Communities In Schools of Eastern Pennsylvania Launches 40th Anniversary Celebration

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Campaign Co-Chairs (L to R)- Bill Spence, Denise Spence, Kathleen Reilly, J.B. Reilly

For the local affiliate, 2023 will be the year of Building Bright Futures’ 40th Anniversary Campaign.

Allentown, PA (January 31, 2023) – 2023 marks Communities in Schools of Eastern Pennsylvania’s (CISEasternPA) 40th year of providing support to the most at-risk elementary through high school students in Lehigh, Northampton, and Berks Counties. The Building Brighter Futures 40th Anniversary Campaign seeks to sustain and expand its current programs, deepen relationships in the high-need school districts it serves, and cultivate new relationships with additional school districts in need.

The celebration kicked off on Thursday, January 26, at Penn State Lehigh Valley, where over 130 guests of CISEasternPA helped launch the campaign.

“Over the past few years, new challenges for our students have emerged. Our 40th Anniversary is an opportunity to take a fresh look at the needs of our communities, and both deepen and strengthen our commitment to the students who need us most,” stated Tim Mulligan, president and CEO of CISEasternPA. “Our campaign goal is to raise $750,000 this year, and I’m pleased to report the organization has already surpassed the half-million dollar threshold.”

Kathleen & J.B. Reilly (City Center Allentown) and Bill & Denise Spence (PPL) serve as co-chairs of the Building Bright Futures campaign. Ellen Millard-Kern, vice president for community engagement at Lehigh Valley Public Media and a CISEasternPA board member, has taken on the role of the 40th-anniversary committee chair. Kathleen Reilly, Denise Spence, and Kern spoke at the

kick-off event, along with CISEasternPA Board Chair Michelle Schmidt, PhD., and Mulligan.

“CISEasternPA is empowering one child at a time with their ability to come into a school, identify what’s keeping a student from succeeding in school, and do what it takes to meet their needs,” remarked Co-Chair Reilly. “ J.B. and I have watched with pleasure and satisfaction as CIS has grown from mainly a high school-focused program to a full continuum of support for elementary, middle, and high school students across the Lehigh Valley, Reading, and beyond… all with excellent results.”

Many students that CISEasternPA serves face poverty, social isolation, lack of access to medical and health resources, and more— all of these have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Those students need assistance navigating challenging times more than ever before, which sets the Building Bright Futures Campaign at an extraordinarily influential and crucial point.

CISEasterPA has launched the $40 for 40 Campaign as part of the year-long tribute. The community is asked to pledge a one-time or recurring donation. A single $40 donation will help a student with tangible resources like food and school supplies, but more importantly, providing intangible resources like problem-solving skills, communication, self-confidence, and self-motivation. Any gift will help make an impact, but the $40 for 40 Campaign has pre-set donation amounts of $40, $140,

$240, $400, and $4,000. CISEasternPA believes that every student can realize their potential in school and beyond, regardless of race, zip code, or socioeconomic background. For more information, click here.

CISEasternPA’s 40th year will culminate on October 26, 2023, with the Building Bright Futures 40th Anniversary Celebration at Olympus Corporation of America. Find more information on the campaign, donation information, sponsorships, and tickets here.

Find more information on CISEasternPA here.


About Communities in Schools of Eastern Pennsylvania

Started in 1983, Communities In Schools of Eastern Pennsylvania is part of the Communities In Schools national network, which consists of independent 501(c)(3) organizations serving over 1.6 million students in 25 states and the District of Columbia. With caring adults serving over 38,000 students in 40 schools throughout Lehigh, Northampton and Berks counties. The CIS mission is to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life. We ensure students, regardless of race, zip code, or socioeconomic background, have what they need to succeed in school and beyond


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Grace Doulé