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CIS of Eastern PA Hosts 40th Anniversary Celebration, Raises $1M to Expand Programs

five people stand holding leadership circle certificates on stage

Communities In Schools of Eastern Pennsylvania (CIS of Eastern PA) hosted 320 guests at its Building Bright Futures 40th Anniversary Celebration on Thursday, October 26, 2023, at Olympus Corporation of America.

The event culminated CIS of Eastern PA’s year-long Building Bright Futures celebration to increase awareness of the nonprofit’s work and to support its future goals of serving a greater number of students throughout Eastern Pennsylvania. At the event, CIS of Eastern PA revealed the campaign’s total raised so far: $1,059,138.

“We’ve been running our 40th Anniversary campaign since January. Over the last ten months, our committee has worked tirelessly to accomplish the goals of the campaign, which were clear: raise funds to provide services in 25 new schools where students need us most,” said Maria Esposito, vice president of advancement at CIS of Eastern PA.

The “Building Brighter Futures” campaign raised funds to sustain and expand CIS of Eastern PA’s current programs, deepen relationships in the high-need school districts it serves, and cultivate new relationships with additional school districts.

one man hands off red baton to another man

Key figures involved with CIS National and CIS of Eastern PA who spoke at the event included: Ray Saldaña, president and CEO of CIS National; Tim Mulligan, president and CEO of CIS of Eastern PA; Michelle Schmidt, Ph.D., CIS of Eastern PA board chair; Joetta, 4-time Olympian, CIS of Eastern PA board member; Genesis Ortega, communications manager for the City of Allentown; Esposito; and Ellen Kern, vice president of community engagement at Lehigh Valley Public Media, 40th celebration committee chair.

"I lead an organization of 110 affiliates, but CIS of Eastern Pennsylvania stands tall, and there's a lot of evidence for that. Whether you look at the MacKenzie Scott gift that was received two years ago, or the fact that Steve Ballmer, the owner of the Clippers, said, 'I want to invest in Communities In Schools, but I want you all to invest where they're doing the work right,'" said Saldaña. "CIS of Eastern Pennsylvania is a place that’s doing the work right.”

Bill and Denise Spence, Spence Family Foundation, and Kathleen and J.B. Reilly, City Center Allentown, served as the event’s honorary co-chairs. Bob and Sandy Lovett received the Lifetime Champion of Education Award. While CIS of Eastern PA annually awards a Champion of Education, this is the first Lifetime Champion of Education recognition. Three individuals were inducted to CIS of Eastern PA’s Leadership Circle, which acknowledges the people who have provided transformational leadership and enduring support for CIS of Eastern PA’s mission over its 40 years. Honorees included State Secretary of Revenue Pat Browne, former Allentown School District Superintendent Diane Scott, and former CIS Board Chair Charlie Marcon.

For more information on CIS of Eastern PA, visit



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