United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley Achieves Healthy Aging Goal Five Years Ahead of Schedule


Additional progress made to improve grade-level reading and food access

Allentown, PA, May 23, 2018 United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley is proud to report significant progress to create opportunities to improve the health, safety and education of every person in the community:

  • For the first time in five years, more Lehigh Valley third-graders are reading on grade-level
  • 17,000 more people have access to nutritious, affordable food
  • 7,000 more dependent seniors get their basic needs met at home – goal achieved five years ahead of schedule.

“United Way is making a difference in education, hunger and healthy aging. Since 2014, we’ve raised and invested more than $43 million into the Greater Lehigh Valley, impacting the lives of 120,000 people. Thanks to generous support from partners and donors, our investment plan is working,” reports David Lewis, President, UWGLV.

United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley raises money and invests in proven strategies to address three bold community goals by 2022:

  • Increase the number of third grade students reading on grade level by 50 percent
  • Decrease the number of food insecure residents by 50 percent
  • And increase the number of seniors whose basic care needs are met at home by 50 percent.

Lehigh Valley Senior’s Needs Are Being Met

To measurably move the needle, United Way partners with more than one hundred local nonprofit agencies through program investments and community capacity building. United Way reached its goal of increasing the number of dependent seniors whose basic needs are met at home by 50 percent five years ahead of schedule.

“Research shows that 32,000 local seniors have difficulty meeting their own basic care needs. This includes bathing, cooking and housekeeping,” said Marc Rittle, Vice President, Impact, UWGLV. “By investing in programs that provide meal delivery, grocery shopping, transportation and adult day services, we saw the percentage of dependent seniors who reported living at home and having all of their basic needs met increase from 82 percent in 2014 to 91 percent in 2017.”

The Lehigh Valley Research Consortium and Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion released these findings in the Lehigh Valley Seniors: Healthy at Home 2017 Update.

United Way’s 2018-22 Investment Plan builds on this established progress and sharpens the strategies to achieve the three bold goals.

“We’ll continue to invest in programs to help seniors stay safe and healthy in their homes,” said Rittle. “Forty-thousand Lehigh Valley residents will become seniors by the year 2025. Our goal is to maintain our support for those who are dependent and work with partners to make the Lehigh Valley an Age-Friendly Community.”

On Thursday, May 24, UWGLV will partner with YWCA of Bethlehem and the Allentown Art Museum to host Take a Senior Out from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. with participants in the YWCA Adult Day Services program.

“This is the first in a series of events at local cultural institutions,” remarked Carmen Bell, Director, Healthy Aging, UWGLV. “Social inclusion is a key factor in an Age-Friendly Community. With Take a Senior Out, we can combat social isolation and connect seniors to their community. It gives them an opportunity for fellowship with one another and to experience an enjoyable event without the barriers of fear and transportation.”

In June, United Way will release the 2018-19 Investment Portfolio, which outlines the strategies and program investments that will help more students read on grade level, improve access to nutritious food and ensure more seniors may stay safe and healthy in their homes.

“This is the strongest plan that we’ve ever released,” added Lewis. “The extraordinary support for United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley’s 100th anniversary campaign will allow us to make the largest and most significant community investment in our organization’s history.”

The 2017 Impact Progress Report is available at www.unitedwayglv.org.


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