Steinman Foundation co-chairs

Peggy Steinman and Pamela Thye, co-chairs of the new Steinman Foundation.

Uniting to be a stronger force for good in the community, two Steinman family foundations are now one.

Tuesday, the James Hale Steinman Foundation and the John Frederick Steinman Foundation, operating separately for 62 years, became simply the Steinman Foundation.

The new charitable organization, with combined assets of more than $85 million, will be one of the largest private foundations in the area, certainly the largest in Lancaster County.

The mission of the foundations has always been to improve the quality of life for people who live here.

The new board sees the union as a way to both consolidate their efforts and focus more keenly on the needs of the community.

"I am excited by the prospect of combining the foundations established by my father and my uncle more than 60 years ago," said Beverly R. Steinman, known to most people as "Peggy."

Steinman is the chairwoman of Steinman Communications, which publishes this newspaper.

She will co-chair the new foundation along with her cousin, Pamela Thye, who is John Frederick's granddaughter. (For a peek inside the Steinman family and the work of the foundations over the years, see this week's Sunday News).

"We're placing this organization on a path to ensure that it can continue to help improve the quality of life in Lancaster for at least another 60 years," Steinman said.

Thye (pronounced Tia) actually came up with the idea of merging the two foundations in the name of efficiency of operations and purpose, during an organizational meeting in December.

"I'm delighted the John Frederick Steinman and the James Hale Steinman foundations have amalgamated to become a single family foundation," Thye said.

The consolidation will help align the efforts to support local projects, she added. "It will show a single purpose of commitment to the community."

The two Steinman brothers used their own personal resources to start separate foundations in 1951, pledging to distribute the net income from them for "religious, educational, charitable, scientific and literary purposes."

Over the years, the family businesses have increased the size of the charitable trusts, which have given away $79 million to schools, health care organizations, the arts, history and cultural associations and a wide range of organizations dedicated to helping the community of Lancaster County.

The foundations have given $9 million to local colleges, have funded the United Way of Lancaster programs, Lancaster General Health, YMCA and YWCA, Lancasterhistory.org and the Spanish American Civic Association (SACA), among many others.

They have helped young people go to college and have ensured that children with disabilities could get treatment. They have preserved farmland and helped build houses for the poor. They have provided community playgrounds and books for local libraries.

"My father grew up here and was actively engaged in the growth of Lancaster," Steinman said. "This foundation is the charitable arm of the Steinman businesses. It's a reflection of his love for Lancaster."

The new Steinman Foundation board will include members from each of the original foundations: Vice Chairman Robert Krasne, Hale Krasne, Caroline Hill, Dale Prince and G. Anne Orban. Shane Zimmerman is president.

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Susan Baldrige is an investigative reporter for Lancaster Newspapers. She can be reached at sbaldrige@lnpnews.com or (717) 481-6135. You can also follow @sbaldrige on Twitter.