ajennings

Executive Director

22 Oct

REGIONAL GROUPS COMBINE ON EFFORT TO NEGATE THE IMPACT OF RACISM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE​​​​​ CONTACT: ​Alan Jennings ​​​​​​​​​​​610-248-9900 REGIONAL GROUPS COMBINE ON EFFORT TO NEGATE THE IMPACT OF RACISM Multi-year Strategic Plan Will Bring Socio-Economic Justice and “Make the Lehigh Valley a Better Place” An impressive array of Lehigh Valley’s key regional organizations have come together to confront what may be the most divisive issue of our times: racism. The project is called “Color Outside the Lines” and is intended “to identify and remove the systemic and structural barriers to racial equity and inclusion,” according to David Jones, a health benefits consultant and...

25 Sep

2019 ANNUAL MEETING

25 September 2019 This is the highest turnout in the history of the agency, even topping the year HUD secretary Henry Cisneros spoke. There are over 250 good people here. Thanks to each and every one of you for giving a damn about the community in which you live. This may be a bit self-serving but there is something to be said about a community that is always trying to make itself better. We have well over 1,000 volunteers who assist in one way or another,...

15 May

STATEMENT BY ALAN JENNINGS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR COMMUNITY ACTION COMMIITTEE OF THE LEHIGH VALLEY

The County of Northampton is embroiled in a battle over there need to improve their voting machines to protect against voter fraud. CAC LV plans to weigh in at the Council meeting tomorrow evening. Susan Dallandan will represent the agency. She is very knowledgeable about the issue. She will make the following statement on behalf of our executive director, who will be out of town. That statement is as follows: There is no greater privilege that we Americans have than participating...

19 Mar

JENNINGS COMMENTS ON TRUMP’S PROPOSAL TO SHUT DOWN CACLV

“The Contrast Between Right and Wrong Has Never Been So Clear”         Donald Trump has issued his proposed budget that eliminates all of the federal funding in the annual budget of the Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley. Alan L. Jennings, the agency’s executive for 28 years, issued the following statement in response to the president’s budget proposal:             The president of the United States has defined himself, once again, by the actions he has taken. In order to fund a wall that...

04 Mar

BITS AND PIECES

Here is a quick update on some things going on around the agency and the wider community: WEATHERIZATION AND FURNACE REPAIR OR REPLACEMENTAs we slowly work our way through the waning weeks of winter, those who struggle to pay their bills should be encouraged by the warming weather. On the other hand the arrival of spring makes it easier for the public utility companies to shut off service. CACLV has a long history of helping families survive the cold weather. We have...

24 Jan

CASEY/WILD GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN PRESS CONFERENCE

22 January 2019 SHARON’S PANTRY Comments of Alan L. Jennings Executive Director Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley The people who brought us the idea that we as a nation could go as low as to wrench children out of the arms of their immigrant parents have turned that mean spirit on those in our communities who need us. They want to build a monument to xenophobia, to the kinds of base emotions that have no place in this small world. That poor people have become pawns in...

09 Jan

Bits and Pieces

CADC Bethlehem Moves the Needle The homeownership rate in the Hayes Street area (specifically block group 112-02) has increased 9.1% from the 2008-2012 period to the 2013-2017 period. Comparatively, during the same time period the City as a whole experienced a decrease in homeownership rates of 5.2%. Since most of the Hayes Street investments began around 2013, this time period pretty accurately reflects when we would expect to see a change due to collective revitalization efforts. Digging a bit deeper, this...

04 Jan

We Can’t Let 2019 Be More of the Same

And, so, another new year has begun. I’m guessing that most of us are more than a little scared of what might be in store for us; optimism seems to be in short supply, anxiety plentiful. Many of us are downright scared of the path. We have an impulsive president who has a dangerous perspective on our world. It is a world where my gains are mine and don’t even think that I might share them. It’s an us-versus-them or, more accurately, me-versus-them perspective. Standing on the...

