For more than a decade the Community Foundation kept an office at 23 South Reading Avenue in Boyertown. Over the years the office was manned part-time by foundation staff members who did work in the Boyertown area.
In 2013 we closed the door on the office for the last time, handing the keys back with gratitude to National Penn Bank for the street-front office they’d donated to us for so many years.
I volunteered to clean out the office. It made sense, since I’d spent a day a week there for a few years and was most familiar with the office’s quirks.
We decided to close the office because, as it turns out, the people we work with in Boyertown are much more likely to invite us to meet with them at their home or their organization, for coffee at the Other Farm Brewing Company, lunch at the Yellow House Hotel or at one of the many other restaurants in the area. Even our grant advisory committee meets at St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, thanks to long-standing committee member Pastor John Pearson’s willingness to share a Sunday School room.
It turns out, we didn’t need an office to have a “presence” in Boyertown.
You see, Boyertown really is “a special kind of place” – a tagline adopted by Building A Better Boyertown years ago. It’s a small town, with small town sensibilities and an ever-increasing awareness of the benefits a town like that provides – walkable streets, small businesses, family-friendly activities, and a chance to get to know your neighbors. Even the local service clubs – Kiwanis, Lions, Rotary and others – are active and busy, taking on projects like the new one-mile walking and exercise trail at the park.
As I sat in the office working my way through old files, traffic on Reading Avenue ebbed and flowed by the large picture window. I discovered yellowed clippings from the Boyertown Times announcing grants, donations and new charitable funds, and was reminded of the other Community Foundation staff members who spent time in that same chair.
Thanks to the generosity of the Boyertown community, the foundation manages more than 20 charitable funds dedicated to the area. Year after year, those funds have provided- and will continue to provide – much needed grants and scholarships for individuals, families, and organizations.
Over the years, for instance, the Boyertown Area Charitable Program has distributed more than $1,000,000 in grants to local nonprofit organizations. Those grants have helped equip fire companies and ambulance services, seeded a fledgling Building A Better Boyertown, and brought improvements to the park, the pool, and a host of other organizations in the area.
We still find ourselves in Boyertown several times a year, meeting with nonprofit and civic leaders, professional advisors, and those who support the community through donations to various causes.
The office may be closed, but the community spirit is open, welcoming our staff members every time we come to town and reminding us of the benefit even a small grant can have in what is truly “a special kind of place.”
Vice President for
Grantmaking and Communication