United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley Establishes Fund for Racial Justice and Equity

en flag
es flag
Click flags above for Spanish or English page translation. Click Play below to listen to this article. Haga clic en las banderas de arriba para traducir la página en español o inglés Haga clic en Reproducir a continuación para escuchar este artículo.


Fund aims to rapidly invest in community-led racial justice work.


Allentown, PA, June 22, 2020With support from PPL Foundation, United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley (UWGLV) has established the Fund for Racial Justice and Equity to rapidly direct financial support to anti-racism initiatives in Lehigh, Northampton and Carbon counties. 

“The Fund for Racial Justice and Equity proposes to invest in community-led solutions that generate reconciliation, cultural competence, humility and courageous conversations,” said Marci Lesko, Executive Vice President, UWGLV. “At United Way, we cannot serve our communities without directly confronting racial injustice within them. Though all of our work is rooted in addressing inequity, we must do more to explicitly combat systemic racism.”

“We are proud to stand with United Way to support efforts aimed at confronting discrimination, advancing social justice and building a more equitable future,” said Vince Sorgi, President and CEO of PPL Corporation. “Like United Way, we recognize that more must be done to create a fair and just world, and we’re committed to promoting meaningful and lasting change.”

Through this fund, United Way will expand on its many years of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion work with additional financial support to:

  • Increase investments in community-led racial justice work at the grassroots level.
  • Rapidly direct funds to organizations and individuals who are actively working toward social justice.
  • Provide anti-racism training and funding for organizations to develop and embody just values, policies and practices.
  • Support educational initiatives that promote the correct history and stories of people of color.
  • Advocate for concrete policy and systems changes that promote equity and justice.
  • Facilitate critical community conversations and forums.


A coalition of Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) will lead decision-making over the allocation of funds and priorities for the work ahead.

“What United Way is doing by bringing the community to the table in meaningful and intentional ways can be groundbreaking,” said Tyrone Russell, CEO of FACES International. “To be effective, we need folks in positions of power and influence to relinquish the need for total control in exchange for real sustainable change. Listening is a revolutionary act, and uplifting the voices, implementing suggestions and learning to lead by following the expertise of our community ensures that we truly hit the mark of our goals to serve one another and advance the critical economic, social, and cultural vibrancy of our region.”

This effort will align with and build upon existing collaborations with multiple community partners including Lehigh Valley Community Foundation.

“We are pleased to work in partnership to address racial justice and equity in our community,” said Erika Riddle Petrozelli, Vice President for Philanthropy at the Lehigh Valley Community Foundation. “This pivotal moment provides an opportunity for our organizations to more closely align our equity-centered priorities, focus the impact of the COVID-19 Response Fund, and direct community investments to create a powerful shift in momentum for real change.”

“We endeavor to work with a sense of urgency and commitment to moving resources into the community as quickly as possible, but also recognize that changing hearts, minds and systems takes time and requires thoughtful collective impact,” added Lesko.


To take action, donate or learn more, visit www.unitedwayglv.org.


Mission of United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley

The mission of United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley is to provide the leadership, convene the partnerships, and develop the resources and solutions that improve our community. We remain committed to these goals and sincerely appreciate the continued support of partners, program providers and donors throughout the Lehigh Valley. www.UnitedWayGLV.org


Information provided to TVL by:
Laura McHugh
Associate Vice President, Communications and Media Relations
United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley
Celebrating 100 years of service to the Lehigh Valley.
1110 American Parkway NE  Suite F-120  Allentown, PA 18109