19 Nov

BITS AND PIECES

17 NOVEMBER 2018 OK, I get it that some folks might get bored with the opinion columns. So, as an antidote, here are some briefs on activity around the agency: 1,200 Homeowners Rescued From Foreclosure We just did some math and found that CACLV saved more than 1,200 families from the heartbreak of losing their home to foreclosure. Imagine: • 1,200 families whose kids don’t have to be embarrassed that their family lost their home; • 1,200 blocks where property values weren’t diminished by a vacant...

05 Nov

JENNINGS: TRUMP’S CYNICISM STOKES THE FIRE OF HATRED

CACLV Executive Director Alan Jennings offers his thoughts on the challenges of finding common ground on the otherwise intransigent issue of immigration in America in the following post.  His comments set up the discussion at the Hispanic Center’s Health Equity Summit on Election Day. IMMIGRANT HEALTH SUMMIT 6 November 2018 We have come here today to discuss an issue so complex, so divisive, so emotional, so dangerous, that it threatens to tear us apart as a nation, as a people. It is being stoked...

31 Oct

ON BAILING OUT ON SOMETHING THAT WORKS

In 1989, Bill Dedman, a reporter at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, wrote a Pulitzer Prize-winning series of articles that exposed distressing disparities in mortgage lending between households of color and their white counterparts. This, of course, was no surprise to the aforementioned households of color. Dedman’s work inspired the Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley to take a close look at mortgage lending here in the Lehigh Valley market. We found that people of color were about five times more likely...

18 Oct

Neighborhood Partnership Program Funding Doubled

One of my favorite comments is, “I’m cynical enough to know what I’m up against but optimistic enough to pick the fight anyway.” Folks, getting results in the public policy arena these days seems almost impossible, especially in Harrisburg. But a statewide coalition of groups led by the chamber of commerce in Pittsburgh got a big victory this week. House Bill 512 passed! HB 512 doubled funding for the Neighborhood Partnership Program. Since the program was established almost 50 years ago, funding...

27 Aug

ON ED PAWLOWSKI, MY FRIEND

I’ve always thought of myself as a cutting edge, hipster kind of guy. I’m a fan of the counterculture of the 60s, participated in many efforts to collectively change the world, listened to rock and roll and tried to dress with style but not flash. The work I do is, almost by its nature, the work of the change agent, trying to make the system work better for more people. The funny thing is the longer I’ve done this, the older I...

19 Mar

HAIL MARY PRODUCES MIRACLE

I am, unabashedly, a behavioralist: let’s stop suggesting that people who are poor are in that spot simply because the economy doesn’t or can’t create enough good-paying jobs to support every household in America. Without a doubt, it’s a tough world out there and too many are being left behind by a stormy marketplace and the people we elect to protect us from that storm. But those of us who care for those in need are at least naïve, at...

17 Feb

MORTGAGE LENDING DISPARITY

Following are comments made by CACLV’s Alan Jennings at a press conference to discuss fair mortgage lending in this market. The press briefing took place on February 16, 2018. PRESS BRIEFING MORTGAGE LENDING DISPARITY 16 FEBRUARY 2018 In the late 1980’s, Bill Dedman, a reporter with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, won a Pulitzer Prize when he shook up the banking industry with an explosive expose of mortgage lending disparities in the United States. His series revealed that our banking system was denying mortgages to African-American...

02 Jan

MY CONTRIBUTION TO FINDING CONSENSUS IN A WORLD GONE MAD

I run a nonprofit organization. It is called the Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley. As anti-poverty organizations go, it is pretty significant in size (95 employees and a $24 million budget). I have been here for 37 years. It isn’t a job; it is my life. I feel like I spend most of my time trying to convince people that as a society we should care more about those we leave behind. Consequently, messaging may be the most...

