About Us


The Hourglass champions effective growth management in order to make Lancaster County an even better place to live, work and visit. We believe that Lancaster County can have growth and economic prosperity without losing its unique character and enviable quality of life.


People ask, ‘What do you do?’ That question is not easy to answer because we do many things. The Hourglass isn’t like other nonprofit organizations, and that’s a good thing. We aren’t narrowly focused on a single topic or interest; instead we are concerned about the interrelated complexities of growth and change that impact the lives of people throughout Lancaster County. We believe it’s possible to have growth and prosperity without losing our unique character and enviable quality of life.

The Hourglass Foundation was formed in 1997 as a think tank to facilitate effective growth management by providing comprehensive research, objective analysis, and fresh ideas on important legacy issues – the tough issues that others often avoid due to their size and complexity. We are also a community watchdog; monitoring emerging issues, stimulating discussion, and creating high standards for decision-making. Additionally, we try to keep the public informed about emerging issues through forums, white papers, surveys, newspaper articles, e-newsletters, and our website.


  • To raise awareness, create interest, provide information, facilitate discussion, increase public involvement in growth-related legacy issues, and to improve the quality of decision making that affects the future of the county.
  • To support the County’s Comprehensive Growth Management Plan and the growth management initiatives of other organizations.
  • To become the trusted source for growth management information, ideas and insights that will help stakeholders, change makers, influencers, elected officials and voters make more informed and enlightened decisions.
  • To help decision makers be more sensitive to the countywide impact of local decisions on economic development, the environment, infrastructure, land planning and community character.
  • To better enable decision makers to define problems, to articulate goals, to understand the root causes, to explore unforeseen consequences, to evaluate options, and to engage the support of an informed and involved public.
  • To help the people of Lancaster County better understand and more effectively participate in the decisions that affect their lives.