Reimagining Entrepreneurship by Stefenie Sawyer

By Stefenie Sawyer, PNLV Project Manager – Entrepreneurship Without Limits

It’s that scene from Field of Dreams… you know it. Even if you’ve not seen the movie you know it. Let’s say it together, “If you build it, they will come”. It’s that moment in the movie where we were all inspired, watching the ghosts of baseball players creepily come out of the field, and watching the dreams of one man inspire an entire community.

I’ve often wondered if they’d follow up decades later to see if his dream really made any lasting impact. However, that line can sell a lot of dreams. This “field of dreams thinking” can inform strategies, create new programs, and cultivate a hero culture that at its core desires to create change, which is not necessarily a bad thing.

But what if this “field of dreams thinking” didn’t include everyone being able to built it? Do people who don’t live in the community that needs a new dream really know how to reimagine its new day? What if a community realizes that its best players are already found within and its not that it needs to be built so they will come, but that it needs to invite those players to join in the game and equip them for the work?

This is what PNLV is dreaming about as we begin our intentional work around cultivating the next generation of entrepreneurs in our schools, neighborhoods, and communities. We’re launching a new track called Entrepreneurship Without Limits. Removing limits on dreams and opportunities. Opening a pathway to the future. It’s this idea that our best future business leaders are right here waiting for an opportunity to live out their dreams.

Our question to you is, will you join us? What dreams are waiting to become reality? How would our community look different because those with dreams stay in Allentown? Be on the lookout for our new webpage, where you can take a next step. The future is bright and it’s right here in #OurAllentown.


APN Leadership Institute

Live in downtown Allentown? Love your community and want to help make it better? Then APN wants YOU to join our new Leadership Institute!
We want to help cultivate the next generation of community leaders in Allentown and need residents to register for our free, 8-week training program starting in early 2018.
Leadership Flyer

We’re hiring! PNLV Community Manager

POSITION: Community Manager

ORGANIZATION: Promise Neighborhoods of the Lehigh Valley


REPORTING STRUCTURE: Reports to Director of Operations


The Community Manager will be an effective leader in the development, implementation, management coordination, assessment and on-going administration of services provided by partners to children and families in the Promise Neighborhoods across the Lehigh Valley.

Responsibilities of the position include but are not limited to these duties:

  • Serve as lead staff on committee work related to the 9 promises
  • Supervise community organizers, case managers, resident liaisons, interns and volunteers.
  • Develop, lead, and facilitate cross-sector networks related to our work (early learning, youth development, health, housing networks)
  • Use data to inform practice and decision making
  • Actively participate in a collaborative process for addressing issues of social isolation, health disparities, early childhood education, racism, and poverty in the Allentown Promise Neighborhood.
  • Assist with volunteer recruitment, block level organizing and other resident leadership development.
  • Advocate for the best interests of the Promise Neighborhoods on issues of social isolation, health disparities, early childhood education, racism and poverty.
  • Help coordinate neighborhood improvement projects and volunteer service efforts.
  • Assist with the creation and distribution of communications on APN activities and issues, including website and newsletters.
  • Contribute to maintenance of APN calendar of events, organizational databases, and all records and reports for APN, and community stakeholders.


  • Resident of Promise Neighborhood highly desired
  • Master Degree in social work, public health, education, sociology, criminal justice, or related field preferred.
  • Minimum of five years human service, social services, education, early childhood or healthcare leadership experience
  • Eagerness to establish relationships with neighborhood residents
  • Detail and task oriented
  • Community organizing principles
  • Group facilitation skills
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills
  • Good analytical, negotiation, and problem-solving skills
  • Strong time and task management skills
  • Genuine commitment and sensitivity to residents and community issues
  • Respect for economic and cultural diversity, experience working with diverse groups of people
  • Highly motivated and independent, yet team-oriented
  • Must be able to work long hours, weekends and evenings
  • Computer and other standard office equipment skills sufficient to prepare flyers and other communications, maintain databases, email, and website posting.

Bilingual English-Spanish is a huge asset and highly desirable

Salary: $35,000-$42,000 depending on education and experience plus competitive benefits package

Fax or email resume and cover letter to: Hasshan Batts, Director of Operations 610-351-4275.


News & Reports PNLV Blog

Promise Neighborhoods of the Lehigh Valley names Hasshan Batts Director of Operations

Regional nonprofit organization Promise Neighborhoods of the Lehigh Valley has named Dr. Hasshan Batts as its new Director of Operations.