21 Nov

Trying Not to Call Those Who Lie to Us Liars

Tell them you don’t want your money back.  Tell them you believe in America, that America’s promise is a level playing field and that public education, infrastructure and not letting a child starve are investments in ourselves as a civilized society, that taxes are the price we pay for that civility. Tell them what really irks you is when people who already have all the gifts they need to thrive in a complex world are given even more.  Tell them that...

04 Oct

God Save America

I have long said that I am cynical enough to understand what I’m up against but optimistic enough to pick the fight anyway.   Watching, disgusted and sickened by the presence of the devil in Stephen Pollack, tips the balance in favor of cynicism over optimism. All Americans should be embarrassed, ashamed and humiliated by the fact that we believe Stephen Pollack’s right to own automatic weapons that he turned like a coward on innocent people he never met is apparently more...

04 Oct

ESTAMOS LISTO

  Diaspora: the movement, migration or scattering of a people away from an established or ancestral homeland.  That’s how the Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines it.  It’s one of those rarely used words that is almost poetic in its sound and rhythm, like ubiquitous and magnanimous – two words that also relate to the issue at hand.   The issue, of course, is the scattering of people away from Puerto Rico.  The images of the apocalyptic leveling of this beautiful island where so many Americans...

27 Sep

2017 ANNUAL MEETING – MOBILIZE

These next 25 minutes are the best part of my year as I get to brag about what each of you and so many others in this community helped us make possible over the past year. I am going to introduce you to a few folks who will make most of us envious. Their grit. Their determination. Their resilience. Their ability to stare crisis square in the eye and not back down. Their hard work. Their refusal to give up...

21 Aug

Collapse of Our World

Joseph Conrad, author of Heart of Darkness, wrote about “fascination with the abomination.” It explains people rubbernecking when driving past auto accidents.  It also applies to how I watch the news these days.   When this man was elected president, some of my friends, people I respect at the top ranks of the Lehigh Valley’s business community, implored me to give him a chance. I tried to soften my disgust with the election, knowing that this country was in deep trouble with...

31 Mar

Loan to “Shapewear” Retailer Royal Lioness Puts The Rising Tide’s Lending Over $5 Million

Local Community Lender Has Best Year in its Sixteen-Year History Brian Nguah, owner of Royal Lioness, is one happy entrepreneur.  He credits his $25,000 loan from The Rising Tide Community Loan Fund with helping him double sales of his very hot-selling line of “shapewear.”  Chris Hudock, director of The Rising Tide Community Loan Fund, though, won’t accept that credit. “Brian is the reason Brian is so successful,” Hudock said, adding, “We just did what we are here to do: invest the...

16 Mar

IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Trump Turns His Back on Low-Income Americans

Proposed Budget Would Shut Down CACLV   Donald Trump’s first demonstration of his priorities through his proposed budget makes it very clear that the billionaire whose father set him up in business doesn’t understand how much a few friends can make a difference.  As expected, his budget seeks huge cuts in domestic discretionary spending in order to fund massive increases in military spending.  Today, details emerged and the nation’s attempt to reduce poverty through Community Action Agencies like the Community Action Committee...

31 Jan

EVENT ADVISORY: Slate Belt NPP

DCED Secretary Davin to Join Slate Belt Community Leaders to Announce Neighborhood Partnership Program Rural, Multi-Municipal Project is First of its Kind   The Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley (CACLV) will announce the approval of the first multi-municipal Neighborhood Partnership Program, “Slate Belt Rising,” at a press conference on Thursday, February 2, at 1:30 PM. The briefing will take place at Bangor Trust Brewing, 11 Broadway, in Bangor.   The boroughs of Portland, Bangor, Pen Argyl, and Wind Gap will jointly plan and...

04 Jan

It’s up to moderate Republicans to restrain Trump

What separates us from any other species on the planet is our ability to reason. That ability forces us, too, to consider ourselves in the context of others. How close do we live to one another? How much do we interact? With whom do we interact? How much business do we do with them? How much do we care for another?   We know pleasure and we often give it. We know abundance and we share it. We know love and we...

