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Breiner prepares to step down as foundation’s director

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    Amber Breiner poses for a photo inside the Carbon County Community Foundation’s Lehighton office. Breiner, who has served as the foundation’s director since late 2017, will step down from the position this spring. DANIELLE DERRICKSON/TIMES NEWS

Published January 14. 2020 12:22PM


After two years as a leader in Carbon, the director of the county’s community foundation will step down this spring — and the organization is still accepting applications for her replacement.

Appointed to the position in 2017, Amber Breiner spent the last two years laying the groundwork for the small nonprofit. Under her leadership, the Carbon County Community Foundation has launched a website, spread the word of its mission throughout the county and created a community base around charitable giving in Carbon.

Since its founding in 2015, the foundation has introduced more than 10 funds to the area, including scholarships and an endowment for the arts.

“In the business world, they’d call this a turnkey operation,” Breiner said. “This is set up for someone to come in and run with it.”

A former employee of the Lehigh Gap Nature Center and a Carbon local, Breiner has committed a good portion of her adult life to improving the Lehigh Valley. But she said splitting time among the nonprofit, her three children and her 13-year-old photography business has become an arduous juggling act. Add to that her husband’s forthcoming winery business, which will open sometime in 2020.

Altogether, the ever-fluctuating facets of Breiner’s personal and professional life are what brought her to the decision to step down as executive director of the Carbon County Community Foundation.

“I think it’s time for a change,” she said.

Breiner admitted that she will be jealous of whoever takes her place this spring; though it hasn’t yet reached its $1 million mark, the Carbon County Community Foundation has grown. In 2019 alone, it welcomed five new members: Dr. Grace Emanuel Gilkeson, of Summit Hill; Steve and Colette Kresge, of Lehighton; attorney Joseph Velitsky, of Summit Hill; Dr. Lou and Maxine Vermillion, of Summit Hill; and Marshall Walters, of Lehighton.

And the foundation received a Weinberg Grant, a $50,000 endowment which will support the nonprofit’s operations over two years.

“There’s nowhere to go but up from here, and that part of this organization has really made it very hard to let go,” Breiner said. “I know that someday I’m going to look back and be very proud that I was their first director.”

Breiner said the foundation is currently interviewing for her replacement, and that anyone interested in the position should email a resume, cover letter and three references to as soon as possible.

The foundation is looking for a leader invested not only in the well-being of Carbon’s residents, but also the growth and future of the county as a whole.

“I’m 100% sure they’re going to get somebody even better than me this time around,” Breiner said.

“A lot of the heavy lifting has been done, and I think there’s a lot of room for growth and a lot of potential to make a difference.”


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