R.K.Laros Foundation mourns the loss of longtime Trustee, Rev. Gordon B. Mowrer

R. Keller Laros III shared the news today, 7.19.16 of the passing of Gordon Mowrer, Trustee of the R.K.Laros Foundation from 1986-2012 and Board Emeritus member of the foundation from 2012 until the present. Rev. Mowrer, a past Mayor of Bethlehem, was a true and faithful servant to his community and his family all the days of his life. He will be deeply missed but his extraordinary legacy will long endure. His obituary may be viewed at the Morning Call.


Dr. R.K. Laros Jr. and Gordy Mowrer in 2007 with the R.K. Laros Board of Trustees 

Dr. R.K. Laros Jr. and Gordy Mowrer in 2007 with the R.K. Laros Board of Trustees 

R.K. Laros Trustee Receives the Community Partner Award from the Bethlehem Chamber

Long time R.K. Laros Trustee, Laurie Gostley Hackett, received the Community Partner Award from the Bethlehem Chamber on May 4th, 2016. Laurie was recognized for her consistent and devoted service to Bethlehem, the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber, and the larger community of the Lehigh Valley. Laurie began her service on the R.K. Laros Foundation Board as a Trustee in 1995. The foundation has supported over 100 non-profit organizations and distributed over 250 grants in Bethlehem during Laurie's tenure.

The R.K.Laros Foundation Receives Community Award

The R.K. Laros Foundation received the Community Leadership Award from the Hispanic Center of the Lehigh Valley on April 15th, 2016. The award recognizes exemplary service and outstanding commitment to the Bethlehem Community. R.K.Laros Trustee Diane Donaher accepted the award on behalf of the foundation from St. Luke's President and CEO, Richard Anderson.


Established in 1952 by R.K and Helen Laros, the foundation has supported over 150 organizations, primarily in the Bethlehem area in the past 64 years.

The R.K. Laros Foundation Presents Grant 12.23.15 to the National Museum of Industrial History

Trustee Bob Bilheimer presented a $30,000 grant to NMIH as part of a $50,000 commitment on December 23, 2015.




$50,000 pledge from the foundation funds silk exhibit

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - The National Museum of Industrial History, opening in the summer of 2016, is excited to announce the receipt of $30,000, the first installment of a $50,000 pledge from the R.K. Laros Foundation.  The grant is in support of an exhibit showcasing the rich history of silk production in the Lehigh Valley.

Founded in 1952, the R.K. Laros Foundation, Inc, a non-profit charitable trust, was established by Mr. Russell K. Laros and Mrs. Helen K. Laros. The Foundation was established to support community non-profit organizations serving the arts, education, the environment, health, historical preservation and public and human services.

Robert Bilheimer, a trustee of the R.K. Laros Foundation, presented the check to the National Museum of Industrial History, commenting that,“the story of textiles is so important to the Lehigh Valley, important to the industrial history of the United States, and important to this community.  We felt it was absolutely essential to make that part of this museum.”  He added, “Somehow we forget that history today is really yesterday’s innovation, and the innovation message is an important story that needs to be told here.”

The silk exhibit at the National Museum of Industrial History will showcase Scalamandre and Valenta machinery from the 20th century which were used in silk production in the United States.  The exhibit will also feature original footage, oral histories, advertisements, and photographs from the Laros Silk Mills. Employing thousands of Lehigh Valley residents over four decades, the Laros Silk Mills set standards for silk production around the world.  “We are excited to receive support from the R.K. Laros Foundation.  Their historic ties to the silk industry and their legacy of community giving make them the ideal partner in conveying the story of silk mills in the Lehigh Valley to the museum’s visitors,” says Amy Hollander, President and CEO of the National Museum of Industrial History.

The National Museum of Industrial History is currently installing and conserving artifacts and is on-schedule to open in the summer of 2016.

Attached photo: L. Charles Marcon, chairman of the National Museum of Industrial History, accepts a check from Robert Bilheimer, trustee of the R.K. Laros Foundation.  Also present were NMIH board members (L-R) Ned Rauch-Mannino, Laura Bennett Shelton, Curtis H. Barnette, and Fr. Daniel Gambet.

About the National Museum of Industrial History

A Smithsonian Affiliate, the National Museum of Industrial History is dedicated to preserving America's rich industrial heritage. Restoring a 40,000-square-foot, 100-year-old former Bethlehem Steel facility on the largest private brownfield in America, the Museum will be home to exciting exhibits, engaging programs and amazing history.

Skate Plaza Ribbon Cutting with the R.K. Laros Foundation

On a breezy April Friday, members of the Bethlehem and Northampton County  communities joined with Mayor Donchez, donors and supporters to cut the ribbon on the gathering space at Skate Plaza. The R.K. Laros Foundation has been a long standing supporter of the South Side Greenway and continuing improvements in the Eastern Greenway Neighborhood. Speaking on behalf of the R.K. Laros Foundation, Trustee George Mowrer reaffirmed that commitment. Morning Call April 25 2015




Laros Historian, Jeremy Hachey, Presents the R.K. Laros Story

Laros Historian, Jeremy Hachey, Presents the                                     R.K. Laros Story

The R. K. Laros Foundation has been pleased to work with Jeremy Hachey, Class of 2015 at Moravian College, to tell the R.K. Laros story. Jeremy spent 6 months in research and writing the history of R.K. Laros the man, his family, industry and philanthropy. On March 12, 2015 Jeremy presented the history at The Salvation Army in Bethlehem to an audience of 50. Two in the audience worked for Laros Industries and talked about the great affection they had for R.K. Laros. The Foundation is grateful to Jeremy for continuing his work to tell the story long after his internship was completed. 

R.K. Laros Trustee to Receive the 2015 "Take The Lead" Award from The Girls Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania


Laurie Gostley Hackett, the longest serving trustee for The R.K. Laros Foundation Board will be receiving the Annual "Take The Lead" Award on April 28th, 2015 at Steel Stacks. The entire R.K. Laros Foundation Board congratulates our board member and community leader, Laurie Gostley Hackett.

For more information download the itinerary.


R.K. Laros on WFMZ

Here at the Laros Foundation we have been hard at work compiling data and documenting the history of our beloved founders. 

On August 25th, a portion of our work has been highlighted on local new distributor WFMZ. 

Along with a video the article tells the story of our founders from past to the present where their legacy continues. 

Join us Tuesday November 11th at the Bethlehem Public Library at 6:30 p.m. for "Laros Night", when Jeremy Hachey will be presenting his research and biography.