Allentown, Pa., August 3, 2022—Lehigh Valley Community Foundation (LVCF) has announced the inaugural cohort for its CORE Fellowship Program, a three-year capacity-building process designed to bring Lehigh Valley nonprofit leaders together to center equity in themselves, their relationships, their organizations, and the nonprofit sector.
“The Community Foundation is launching the CORE Fellowship Program after listening to our stakeholders and partners, and through learning from our past initiatives,” explained Megan Briggs, LVCF’s Director of Community Investments. “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 in 2020.”
“We began to recognize that the demand for equity is increasing locally, regionally, and nationally, but yet there was limited funding or capacity building available to advance equity. This program launched because we wanted to use our positioning as a funder and previous experience to support the work that needs to be done to reach equity by providing the infrastructure and resources necessary to both individuals and organizations,” Briggs explained.
The Community Foundation is partnering with consultants to design and deliver the model. These consultants have served on the program design team which has co-created the launch of this program. These consultants will also facilitate year 1 of the program; they include Phyllis Alexander, Alexander Unlimited; Guillermo Lopez, G-pez Consulting; and Carter Gilbert, independent consultant.
The following leaders from their respective organizations have been selected to participate in the 2022-23 fellowship cohort:
Bradbury Sullivan LGBT Community Center
- Christina Graham, Data & Evaluation Manager
- Robin Gow, Cultural & Community-Building Programs Manager
Community Bike Works
- Dolores Singletary, Board President
- Hana Rose Cannon, Program Manager
Lehigh University – Zoellner Arts Center
- Candi Staurinos, Director of Community Engagement & Impact
- Mark Wilson, Executive Director
LINC (Lehigh Valley Interregional Networking & Connecting Consortium)
- Emilie Carlino, Manager, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and Partner Career Services
- Katelyn Mack, President & Chief Operating Officer
New Bethany Ministries
- Chris Cassidy, Director of Development & Planning
- Veronne Demesyeux, Associate Executive Director
Promise Neighborhoods of the Lehigh Valley
- Jeani Garcia, Program Manager Violence Prevention & Reentry
- Julie Thomases, Board of Directors
Ripple Community, Inc.
- Charlene Smalls, Board Member
- Sherri Brokopp Binder, Executive Director
- Brenda “Luna” Fernandez, Executive Director
- Jessica Escobar-Eck
In addition to nonprofit leaders selected to participate in the program, there are six nonprofit stakeholders who were invited to participate in the CORE Fellowship Program. These stakeholders are important partners in shifting the nonprofit sector to becoming more equitable, and have consistently demonstrated a commitment to equity. Stakeholders are represented from the philanthropic, government, or corporate sectors.
The following stakeholders have agreed to participate in the 22-23 fellowship cohort:
- Janine Carambot Santoro, Director of Equity and Inclusion, City of Bethlehem
- Mariska Van Aalst, Public Engagement Officer, Congresswoman Susan Wild’s Office
- Meg Dowd, Corporate Affairs Manager, JustBorn Quality Confections
- Carrie Nedick, Director of Donor Services, Lehigh Valley Community Foundation
- Lissette Santana, Corporate Communications, PPL Foundation
- Marci Martinez-Howey, Associate VP, DEI, United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley
As a staff member of the program design team, Monique Saunders Moreno, Assistant Director of Community Investments explained “We understood that part of the success of this program is people being able to share their personal equity journeys and learnings with one another. Having a diverse group of community leaders who understand the Lehigh Valley nonprofit sector and have a personal and professional investment in making a difference, is beneficial for everyone. Our heartfelt thanks to each of the fellows and stakeholders who have agreed to give their time and energy to this program.”
The CORE Fellowship program offers benefits to both the individuals in the cohort, but also their respective organizations. CORE Fellows will receive leadership development coaching along with guidance from organizational development consultants on the creation of an equity-centered capacity-building project. LVCF has partnered with Partnering 4 Change as the organizational development consultants for the fellowship. They will conduct an in-depth equity and organizational development assessment with time to carry out an equity-centered capacity-building project. Fellows will also benefit from building connections to a network of nonprofit leaders. The CORE Fellowship offers a $25,000 grant to each participating organization. Each organization will receive a $10,000 general operating award during the first year, $15,000 to support an equity-centered capacity-building project during the second year, and coaching support during the third year, contingent upon meeting program requirements.
Megan Briggs explained the anticipated impact of the program. “Leaders and organizations will begin the process of healing from the harm of racism and those 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. It is our goal that organizations will center equity and justice rather than charity and performance, having the resources and capacity to deliver their mission,” she said.