14 Dec

Second Harvest Celebrates Successful Fundraising Campaign

New Home Dedicated to the Late Sharon Gausling   The Second Harvest Food Band of Lehigh Valley and Northeast Pennsylvania celebrated the completion of its $3.3 million fund raising campaign to pay for its new warehouse at 6969 Silver Crest Road in East Allen Township.  The 65,000 square foot facility is nearly four times the size of the facility it occupied in southwest Allentown since the early 1990’s.   Campaign co-chairs David Shaffer of Just Born and Anne Baum of Capital BlueCross spoke at the...

13 Dec

RenewLV Smart Growth Summit

RENEWLV SMARTH GROWTH SUMMIT 2 December 2016 KEYNOTE   Let’s talk about the market place.   I know: in our divided, us vs. them, i-won’t-get-mine-if-you-get-yours world, you all have already started the fissure in your minds. On the left: Jennings, you’re a liberal, stop trying to blend in with the Republicans. On the right: Jennings, what the hell do you know about the marketplace?   Well, the reality is, the world is a market economy; even the People’s Republic of China gets that. And with Fidel gone, Raul will...

22 Nov

A LETTER TO THE SOCIETY THAT RAISED ME

I’m shocked. I’m scared. I’m lost.   You taught me that we are a great nation. Great nations don’t bully the weak.   You taught me to be tolerant. Tolerance is not roughing up people who don’t agree with you.   You taught me that we should love our enemies. Then don’t taunt them.   You taught me that Jesus said the meek shall inherit the earth. The meek don’t say “I alone.”   You taught me to embrace family values. But you chose someone who was married three times...

21 Nov

PRESS RELEASE: THE RISING TIDE ADDS A LINE OF CREDIT TO ITS SMALL BUSINESS LENDING PRODUCTS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE    CONTACT:  CHRIS HUDOCK  (T) 484.893.1039  (C) 484.553.3171 The Rising Tide Community Loan Fund has expanded its services yet again, announcing today the creation of a first-of-its-kind line of credit for micro-enterprises, start-ups and other businesses that struggle to get financing from traditional lending sources. The federally-certified, nonprofit community development financial institution will offer lines as low as $3,000 and as high as $15,000. The interest rate will be determined based on the circumstances and set by a committee of volunteers. Chris...

08 Aug

We Do That, Too

CACLV is, to say the least, a complicated organization. With a budget in excess of $25 million (counting the value of the food distributed by the Second Harvest Food Bank), programs such as the Sixth Street Shelter, Weatherization and Community Action Financial Services, subsidiaries like our lending unit, The Rising Tide Community Loan Fund, our housing development unit, the Lehigh Valley Community Land Trust and our community development corporations in Allentown and Bethlehem, the administrative support we provide the counties...

15 Jun

PRESS RELEASE: CACLV RAISES MORAL ARGUMENT AFTER JUDGE JOHNSON DISMISSES THE LEGAL ARGUMENT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE    CONTACT:  ALAN L. JENNINGS  610-248-9900 CACLV Challenges Hospital to Respond to Its Own Needs Assessment In the wake of Lehigh County Court of Common Pleas Judge Brian Johnson’s evasion of retired judge Robert Young’s challenge of the adequacy of Lehigh Valley Health Network’s charitable care, the executive director of the Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley says Judge Johnson, understandably, looked only at the legal side of the issue.  As a community, Alan Jennings said, we now have the...

02 Feb

Seriously, Bernie?

Over in the goofy world of blogs, I’ve been vilified once again by my friend, Bernie O’Hare. There are lots of weirdos in the shadows, trolls who take strong positions attacking people they don’t know, lying and wishing they mattered. The trolls don’t bother me. They’re cowards; they don’t have the guts to identify themselves. I get a kick out of reading their blather and figure that infuriating them by making a difference in the lives of people who...

