prioritize the success of our economies for future generations,” Lehigh County Executive Phillips Armstrong said in the newly-released LVEDC Annual Report. “I commend LVEDC for their efforts as we work together to overcome the effects of the pandemic, and work alongside our economic partners for a greater and better Lehigh Valley.”
Northampton County Executive Lamont McClure added: “While Northampton County has been focused on helping small businesses survive and thrive during the pandemic, our partnership with LVEDC has continued the mission of bringing manufacturing to the Lehigh Valley and Northampton County. This is an under-told success story that needs more attention.”
The mission of LVEDC is to market the economic assets of the Lehigh Valley and to create partnerships to support the recruitment, growth and retention of employers and the creation of jobs for people of all skill and education levels.
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