Training Community Leaders

April 11, 2013

Leadership Lehigh Valley, a leadership development program that prepares civic-minded individuals for positions on not-for-profit boards of directors throughout the region, has decided to transfer ownership of the program to Northampton Community College (NCC) effective July 1, 2013 in order to enhance the program's long-term success.

The Leadership Lehigh Valley (LLV) program will become part of NCC's Leadership and Executive Development initiative under the college's Center for Business and Industry. In accepting the program, NCC said it fully intends to sustain LLV's mission: To enable effective community leaders to transform our region by providing a forum for education on community issues, resources, skills, and opportunities for service.

NCC's management of the program represents a common arrangement for a community leadership development program.  About one-third of such programs nationwide are affiliated with institutions of higher education.

"We began evaluating our model in late 2012 to determine how we could sustain the organization while expanding the breadth of services available to class members and alumni," said Michael Drabenstott, president of LLV's board of directors. "Northampton Community College's unwavering support of the program since its inception and its highly regarded leadership development programs are an ideal fit to perpetuate and develop the program.

"We're extremely proud to have placed hundreds of community-minded individuals into leadership positions throughout the Lehigh Valley. We're pleased that NCC will be continuing LLV's vital mission, which ultimately makes the entire region stronger."

NCC has been a longtime supporter of Leadership Lehigh Valley. LLV's offices are in NCC's Fowler Center facility on Third Street, Bethlehem. NCC has also provided program management and back-office services through a yearly contract with LLV. LLV Executive Director Cheryl Dungan will continue in her role following the July 1 transfer.

Northampton President, Dr. Mark Erickson, said, "As a college of the community, we welcome the opportunity to build on the great work of the Leadership Lehigh Valley Board and look forward to training the future leaders of our community."

The 10-month LLV program introduces up to 35 students each year to societal issues such as education, healthcare, human services, the judicial system, economic development and the arts. They attend presentations and panel discussions from current community leaders and conduct site visits to see first-hand how the region operations. Upon graduation, they commit to a three-year term on a not-for-profit board, though nearly all graduates continue to serve on boards for the decades that follow.

The Leadership Lehigh Valley program has trained more than 850 people in its 28 years of operation dating back to 1985. Its graduates are actively involved on many of the most prominent boards in the region encompassing human services, the arts, economic development, and more.  Class members have completed more than 30 projects in the Lehigh Valley to address unmet needs among not-for-profit organizations and the people they serve.


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