ALLENTOWN, PA – October 3, 2014 – The Rider-Pool Foundation, with support from The Air Products Foundation, has launched an intensive, nine-month fellowship program to train and equip non-profit leaders to meet the needs of a rapidly developing downtown Allentown.

The “Collective Impact Action Learning Fellowship” has been designed in recognition of the need for a new system of non-profit leadership to effectively address and measurably improve complex quality of life challenges within neighborhoods surrounding the downtown Neighborhood Improvement Zone (NIZ).

Bringing together leaders representing a diverse range of community-focused issue areas, the fellowship is intended to increase effectiveness by working together, provide tools for meaningful collaboration, and create win-win strategies driven by a comprehensive approach to community development.

“The Rider-Pool Foundation has been a strong and early supporter of the downtown revitalization,” said Ed Meehan, Executive Director of The Rider-Pool Foundation. “We recognize that its long-term success will largely depend upon improved health, safety and quality of life within the adjacent neighborhoods. We believe this fellowship can be a pivotal element in advancing community development and are proud and excited to welcome the first class of fellows.”

Fellows will receive approximately 180 hours of training from October 2014 through June 2015 from a faculty of national experts. Topics will include in-depth knowledge and application of collective impact strategies; effective project design and evaluation; and leadership skills for broad-based collaboration.

At the conclusion of the program, fellows will have an opportunity to submit a proposal to the Rider-Pool Foundation that applies this training in support of a collective impact project to address identified community needs.

The following leaders have been selected to participate in this inaugural class:

• Susan Bartels, CEO, Big Brothers, Big Sisters of the Lehigh Valley

• Debrah Cummins, Executive Director, Habitat for Humanity of the Lehigh Valley

• Susan Jones, RN, Administrator, Lehigh Valley Health Network

• Julia Kocis, Director, Regional Intelligence and Investigation Center

• David Mickenberg, President and CEO, Allentown Art Museum

• Yamil Sanchez Rivera, Executive Director, Promise Neighborhoods of the Lehigh Valley

• Pamela Russo, Executive Director, Catholic Charities

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.