29 Dec

Valley blossoming, but still work to be done

I grew up in the church.  I’ve considered myself a person of faith for most of my life.  That doesn’t mean that I am not challenged by many aspects of my Christian faith tradition.  What bugs me the most?  Why doesn’t God get on his microphone, turn up the amp real high, and tell us all, in no uncertain terms and just in case you forgot, that he judges us?  Why doesn’t He post a message on every billboard or...

28 Apr

My City in Flames

by Alan Jennings Most people who know me know that I am a diehard fan of the Baltimore Orioles. I am from Hagerstown, Maryland. My family could only afford vacations returning home to visit aunts, uncles, grandparents. I learned racism there. It was weird: one of my baseball heroes was Orioles outfielder Frank Robinson; I never understood why people who looked like my baseball hero were getting beat up by people who looked like my father, simply because of the color of...

20 Feb

At a press conference in support of the minimum wage increase to $10.10 per hour, CACLV Executive Director Alan Jennings offered the following comments:

It feels like I’ve been here before. Actually, I know I’ve been here before. In fact, I am getting tired of having to make the argument that public policy should be used to regulate a market that is cruel when it comes to the value of much of the labor supply. The minimum wage was proposed 80 years ago to lift a family of three with one full-time worker out of poverty; it succeeded for the better part of 50 years. However, for the...

22 Dec

A Better World is Up to Us

There is something about an approaching new year that leads us to assess where we are with our plans, our expectations, our hopes, and our fears. In my case, I agonize constantly over the human condition. So, I can’t help but jump on the bandwagon and offer a sobering perspective on our world. Let’s face it: too many people are falling behind; they’re being left out.  Far too many are earning less today than they were ten, twenty or even more...

28 Jun

TONY, I KNOW YOU TOO WELL TO BELIEVE YOUR ENDORSEMENT OF PAYDAY LENDING

I hate taking on a friend, but Tony Ianelli’s lip-synch of the payday lenders’ talking points defending a despicable loan product is pretty sad (June 26).  Tony is a friend of many years. He has done outstanding work at the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce. But the product Tony thinks would be good for economic development would charge poor souls who can’t pay their bills about 300% so they won’t be able to pay even more bills.  Apparently, he thinks his...

27 Dec

The Lehigh Valley’s ‘Collective Resolve’ Means 2013 Will Be Better

I’m not sure how many of us have the time anymore to take a deep breath, clear our heads, and reflect, as we once did, on the year behind us.  Maybe we don’t have any interest in dwelling on the past, given how painful it was for so many.  But it can be a productive exercise. To be sure, it was dark.  We still feel the lingering effects of the Great Recession, as unemployment rates remained stubbornly...

13 Nov

Audio – Representative Jennifer Mann on Lehigh Valley Discourse

Among the changes that the 2012 election will bring is a new representative for Pennsylvania’s 132nd district, long served by Jennifer Mann. Representative Mann was elected at the age of 28 and served seven terms. She has lots to say and Lehigh Valley Discourse gave her a venue. Join Representative Mann and Alan Jennings as they talk about her experiences, the difference she made, her regrets, what’s wrong and what’s right about politics in the 21st century, the implications of...

09 Nov

Video – Rising Tide Community Loan Fund

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19 Oct

Video – Sixth Street Shelter

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17 Oct

Audio – October 11th on Lehigh Valley Discourse: Children

If, indeed, children are our future, as so many like to say, what might that future look like, given the many challenges our children face: declining resources for education, for intervention when they are victimized by predators, for nutrition programs, limited ability of their parents to save money for their educations or to leave something behind for them, neighborhoods that are unsafe and so much more.  With an election just a few weeks away, the public policy debate appears to...

