ASD Foundation Hosts First Recognition Event Honoring Champions of Education

ASD Foundation Hosts First Recognition Event Honoring Champions of Education
Posted on 09/13/2018

September 12, 2018, Allentown, PA – Serving the children of the third-largest urban school district in Pennsylvania, the Allentown School District Foundation (ASDF) announces its first volunteer recognition event. The ASD Foundation Executive Committee identified four area individuals to be honored as Champions of Education as well.

 “Founded in 2009, the Allentown School District Foundation has many supporters who have been critical to our success,” says Kurt D. Zwikl, ASDF President. “We are pleased to be able to have the support of sponsor Capital BlueCross and ASDF Board Member, Dr. John S. Stevens, Jr., and his wife, Anita, who have made this event possible to celebrate our volunteers, donors and those leaders who have been with us in every step of our growth. This is a good way to start the new school year.” The breakfast is being catered by Karen Hunter, WAHS ’73.

*Sponsored by Captial Blue Cross

Plus, the generous support of Dieruff graduate, Dr. John S. Stevens, Jr. and his wife, William Allen High School graduate and ASD retired teacher, Anita Stevens.

WHEN: Friday, September 21, 2018
WHERE: The Barristers Club, 1114 Walnut Street, Allentown, PA 18102
TIME: 7:30 – 9:45 a.m.


LHackLaurie G. Hackett –
ASDF Champion of Education, Corporate
Laurie Gostley Hackett’s involvement in the Lehigh Valley community is well-known. She has served in various management roles in corporate relations for Air Products since 2005. Her knowledge in community relations and philanthropy is extensive and she shares her experience and ideas to make communities better. Laurie holds a bachelor’s degree in communication from the State University of New York at Oswego and a master’s degree in higher education administration from Miami University of Ohio.  She has continued her studies in educational administration at Lehigh University.   Prior to Air Products, she was at Lehigh University as adjunct faculty member in College of Business and founding director of the PA Governor’s School for Global Entrepreneurship. Laurie’s list of community connections is extensive and currently includes trustee of the R.K. Laros Foundation; board member Workforce Board Lehigh Valley; exec committee of the Greater LV Chamber of Commerce; founding member and current chair of the Nonprofit and Business Partners Council of the Chamber; board member Miller Keystone Blood Center; board member IronPigs Charities; and advisory committee of Building 21.  She is a past Athena winner, Girl Scout Take the Leader honoree, and Chamber Volunteer of the Year. Ms. Hackett’s work supporting public education foundations doesn’t stop with Allentown; Air Products sees the value of them in other communities. We are lucky to have her on the ASD Foundation board of directors.

LButzLee A. Butz – ASDF Champion of Education, Entrepreneur 
There are few people who have earned the recognition that Lee A. Butz deserves for the amount time, money, and love he has dedicated for the enrichment and welfare of children in the Lehigh Valley.  Mr. Butz graduated from Allentown High School in 1951 and Lehigh University in 1955.  In 1973, he assumed the role as president of Alvin H. Butz, Inc., the area’s largest construction firm, and in 1995, he became Chairman of Butz Enterprises, Inc., the parent company of Alvin H. Butz,  Inc. Today, the company is recognized as one of the top 400 construction management firms in the nation. Mr. Butz has contributed so much to the Lehigh Valley in areas of business, the arts, education, and civic duty.  Within the Allentown School District, the company has completed many critically-needed construction projects, including Ramos Elementary School.  In 1999, he was key in establishing the William Allen Construction Company (WACC), a volunteer student organization in charge of construction projects to enhance the school’s environment and provide student exposure to business practices.  This group helped plan the restoration of William Allen ’s entrance, auditorium, and its elaborate mantle above the stage.  In 2013, WACC designed a student bus shelter on Turner Street and a digital welcome sign.  Mr. Butz also founded Allentown DRIVE, a baseball program that provides hundreds of Allentown middle school students with coaches, schedules, uniforms, and an exciting season of play, every year, ending with a championship game at Coca-Cola Park.  In his spare time, Mr. Butz puts his passion for photography to work, snapping beautiful shots given as gifts at the High Notes Gala. He is an exceptional donor year after year, providing much-needed encouragement and support for ASDF programs. 

