A Donor’s Legacy of Trust and Academic Success

Updated: Sep 20

At Communities In Schools of Eastern Pennsylvania (CISEasternPA), we see potential in every student - and we're committed to helping them see it too. For over 15 years, Community Schools have supported student success in the region's highest-need schools by focusing on students’ basic needs and building trusting relationships with children and their families.


Backed by a strong partnership with United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley and a growing network of community partners, CISEasternPA’s Community Schools are hubs of learning and engagement where students and families can thrive. Today, CISEasternPA serves as the lead partner at 11 local Community Schools in the Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton School Districts and 30 additional schools in Allentown, Bethlehem Area, Brandywine Heights Area, East Penn, Easton Area, Fleetwood Area, Kutztown Area, Reading, Whitehall-Coplay, and Wilson (Berks) School Districts.


That’s why former PPL Corporation Chairman and CEO Bill Spence and his wife Denise provided the resources to make Sheridan Elementary School in Allentown School District the newest school in the Lehigh Valley Community Schools Network.

“There is nothing more important in a child’s life than having access to a good education,” said Spence. “We felt that partnering with United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley, a trusted and highly regarded organization, would provide the oversight and insights needed to ensure that Community Schools will be successful.”

“Without financial backing from United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley and individual donations, Communities In Schools of Eastern Pennsylvania would not be able to impact as many lives. Benefactors are vital to our mission and to student achievement in the classroom and beyond,” reflected Maria Esposito, Vice President of Advancement for CISEasternPA. “Our organization appreciates all contributions and is dedicated to empowering students in and out of the classroom.”

The Spences have joined the Barnes and Lovett families as individuals, rather than corporations, who pledge their support to Community Schools.

“We grew up in families where access to a good education was a family affair and viewed as foundational to success, a fundamental right of every child, and a community responsibility. United Way has taken that concept to a whole new level, and it is so inspiring to see the amazing improvements for the students,” said Dan Barnes, who supports Northeast Middle School in Bethlehem Area School District with his wife Susan.

“It is an honor to be a part of this nationally recognized initiative. We hope many more donors will join this movement to adopt a school and help United Way to continue to expand this extraordinary program, especially after the devastating setback experienced by our students during this pandemic,” added Susan Barnes.

CISEasternPA organizes programs and services such as food, housing, and health care in one central place for students and families, while also providing enhanced academic experiences for kids and engagement opportunities for parents. As a result, our students have increased reading and math scores and excel in other academic areas.


Our Community School Coordinators ensure supports are in place to address unique student challenges, such as chronic absenteeism or low reading proficiency. With encouragement from a committed leadership team, often including principals, parents, and partners, coordinators foster relationships, find resources, and initiate creative programs and events to offer kids and families the tools they need to excel.

“Our community can do great things when we work together. Community Schools has been a great vehicle to allow us to do this. East Allentown has been underserved for many years. Community Schools has allowed us to support East Allentown in the important field of education,” said Bob Lovett, who directs support to Mosser Elementary School in Allentown School District along with his wife Sandy.


Learn more about supporting Communities In Schools of Eastern Pennsylvania and help us change lives here.


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