A letter from Ernest Perry, Executive Director

Eighteen months ago, we announced our Transformation Agenda—a bold blueprint for a Partnership that achieves greater alignment between our aspirations for a more vibrant Lehigh Valley, place-based investments in programs and services (i.e. Promise Neighborhoods), and a shared commitment to improving outcomes for children and families living in Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton. I am overwhelmed by how much we have accomplished, together, since our announcement. Each of you can take tremendous pride in the successes we have achieved in pursuit of our Transformation Goals:

• Build a Best-In-Class Organization
• Elevate the Voices of our Neighborhoods
• Work in a way that is Scalable and Sustainable
• Innovate from our Strengths and Grow our Impact, One Neighborhood at a Time

At the end of this letter, you will find a few of the highlights from our Transformation Year. Share them with your family, friends, and colleagues whenever you talk about Promise Neighborhoods.

By now, most of you have learned that I am leaving Promise Neighborhoods very soon. I have been fortunate, in my time with you, to have experienced the power of partnerships in the Lehigh Valley. Promise Neighborhoods, like few other partnerships, has a unique opportunity to create generational change across the region. Every day, our Partners make amazing contributions to bettering neighborhoods in Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton, and strengthening the regional community of the Lehigh Valley. Promise Neighborhoods are the places where each of you have expressed your desires for community, anchored by great schools in neighborhoods of choice—where you want to Live, want your children to Learn, and want your organizations to Lead.

As my time in the Lehigh Valley winds down, I leave knowing Promise Neighborhoods has achieved remarkable success, and is well-positioned for the future. It has been my honor and calling to have led you during this phase of your journey. Thank you for your support and friendship.


Ernest Perry, PMP
Executive Director
Promise Neighborhoods of the Lehigh Valley


Transformation Year Highlights

2012 – 2013 was a period of remarkable achievement and unprecedented growth for Promise Neighborhoods. Some of our accomplishments during Ernest Perry’s tenure.


  • Launched Promise Neighborhoods of the Lehigh Valley as a nonprofit subsidiary of the United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley.
  • Secured largest foundation gift in our history from The Century Fund.
  • Secured largest corporate gift in our history from Air Products.
  • Established partnership with St. Luke’s University Hospital Network to expand access to primary and preventative dental services in Allentown Promise Neighborhood.
  • Established partnership with Allentown Art Museum to increase Arts Exposure and Education in Allentown Promise Neighborhood.
  • Hosted regional forum at Lehigh University on the role of community collaboration in Promise Neighborhoods.


  • Achieved new benchmark for largest foundation gift with contribution from The Rider Pool Foundation.
  • Launched the region’s first virtual scorecard and Promise Neighborhoods brand campaign at 
  • Established partnership with The Rider Pool Foundation to develop Common Measures for generational impact of investment in education and neighborhood development in Allentown Promise Neighborhood.
  • Created “Little School” home visitation partnership with Community Services for Children to improve access to early assessment, education, and service referral for children and families in Allentown Promise Neighborhood.
  • With support from The Century Fund, commissioned noted economist, Kamran Afshar, PhD, to conduct a landmark study of the costs and design for a high quality pre-school program guarantee in Allentown Promise Neighborhood.
  • Oversaw efforts to increase capacity of Early Learning Network to serve children and families in Allentown Promise Neighborhood, raising enrollment by 21%.
  • Matched largest corporate gift in our history with contribution from Crayola to plan a Promise Neighborhood in Easton’s West Ward.
  • Realized best fundraising year in our 5 year history, with growth in revenue from corporate, foundation, and individual contributions.
  • Reduced reliance United Way of Greater Lehigh Valley, as it became a minority investor in Promise Neighborhoods.

Source: Promise Neighborhoods of the Lehigh Valley

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