bill lehr fund
Committing to the best in arts leadership
By all measures, William Lehr, Jr. has an exceptional record of service to his community and country. He has served on dozens of nonprofit boards at the community, state, and national levels.
During his years of service to a wide range of arts, social service, healthcare, and academic institutions, Bill developed a deep understanding of the value and the power of money invested over a long period of time. He also became an ardent believer in the positive effect the arts have on communities of all sizes and in all circumstances.
Bill's commitment to the arts began when he was an executive with Hershey Foods Corporation. Perhaps inspired by his wife Beverlee, a professional ceramicist, Bill joined the board of MetroArts, the Harrisburg, PA local arts agency. He was quickly elected chairman and soon thereafter became involved in Americans for the Arts. He joined the Americans for the Arts Board of Directors in the early 1990s.
Through multiple mergers and rapid growth, Bill has helped guide Americans for the Arts with strategic program planning, financial planning, and long-term sustainability. As the organization broadened its purpose, he stressed the importance of mining as many sources of revenue as possible to ensure Americans for the Arts' long-term health and vitality. With the goal of establishing an endowment that would grow through private contributions, Bill spearheaded the establishment of the Americans for the Arts Foundation in 2007. He was served as chairman of the foundation's board ever since.
"As the only national organization charged with serving the full range of the not for profit arts industry, demands on Americans for the Arts' research, private and public policy work, arts education, and leadership development programs are endless. Even with the generous endowment gift from Ms. Ruth Lilly, we must ensure that we never cease to build support to accomplish our mission. Private contributions from all sources are critical to our success, and a portion of them should be dedicated to our long-term future."
Consistent with their philosophy, Bill and Beverlee have made a heartfelt commitment to the arts communities of the future by establishing the Bill Lehr Fund at the Americans for the Arts Foundation. The fund speaks to their belief in the importance of strong staff leadership and opportunities for ongoing training; all fund proceeds are dedicated to supporting Americans for the Arts' professional development programs.
"Professional development is essential for a field that depends on a steady stream of bright, enthusiastic, visionary and committed leaders," Bill observes. "Yet, when budgets are tight, travel and conferences are among the first expenses to be cut. We hope that our endowment will help fund America's arts leadership for generations to come. Beverlee and I are honored to support such a wonderful institution and essential industry."
Please contact Vice President of Development Katherine Gibney at 202.371.2830, x 2052 with your questions and ideas for how you may create a special means of support.