In order to help more families and children throughout the region in the coming years, the Board of Directors of Promise Neighborhoods of the Lehigh Valley has filed Form 1023 with the Internal Revenue Service to become its own tax-exempt non-profit 501c3 organization.
Since its start, PNLV and its Allentown Promise Neighborhood have been a subsidiary of United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley. But the long-term plan for the organization’s growth necessitated that it eventually become independent of United Way and the PNLV Board of Directors began the non-profit application process last year.
Earlier this year PNLV hired new Executive Director Yamil Sanchez-Rivera. Its staff has also grown with the promotion of Dawn Robinson-Weldon to Manager of School Readiness and Family Health Initiatives, and the hiring of two new part-time employees – Marisol Arribas as Coordinator, and Ammar Sharif as Research Analyst.
“We are excited to be part of the synergy of efforts that are building up and working together to improve the quality of life for residents in Allentown and the Lehigh Valley,” said Sanchez-Rivera. “Establishing our 501c3 status is the next phase of ensuring the full delivery of coordinating services across our 9 promises in Promise Neighborhoods. United Way’s foundational support has resulted in the creation of a well-established agency that will lead collective impact work with United Way and throughout the Lehigh Valley.”
The Allentown Promise Neighborhood serves a nine-square-block neighborhood of the city’s downtown, known as Old Allentown Historic District. Conversations are taking place with leaders and residents in Bethlehem and Easton to see how PNLV can be of the most help to families in those cities.
The Promise Neighborhood program operates under four tenets: Children are ready to learn in school from Kindergarten through 12th grade; they are safe and supported in school, at home and in their community; the schools they attend have the tools they need to help children to transition successfully from one grade to the next; and that children are poised to graduate and succeed in a career or college.
In 2007 Harlem Children’s Zone Founder & CEO Geoffrey Canada visited the Lehigh Valley and inspired local leaders to create a similar program for children in the region. In 2008 the Allentown Youth Success Zone was started with United Way as the leading member of the regional working group.
In 2010, an effort to establish Promise Neighborhoods programs across the country was launched with education of children as its cornerstone, and the Success Zone renamed itself to better align with the its work with the growing national movement.
Today PNLV unites residents and leaders from various sectors to ensure the success of children from birth through career, and accomplishes its work through place-based, collective impact efforts, like Allentown Promise Neighborhood. Its office is located at 347 N. 8th Street in Downtown Allentown. For more information, visit www.PromiseNeighborhoodsLV.org.