His responsibilities will include developing and managing cross-sector relationships in the community; planning and launching fundraising events to support the organization; developing and implementing the organization’s programs; community organizing; and overseeing staff engagement with neighborhood residents and resident leadership.

Batts is an Allentown Promise Neighborhood resident, a community leader and committed to contributing to improving the Lehigh Valley through equity, collaboration and compassion. Batts most recently worked with the Neighborhood Health Centers of the Lehigh Valley, where he was a member of the management team supervising the community initiative staff and oversaw interns, while providing clinical and operational consultation, training and staff development. He is also a consultant with the Practitioners Research and Scholarship Institute based in Atlanta, and a fellow with The Rider-Pool Foundation’s Collective Impact Fellowship Program.

His professional career history includes working as a Clinical Supervisor for the Youth Services Agency of Pennsylvania in Jim Thorpe; Director of Children’s Services for NHS Human Services in Bethlehem; and an Adjunct Professor in the Graduate School of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Lincoln University in Philadelphia.

Batts has a Bachelor of Science in Social Sciences from Gardner-Web University; a Masters in Social Work from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and North Carolina A&T University; and a Doctorate in Health Sciences with a Global Health concentration from Nova Southeastern University in Florida.

After a decade of growth and development, the Board of Directors of PNLV is conducting a review and evaluation of the nonprofit organization’s community work as it plans for its next phase of growth and development. Its collective impact mission working with partner agencies, community leaders, and neighborhood residents will be reinvigorated as it continues to strengthen its neighborhood-level relationships and focus on community building in all three of its Lehigh Valley neighborhoods. Batts will work the PNLV Board on this reorganization, and will facilitate the hiring of two staff members in the coming months.

About Promise Neighborhoods of the Lehigh Valley
Initiated in 2007 by United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley and developed by community leaders, PNLV was envisioned and planned as a regional organization to address challenges facing families and children in select neighborhoods across the Lehigh Valley. PNLV’s first neighborhood is in the Old Allentown Historic District downtown, and now includes Easton Promise Neighborhood in the city’s West Ward, and two Bethlehem Promise Neighborhoods on Southside and in the Marvine-Pembroke neighborhood. The nonprofit organization unites residents and leaders from various sectors to ensure the success of children from birth through career. Promise Neighborhoods accomplishes its work through place-based, collective impact efforts.


Paul Schmitz inspires attendees at his presentation on Collective Impact and the community

IMG_4521Earlier this month the PNLV staff attended a presentation entitled “Everyone Leads: Building Leadership from the Community Up” by Paul Schmitz. It was hosted by Moravian College, and sponsored by United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley and the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce.

He is a Senior Advisor to the Collective Impact Forum and the author of “Everyone Leads: Building Leadership from the Community Up” (Jossey Bass, 2011), and the former CEO of Public Allies where he spent 21 years helping more than 5,600 diverse young leaders turn their passions to make a difference into careers working for community and social change.

He used the Montgomery Bus Strike as an example of social change not being a linear event with one leader, but a complex process with diverse networks of leaders stepping up. He stressed that everyone has a ‘leadership muscle’ that needs to be exercised

He highlighted the fact that many future leaders are often overlooked due to circumstance, and discussed the importance of building trust and offered an example of how we can share our stories to disarm power differentials

He also reviewed the five key elements of collective impact:
o Common Agenda
o Shared metrics
o Mutually reinforcing activities
o Continuous communication
o Backbone organization

Paul highlighted various successful collective impact initiatives, including one in Milwaukee which decreased teen pregnancies by 57% in 7 years. He encouraged us to remember to plug our desire to recruit various residents to the Allentown Collective Impact Committee.



Guardian volunteers at EPN Block Party


We’d like to thank the team of volunteers for Guardian who helped us with last month’s EPN Block Party at Cottingham Stadium in Easton’s West Ward neighborhood.

We recently interviewed Laura Accetta, Claims Case Manager, Group Claims – Long Term Disability, about the experience she and her fellow volunteers had at our event:

1. How did Guardian become connected with PNLV so that your team could volunteer at the EPN block party?

My role since 2009 was as community organizer in the city of Easton/Weed and Seed Coordinator. I became familiar with PNLV when I met Yamil at the Community School Conference in Cleveland and then worked collaboratively with the organization during their introduction into Easton and forward.

2. What did your team think of their experience working with PNLV and interacting with the families at the block party?

Everyone enjoyed the opportunity of volunteering especially as many if not all of them live in Easton.