16 Oct

Video – Alan Jennings Introduces Video Blog

[embedplusvideo height=”281″ width=”450″ standard=”http://www.youtube.com/v/48o2B7TxMCY?fs=1″ vars=”ytid=48o2B7TxMCY&width=450&height=281&start=&stop=&rs=w&hd=0&autoplay=0&react=0&chapters=&notes=” id=”ep8302″ /] Transcription Hi. I’m Alan Jennings and I’m the Executive Director of the Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley. Welcome to our blog: Poverty’s Edge – Lehigh Valley. I’m here with 170 of our best friends, and there are thousands more out there. Maybe you’re one of them: people who donate money to us, people who cheer us on, people who volunteer their time to serve on our Boards and Advisory Boards, to push our...

08 Oct

Audio: October 4th on WDIY’s Lehigh Valley Discourse: The Economy

“The economy is bad.  The economy is good.  It needs to be stimulated.  It needs to be left alone.  It’s good for Obama.  It’s good for Romney.”  – Alan Jennings Join CACLV’s Alan Jennings and his guests for WDIY 88.1 FM Lehigh Valley Discourse on Thursday, October 4th, at 6 PM, as the discussion leading up to the November election focuses on the economy. Alan’s guests are Kamran Afshar, economist, and Tony Ianelli, CEO of the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce. [ca_audio...

19 Sep

Audio: September 13th on WDIY’s Lehigh Valley Discourse “Party Officials on the 2012 Election”

Labor Day is the historic “out-of-the-gates” day for elections. While many have been paying attention for some time, over the next several weeks the candidates and their parties and surrogates will be pummeling voters with attempts to convert them to their side or fire up their side to get out and help them win. Below is an archive of September 13th’s Lehigh Valley Discourse, as we discuss the 2012 election with guests Tom Carroll, vice chair of the Northampton County Republican...

17 Sep

Audio: August 30th on WDIY’s Lehigh Valley Discourse “The Politics of Welfare “with Maryann Haytmanek and Kathleen Daugherty

It’s a storied tradition in American politics: pick on the weakest among us. “Welfare” was (re-)introduced into the national political debate recently.  Join me this Thursday at 6 PM on Lehigh Valley Discourse with my guests, Maryann Haytmanek and Kathleen Daugherty, both of whom have decades of expertise on the issue. They’ll talk about the facts, including how many people receive benefits, how much they receive and how many obstacles are in place that are designed to keep people from...

05 Sep

TOWARD A NEW MARKET, A NEW NEIGHBORHOOD, A NEW TOMORROW

Over the weekend, The Morning Call reported that CACLV had offered a proposal to ensure that the benefits of $500 million in new development resulting from the Neighborhood Improvement Zone had a lasting impact on the downtown, its neighborhoods and the residents who live there.  The proposal is printed in its entirety, below. Matt Assad’s article was well done.  However, as usual, some of the people in the region who couldn’t find a good word to say about anything, especially our...

15 Aug

Lehigh Valley Discourse – 2012-08-09

Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski has a problem. Actually, like all mayors trying to make their cities viable in Pennsylvania, the mayor has big problems. Having cut city spending to the bone, he still has major obligations such as meeting its pension obligations for retired city workers. So Mayor Pawlowski is proposing some bold measures, including unloading some major operations to private and/or outside interests. ...

08 Aug

THANKS TO THE NEW MAJORITY ON LEHIGH COUNTY’S BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS, THE AGENDA IS GETTING CLEARER

The new majority on the Lehigh County Board of Commissioners wants to kill the decades-long campaign to extend critical public health services to all residents in our two counties.  I won’t go into a long account of the many merits of making sure people have access to immunizations, that restaurants be inspected so we are reasonably safe from cutting corners that can lead to ugly little diseases like salmonella or even being prepared for a terrorist attack on, say, our...

28 Jun

FAIR HOUSING PRESS CONFERENCE ON JUNE 26, 2012

Allentown, like so many cities, has challenges that, under the best of circumstances, cause disinvestment, concentration of poverty, diminishing tax base, substandard housing and public school issues that feed on each other, accelerating as they do.   Even a mayor as good as Ed Pawlowski must wonder whether God is on his side. The Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley has a long history of joining the cause, fighting the good fight, hoping to improve the odds.  Our approach rejects the...

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