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Inez Donley's philanthropy helped countless KidsPeace children, families

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Inez Donley

Some people make such an impact on their communities that their work will live on long after they are gone. Such is the case with Inez Donley, who died Sunday at the age of 97, after dedicating nearly 70 years to volunteer work in the Lehigh Valley.


Inez and her husband, Edward Donley, were major supporters of KidsPeace, donating more than $1.47 million to our organization to help children and teenagers with behavioral and mental health challenges. Their names grace buildings on our campuses, a testament to their continued support of our work. Their historic gift of $1 million was used to create the Donley Therapeutic Education Center on our Orchard Hills Campus in Orefield, Pa., a place where children learn, play and heal.


For years, the Donleys supported the KidsPeace Children’s Fund and KidsPeace Auxiliary. Inez Donley’s family has encouraged people to donate to KidsPeace in her name. 


Inez, who served on the KidsPeace Board of Directors for 15 years, and also suggested other people who would be positive additions to the board, remained an honorary member until her death. Mary Jane Willis, chair of the Board of Directors, says the KidsPeace community has lost a special champion.


“Inez Donley dedicated her life to supporting programs to benefit children and education,” Willis says. “Her steadfast commitment to KidsPeace has given countless children and their families the help they needed to begin down a path to healing.”


Edward Donley, former CEO of Air Products, met his wife in 1943 when she began working as his secretary when the company was still located in Tennessee. They later followed the business to the Lehigh Valley, where they raised three children, and Inez became well known for her volunteer efforts in the Allentown area. Many of the major institutions in the Lehigh Valley were recipients of the Donleys’ goodwill – Lehigh Carbon Community College, Lehigh Valley Health Network, Cedar Crest College, the Allentown Library.


After Edward Donley retired from Air Products in 1986, he and Inez established the Donley Foundation, which issued scholarships and grants to educational programs and libraries. In 2009, KidsPeace created the Donley Society to honor our strongest annual financial supporters.


William R. Isemann, president and CEO of KidsPeace, expresses gratitude for the years of service and support from Inez Donley.


“The KidsPeace community offers our sincere condolences to the Donley family as they mourn the loss of this phenomenal woman,” Isemann says. “Her philanthropy and dedication to the children and families we serve has made an indelible impact. Her heartfelt commitment is an inspiration to the entire Lehigh Valley community.”    

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