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About the CORE Fellowship Program

Equity-Centered Capacity Building

About the CORE Fellowship Program

The CORE Fellowship Program is a two-year capacity building process designed to bring Lehigh Valley nonprofit leaders together to center equity in themselves, their relationships, their organizations, and the sector. During this process, all selected fellows are co-creators in the process, content and outcomes of the program.

The Community Foundation is launching the CORE Fellowship Program after learning and listening to our stakeholders and partners, and through our past initiatives. The CORE Fellowship Program combines our knowledge and experience gained through the past four years of LVCF’s Nonprofit Effectiveness program, as well as Project Equity, which was launched in partnership with the United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley and Faces International. The CORE Fellowship will combine the most important elements of both programs into one initiative, while scaling impact. LVCF named this fellowship program the CORE Fellowship Program to signify that this work will focus on addressing the core of our own selves, the core of our organizations, and the core of our systems.

Our Approach

As a funder in the Lehigh Valley, we recognize that the demand for equity is increasing locally, regionally, nationally. Due to our positioning and experience, our approach is to support the work that needs to be done to reach equity by providing the infrastructure and resources necessary to both individuals and organizations.  We recognize that individuals and organizations are in many different places in their work on equity, and the CORE Fellowship Program is designed to meet people where they are at in their own equity journey, as long as there is a demonstration of commitment to being on an equity journey.

Goal: Utilizing an equity-centered capacity building approach, LVCF will support individuals and organizations to be equitable in how they operate and how they act.  

Partners in Designing the CORE Fellowship Program

The Community Foundation is partnering with consultants to design and deliver the model. These consultants contribute in the program design and decision-making as well as being in the facilitation role for the program. The individuals who are collaborating with LVCF are the following:

Phyllis Alexander

Phyllis Alexander (she, her, hers) has been a champion for social justice for several decades, and civil rights professional for over twenty years working for both corporate America and city government. Phyllis is a experienced coalition builder and trainer and credits her skills to her 29-year affiliation with the National Coalition Building Institute, an international social justice/ social change organization. Phyllis facilitates a variety of conversations ranging from courageous conversations about race, to strategic planning sessions for boards.

Guillermo Lopez

Guillermo Lopez (he, him, his) has been honing his skills as a leader and facilitator for over 20 years. He has extensive experience working within communities and organizations to build trust, create collaboration opportunities and strengthen relationships across differences. As the Latino constituency director for the National Coalition Building Institute, he was responsible for the development of Latino/a leaders within NCBI and consults with community organizations, school districts, and major corporations on a national level. In recent years, he has trained and consulted with over 20 universities and 27 communities in 14 different states and 2 different continents. Guillermo is a long-time resident of Bethlehem, PA, and a former Bethlehem Steel Worker.  

Carter Gilbert

Carter Gilbert (he, him, his) is a leadership educator and trainer with 10+ years of experience working with organizations to ensure an inclusive and equitable experience for those in and beyond their communities. Carter is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in Higher Education and Student Affairs at the Ohio State University, where his education and scholarship revolves around the teaching and learning of socially just leadership practices. As a consultant, Carter has been privileged to work with organizations from several different sectors to forward social justice, anti-racism, and trans inclusion in the workplace and community. In the future, Carter hopes to continue to meld his passion for organizational change and socially just leadership and is excited to see where this journey takes him.

Partnering for Change Logo

LVCF is also collaborating with Partnering for Change on the program. Partnering for Change will work with each organization on supporting their development of an equity-centered capacity building project.

Please see the full list and bios of Partnering for Change consultants – click here.


The CORE Fellowship values the process by which we do the work as much as the outcomes of the work itself. Below are some of our key tenants in how we do the work.

  1. We are focusing on the process, and how important the process is, in addition to the ultimate outcome of the work.
  2. We acknowledge that we are creating a container for a racial equity change process to occur in the fellow’s self, interpersonal relationships, organizations, and systems. This is not a static program, rather constant change is part of the process.
  3. Equity is as much or more about how the work is done as it is about the content of the work, therefore we will share power in the design and implementation. The content of this work will be co-created with all who are involved, including facilitators and fellows.
  4. We will bring diverse leadership together in a way that does not cause more harm. Deep equity work requires a surfacing or re-surfacing of pain and joy, however we will work in racial affinity groups to provide appropriate spaces for preparation, debrief, processing, and learning.
  5. In our process, there is an underlying assumption that everyone has been harmed by race and racism, although in very different ways. We will explore ways in which individuals and organizations may have benefited from racism as well as how they are harmed by race and racism.

Anticipated Transformation

  1. Each fellow will develop the will, skill, bravery, wisdom, and resources to serve as a change agent for long-term equitable, sustainable change within their individual lives and their organizations. LVCF acknowledges Camilla Greene, a Lehigh Valley community leader and national consultant, as the inspiration for the use of the above language, although Camilla says this phrasing a little differently.
  2. Organizations will experience racially equitable change.
  3. An inclusive, diverse social network of changemakers will emerge.
  4. Individuals, organizations, and networks will harness their collective power to make equitable change in the nonprofit sector.


  1. Leaders and organizations will begin the process of healing from the harm of racism.
  2. Leaders and organizations that have been historically and are currently being oppressed based on race will be celebrated and recognized and have an equitable share in the power and control of resources in the Lehigh Valley nonprofit sector.
  3. Organizations will center equity and justice rather than charity and performance, having the resources and capacity to deliver their mission.

Glossary of Terms

CORE Fellowship Glossary – Many of the terms used in the program description require definition, therefore we created a glossary that we consider a work-in-progress as a resource for applicants.

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