Senator BrowneThe Honorable Senator Pat Browne – ASDF Champion of Education, Government
Senator Pat Browne is Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, the most powerful of the Senate’s standing committees, which reviews all legislation for its fiscal impact and plays a crucial role in developing the state budget.  Known state-wide as the leading legislative advocate for the state’s investment in early care and education programs, he is the founder and Co-Chair of the bi-partisan, bi-cameral Early Childhood Education Caucus.  As a result of his advocacy and leadership, thousands of additional children now have access to early learning programming.  He Co-Chaired the Basic Education Funding Commission and the Special Education Funding Commission whose recommendations have led to new funding formulas to better serve all Pennsylvania students.  Senator Browne sponsored the law which led to the creation of the Pennsylvania “costing out” formula in 2006 which based education funding on the actual cost to educate a student.  The new formula had resulted in 10s of millions of dollars of additional state financial support for ASD.  He also serves as a member of the board of the Public School Employees’ Retirement System and numerous other statewide organizations.  In 2009, Senator Browne crafted the one-of-a-kind, 130-acre  Neighborhood Improvement Zone (NIZ) to help revitalize and expand the tax base of the then financially-struggling city of Allentown. There has already been more than $1 billion of new development investment in the zone resulting in more than $3 million in additional annual school property tax revenues for ASD.  As a direct result of Senator Browne’s leadership over the last 20 years, state support for ASD has risen by 327%, which is 250% above the state average, and he twice secured special allocations to ASD totaling $20 million annually, including $10 million to close the 2018-19 budget gap.  He was the primary sponsor of the Pennsylvania Safety in Scholastic  Sports Act of 2010 which decreased the dangers of concussive incidents suffered by our scholastic athletes.  Most recently, Senator Browne served as the lead sponsor of Pennsylvania School Safety  Act of 2018 which provides $60 million in additional support for school safety initiatives throughout the Commonwealth.  Since first elected in 1994, Senator Browne has proven himself to be a tireless advocate for Pennsylvania’s students. 

DRobersonDebora D. Roberson – ASDF Champion of Education, Volunteer
Since 2009, Debora Roberson has played an especially important role in the Allentown School District Foundation.  As a charter board member and the second president of the ASD Foundation, Ms. Roberson donated much time and energy to help establish numerous programs for the benefit of the students throughout the Allentown School District.  Consistent with the Foundation’s vision, these programs range from visual arts residencies and music initiatives to other programs supporting academic achievement such as National History Day, the ever-popular Science Fair, and Allentown Adventure.  In 2011, Ms. Roberson helped to create HIGH NOTES, the very first Allentown School District Foundation fundraising event, recruiting talent and volunteers to make it a success. In its ninth year, HIGH NOTES has included a mocktail reception, a catered dinner, and a showcase of ASD high-school and middle-school aged performance groups. To this day, HIGH NOTES is the primary fundraising effort supporting the ASD Foundation programs and administration.  While being involved in the ASD Foundation, Ms. Roberson has been an active member of the community directly involving students as she is the parent of one William Allen High School graduate and another in his senior year of high school.  An architect in her professional life, Ms. Roberson and her husband Eric Butz own Roberson Butz Architects.  She is a graduate of Oklahoma State University.  Without Debora Roberson, many of the ASD Foundation’s accomplishments could not have been achieved.  The ASD Foundation and the ASD community could not be more grateful for the passion and energy she has provided to build a solid foundation for the Allentown School District Foundation.   

About the Allentown School District Foundation
Pursuing a vision of offering enriched education for Allentown School District students, the ASD Foundation has a mission to encourage, promote, and support innovative educational experiences for students in the Allentown School District. Since its founding in 2009, the Foundation has raised almost $3 million for supplemental programming in ASD schools. In the 2017-2018 school year, almost 9,000 students participated in ASD Foundation supported educational experiences. 

If you would like to learn more, please contact the foundation at 484-765-4093 or [email protected]. The mailing address is P.O. Box 328, 31 South Penn Street, Allentown, PA 18105, and the website is