Seven local nonprofit leaders collaborate to collectively impact the Lehigh Valley





The Building Bridges Project will engage all aspects of community in dialogue about needs, perceptions, and social change.

ALLENTOWN – April 18, 2016 – Last year, seven of Allentown’s nonprofit leaders collaborated as fellows through The Rider-Pool Foundation’s Collective Impact Action Learning Fellowship to learn how to work together in order to make a positive collective impact on the city of Allentown. This year, thanks to a grant from Provident Bank Foundation, the fellows are launching the Building Bridges Project, which aims to identify the community’s needs while having a direct impact on social change.

The Building Bridges project will use photography submitted by members of the community as a way to involve them in a photographic dialogue expressing personal and organizational visions of what Allentown is and can be. The project will attempt to engage all segments of the community to become part of the dialogue related to the changes occurring throughout the City of Allentown.

Photographs will be displayed at various locations in the community and online. Conversations centered on the photographs and the visions they express will occur throughout the city to help engage the community and create awareness for the wide variety of perspectives on the strengths, challenges, and aspirations for the community, from those in the community, about the community.

“It’s Allentown’s turn to speak,” says Deb Cummins, CEO of Habitat for Humanity and team member of the Building Bridges Project. “It is our hope that conversations will occur that will open people’s eyes to a wide variety of perspectives on the strengths, challenges and aspirations of members of our community. This is a way to give community residents a chance to share their visions for the city of Allentown.”

Members of the Building Bridges Project include:

  • Susan Bartels, CEO, Big Brothers, Big Sisters of the Lehigh Valley
  • Deb Cummins, CEO, Habitat for Humanity of the Lehigh Valley
  • Susan Jones, 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

To participate, Allentown residents should take a photo of “your Allentown” and submit it online at Up to three photographs per person will be accepted along with descriptions that tell a story about the image(s). Photographs will be selected for display and may appear in one of several locations throughout Allentown, as well as be featured on the gallery page of this site. The deadline for photo submission is June 30, 2016.

Information provided by:
Habitat Lehigh Valley Office:
245 N Graham St, Allentown, PA 18109 |