For Immediate Release
Community Action AWARDED $110,000 GRANT FOR DEVELOPMENT AND IMPLEMENTATION OF REGIONAL DIVERSITY PLAN
Nonprofit Receives Discretionary Federal Block Grant Funds Through PA DCED
The Community Action Lehigh Valley has won a competitive grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development to support its initiative to develop a strategic plan for diversity and inclusion in Lehigh and Northampton counties. The project, announced during a press conference in November, has engaged a variety of regional groups in the effort, including the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce, the Lehigh Valley Partnership, Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation, Lehigh Valley Arts Council, United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley, Workforce Board Lehigh Valley and the Greater Lehigh Valley Consortium for Excellence and Equity. The project was also endorsed by all three mayors and both county executives. The initiative’s intent is to identify what the Lehigh Valley, as a community, can do to negate the painful effects of racism in the region.
Don Cunningham, CEO of LVEDC and Co-Chair of the initiative, expressed his excitement at the project which, he said, is intended to demonstrate to possible investors in the region that this is a progressive community that celebrates diversity and leaves no one behind. David Jones, former Lehigh County Commissioner and Co-Chair with Cunningham, added that those who would discriminate against people based on skin color or ethnicity will find themselves being the ones left behind if they don’t abandon their outdated practices and come to the realization that our world will be a better place if everyone in our community has the same shot at succeeding. Kumari Ghafoor-Davis, Community Action’s Director for Racial and Ethnic Justice, said it was hard to read her 12-year-old son’s essay on racism that he wrote in school and hopes that, by the time he starts looking for a job, “every door that is open to white children will be open just as wide to him and every other child in our community. Until then, it will be a stretch to call this a community.”
In addition to the federal block grant, Community Action has received more than $50,000 from several local families who believe this effort will make the Lehigh Valley a better community for their children and grandchildren.