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Get to know PNLV Board Member Donald Bernhard

Bernhard Don Formal 300 dpi1. How long have you been a member of the PNLV board of directors and why did you join?

I have only been a board member since December 2014 but have been very familiar with the idea of a Promise Neighborhood ever since United Way introduced the concept and the success of the Harlem Children’s Zone to the Lehigh Valley community. I have spent 40 years working in various ways to make center city Allentown a better place. I thought then, and still believe, this grassroots approach to identify the needs and priorities of neighborhood residents was critically important.

2. What about the Promise Neighborhoods mission and the work that the organization does in the Lehigh Valley community is most important to you?

My current job as Executive Director of the Downtown Allentown Community Development Initiative (DACDI) is an exciting opportunity to coordinate the resources of the 12 largest employers and three private foundations downtown to be certain that the new prosperity in the central business district carries over into the adjacent neighborhoods. DACDI brings great resources and business commitment. What it does not bring is a grassroots understanding of neighborhood needs and priorities. Promise Neighborhood is the perfect vehicle to engage residents in a positive way and to make sure that funders providing resources to revitalize the neighborhood hear the voices of those residents.

3. What is the one thing that you want residents of our region’s three Promise Neighborhoods to know about the organization’s volunteer Board of Directors and its commitment to its mission?

The board brings an incredible diversity of talent and knowledge. They are much more than representatives of organizations with a checkbook. Board members have made personal commitments to center city Allentown in many ways ranging from living in the neighborhood to pursuing lifelong careers with organizations providing critical resources to the neighborhood.

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