The Greater Lehigh Valley COVID-19 Community Response Fund was established due to the demands of the pandemic. The initiative was funded by multiple Lehigh Valley donors who contributed in order to support nonprofit and community needs due to COVID-19. A Strategic Response Team (SRT) was created to ensure a rapid, informed, and coordinated approach to supporting the greater Lehigh Valley community. The distribution of the funds was divided into three rounds, with the first two rounds totaling over $430,000 and distributed throughout the Lehigh Valley.
The SRT started in response to COVID-19 but quickly evolved as inequities became more apparent. It was obvious there was a need to understand that combatting systemic racism and advancing racial equity is key to supporting the health and prosperity of Easton and beyond. June 2020, a cross-sector representation of leaders of color in Bethlehem, Allentown, and Easton was contacted by the SRT to assist with developing a strategy for the distribution of funds for round 3. At that time, it was obvious that Round 3 would be used to fund further racial equity work. Through brainstorming sessions, the African American Coalition of Easton was established.
The African American Coalition of Easton (AACE) serves as a collaborative clearinghouse providing access to support, promotion, and advocacy of initiatives that address racial equity in the African American community of Easton.