United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley, The Rider-Pool Foundation and Penn State Lehigh Valley Convene Community Leaders to Embrace Collective Impact


International experts share best practices to solve community issues

Center Valley, PA, January 18, 2018 – United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley (UWGLV) and The Rider-Pool Foundation, with support from Penn State Lehigh Valley, convened more than 100 community members to learn about the best practices to address complex societal problems, including poverty and addiction. The presentation and facilitated discussion focused on collective impact and featured international experts from Tamarack Institute and Ontario Trillium Foundation.

“Collective impact has sparked a worldwide movement and conversation around how we work together better, smarter and faster around complex social issues,” explained Marci Ronald-Lesko, Executive Vice President, UWGLV.

Collective impact intentionally mobilizes existing organizations to work together in new ways, according to Sylvia Cheuy, Consulting Director of Collective Impact and Community Engagement for the internationally recognized Tamarack Institute.

“Change on these complex issues is really tough, but it’s absolutely possible,” Cheuy added. “You have to be able to color outside the lines.”

This two-hour session was part of a larger three-day event aimed at deepening the understanding of current trends in community problem solving. Dozens of leaders from across the Lehigh Valley’s education, health care, business and non-profit sectors attended.

“We are here to see how we can achieve positive outcomes for our community together,” said Dr. Tina Q. Richardson, Chancellor of Penn State Lehigh Valley. “Together, we can do more than any one individual organization. I’m glad we’re taking this journey together.”

Featured speakers applauded the progress already taking place in the Lehigh Valley. “I’m amazed at the engagement from the community. The authentic community engagement in rallying around the issues is one of the key components to successful collective impact,” remarked Jen Roynon, Director of Partnerships and Knowledge Mobilization at Ontario Trillium Foundation, one of Canada’s largest granting foundations.

“There is a commitment to being innovative and building leadership relationships in this community that is very intentional and that I actually haven’t seen in another community,” said Cheuy.

“Our success in interconnected,” remarked Ronald-Lesko. “We intend to continue the conversation and continue to find ways to innovate as we each strive to ensure that our community is the best place that it can be.”

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. 

About The Rider-Pool Foundation

The Rider-Pool Foundation’s intent is to serve as a means to improve the quality of life in the community, to build on the community’s strengths and add to its vitality, and to increase the capacity of the community to serve the needs of all its citizens. The Trustees of The Foundation have carried forth Dorothy Rider Pool’s wishes and are particularly sensitive to her interests in education, disadvantaged children and the development of future leadership in our society. For more information, visit rider.pooltrust.org. 

About Penn State Lehigh Valley

Penn State Lehigh Valley provides a world-class education in a small campus setting that integrates innovative teaching, research and community outreach. With its convenient location in Center Valley, traditional students and adult learners can choose from many options including 9 bachelor’s programs, which can be completed at the campus, as well as access to 160 academic programs offered by Penn State University. In addition, students and community members who have a scalable business idea are invited to participate in professional development offered by Lehigh Valley LaunchBox, a business accelerator for early stage entrepreneurs. The campus’ diverse Continuing Education and Outreach programs offer opportunities for professional development, business training and youth programming. For more information, visit lehighvalley.psu.edu. 

About Tamarack Institute

The Tamarack Institute is a Canadian charity with a bold vision: to build a connected force for change; to end poverty; and, to build a sense of community in Canada and beyond. For more information, visit www.tamarackcommunity.ca. 

About Ontario Trillium Foundation

The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) is an agency of the Government of Ontario, and one of Canada’s largest granting foundations. With a budget of over $136 million, OTF awards grants to some 1,000 projects every year to build healthy and vibrant Ontario communities. For more information, visit www.otf.ca.

Information provided to TVL by:
Laura McHugh    Director, 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