3. In what other ways does Guardian volunteer in the community? Is there a special office/department/team that coordinates community volunteerism for the staff? Why is community involvement important to the company?

Guardian feels strongly that supporting communities and giving back are essential. Guardian volunteers can be found in large groups such as locally at Musikfest and in smaller areas such as supporting local issues through raising funds by having dress down days. Guardian volunteers span the country and are coordinated through the Community Involvement Committee, the offices of Human Resources and Corporate Communications. In giving back to our communities it underscores Guardian’s corporate philosophy; people count, doing the right thing and holding ourselves to very high standards.


BPN Southside Block Party is next Saturday

We hope you are saving the date for next Saturday’s 7/30 very first Bethlehem Promise Neighborhood (BPN) Block Party.

Join us at Yosko Park from 11 am – 3 p.m. for food, music, games and more!

This is a free event for Southside Bethlehem residents. Fun for the whole family, so bring the kids!

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Deadline for Building Bridges photo entries is almost here

Are you a downtown Allentown resident?
Then share pictures of live in the Queen City with the Building Bridges Project and show us what life is like for you and your family.
The deadline is fast approaching!


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Meet our Resident Liaison, Banessa

Banessa1) How long have you lived in the APN? What do you like most about living here?

I have been an Allentown resident for approximately six years. What I enjoy most about living in Allentown is its suburban communities. Before moving to Allentown, I was a New York resident and it was very noisy and it lacked communal atmosphere. A lot of parts of Allentown still have strong communal energy.

2) What made you want to get more involved in your neighborhood?

I have always wanted to get involved in my neighborhood; I think that I just didn’t have the right resources or know the right information to get started. Now that I work with Allentown Promise Neighborhood I have motivation and more goals to reach and complete, and that is very exciting to me.

3) Why do you feel that you are a good candidate to represent APN? What qualities or abilities do you possess for this role?

I feel that I am a good candidate to represent APN because I am very professional and have leader qualities. I am able to work effectively in a team and get the job done. I have taken a public speaking course and feel that I am a very good speaker. In addition, I am very compassionate and I know that this is critical when speaking to APN residents.

4) What are you most looking forward to in your role as a member of the APN Community Engagement Team?

I am looking forward to seeing change and more community involvement in our residents. Our goal is to bring information and services to our community and I am looking forward to see great impact in doing so.

5) What do you think of APN and what it does for our community?

I think that the work that APN does is phenomenal. I take great pride in working with this team because the services it offers to its residents are very beautiful.



PrintA successful non-profit community organization based in downtown Allentown is planning to bring its program to Easton and wants the public’s input on where it should be located within the city. To get that feedback it will be holding a series of four public meetings later this month.

The regional Promise Neighborhoods of the Lehigh Valley established its first neighborhood in the Old Allentown Historic District in the city’s downtown seven years ago. The success of Allentown Promise Neighborhood has lead the organization to expand its model to the valley’s other two cities in the coming years.

Easton Promise Neighborhood Manager Ammar Sharif has compiled data about residents in the city’s four neighborhoods. This data will be presented to the public at four public Town Hall meetings, one in each neighborhood, to include the citizens of Easton in the discussion that will help determine the best place to create an Easton Promise Neighborhood.

Meetings will take place at:

Easton Area Community Center
901 Washington Street
September 16 from 7-8:30 pm

YMCA of Easton, Phillipsburg and Vicinity
1225 W. Lafayette St.
September 22 from 7 – 8:30 p.m.

Cheston Elementary School
723 Coal Street
September 24 from 7 – 8:30 p.m.

Nurture Nature Center
516 Northampton Street
September 27 from 11 am – 12:30 pm

Light food and beverages will be provided to attendees, and giveaway items will also be handed out.

Inspired by the Harlem Children’s Zone, the U.S. Department of Education’s federal Promise Neighborhoods program is an initiative designed to break the cycle of generational poverty by wrapping children in a pipeline of health, social, and educational supports from birth through college. It utilizes efforts to mobilize residents, community partners, educational institutions, and business leaders to ensure the success of children from birth to career so they will thrive, succeed in school and become vital members in the community.

About Promise Neighborhoods of the Lehigh Valley
Founded in 2007, Promise Neighborhoods of the Lehigh Valley unites residents and leaders from various sectors to ensure the success of children from birth through career. Promise Neighborhoods, a subsidiary of the United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley, 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