You are here

LVCF to Host Human Trafficking Program and Announce $50,000 in Spark Grants

Allentown, Pa., October 6, 2017— Shea Rhodes, Esq., Director of The Villanova Law Institute to Address Commercial Sexual Exploitation will visit the Lehigh Valley for a talk, “Hidden Crisis: Human Trafficking in our Community,” on Wednesday, October 11, 5:00-7:00 p.m., at the Third Street Alliance in Easton, Pa. The program is presented by The Lehigh Valley Community Foundation (LVCF) in partnership with United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley Women United. Rhodes will be joined by Cat Rojas, a survivor of human trafficking and a leader in the community, who will discuss her experience and perspectives. The media is invited to attend this event which is by invitation and not open to the public.

The program is the fifth in the Lehigh Valley Community Foundation’s 50th Anniversary Spark Grant celebration. After the keynote presentation, the Community Foundation will award a total of $50,000 in grants to the four organizations selected as finalists, who are addressing the human trafficking issues in Lehigh and Northampton Counties. 

Bernie Story, president and CEO of the Lehigh Valley Community Foundation, will present the grant awards.  Story will be joined by Marilee Falco, president of WOMEN UNITED who will introduce the speakers.  Michael Wilson, director of communication at LVCF will present the results of the video voting awareness campaign and share the videos produced by the Spark Grant finalists. The four finalists are:

  • Crime Victims Council of the Lehigh Valley – 2018 Lehigh Valley Human Trafficking Conference
  • KidsPeace - Enhanced Clinical Trauma and Life Skills Program
  • Valley Against Sex Trafficking - VAST Survivor Community Center
  • Truth for Women, Inc. - Truth Home Program

See the videos from the five finalists

About Shea Rhodes, Esq.

Shea M. Rhodes, Esq. has dedicated her career to combating violence against women, protecting the rights of those who are oppressed or exploited, and championing human rights. She is the statewide legal expert on Pennsylvania laws related to sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation. As the Co-Founder and Director of the Institute to Address Commercial Sexual Exploitation (CSE Institute) at Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law, Ms. Rhodes works with and on behalf of victims and survivors of commercial sexual exploitation and human trafficking. For a full biography, visit:

About Women United

Women United fights for education and stability for women and children in the Lehigh Valley. Women United donors invest their time and talent in our community’s critical issues.  We believe in the collective power of women and empowering each other to accomplish more together. Through membership gifts and an annual fundraiser, funds are invested in programs through The Literacy Center, ProJeCt of Easton, Da Vinci Science Center and Central Elementary and Lincoln Elementary schools.

Women United is part of a global network of more than 70,000 women in 165 communities across six countries, all dedicated to improving lives and creating stronger communities. 2017 not only marks a name rebrand from Women’s Leadership Council to Women United it also marks their 15th anniversary. To learn more, visit:

About the Lehigh Valley Community Foundation

For nearly five decades, the Lehigh Valley Community Foundation has helped donors with their charitable contributions with a simple, powerful, and highly personalized approach. LVCF is a philanthropic hub for the Lehigh Valley—who know and navigate the landscape of the Lehigh Valley’s community needs to connect people who care to causes that matter.

With a diverse and respected Board of Governors, the Community Foundation is a tax-exempt 501(c)3 organization located in Allentown, Pennsylvania.  The Foundation is cause-neutral and supports all areas of community needs in in the Lehigh Valley and beyond in compliance with the National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations. To learn more, visit:

The Spark Series | Human Trafficking is the fifth of six programs being held in 2017 to coincide with the Lehigh Valley Community Foundation's 50th Anniversary year of special grantmaking. Support the cause with a gift to the Community Foundation for human trafficking initiatives.