City Center Investment Corp. Supports Allentown School District as United Way Community School Corporate Partner
City Center Investment Corp. strengthens its commitment to revitalizing Downtown Allentown as the new corporate partner of Central Elementary, a United Way Community School. As the corporate partner, City Center will provide support to Central’s students and families in collaboration with Allentown School District, United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley (UWGLV), Communities In Schools of the Lehigh Valley and Women United.
Specifically, City Center has made a three-year commitment to support the school with approximately 400 employee-volunteer hours annually and a $50,000-a-year grant. In addition, through its extensive community partnerships, City Center plans to provide in-kind donations valued at thousands of dollars to benefit Central’s students, families and teachers and will coordinate several enrichment programs to benefit students each year.
“Central Elementary School is our company’s neighborhood school, which makes our employees’ relationships with Central’s students and families especially meaningful,” said J.B. Reilly, president of City Center Investment Corp. “City Center is committed to helping create a healthy, thriving community for everyone downtown, and we look forward to sharing our resources with Central’s families to create enriching learning experiences and strengthen their connection to the many benefits downtown Allentown has to offer.”
Using schools as hubs, Community Schools organize programs and services in one central place for students and families. These programs and services remove barriers to learning, create positive youth development, and empower parents to strengthen their role as partners in education. The model convenes companies, nonprofit organizations, volunteers and other community supports to ensure higher success rates for students. As a result, Community School students have increased reading and math scores and excel in other academic areas.
“Community Schools level the playing field, thanks to corporate and community partners that invest their time and resources into developing opportunities for all kids to succeed in school and in life,” remarked UWGLV President David Lewis. “This Community School partnership has a strong corporate leader in City Center. You don’t have to look very far to see the positive and lasting impacts the City Center team creates in this community. We know that will continue right here as they continue to touch the lives of Central’s students and families.”
As a result of City Center’s involvement, a Community School Coordinator will continue to connect Central’s students, families and nearby residents with the resources they need to thrive, including medical and dental care, early learning opportunities, after-school programs, access to nutritious food and clothing resources.
“As outlined in our Strategic Framework, the Allentown School District is committed to collaborating meaningfully and deeply with families but also the entire community. This kind of partnership engages the adults who work in the Lehigh Valley in a way that is beneficial to the students in our schools. Having the support of our community and businesses creates a lasting positive impact on a student’s educational journey in the Allentown School District. The District thanks City Center and United Way for their support and commitment to the children of Allentown,” said Allentown School District Superintendent Thomas Parker.
This Community School partnership is part of an ongoing community engagement initiative of City Center and its employees and principals called Building Community. The initiative aims to revitalize downtown Allentown and its surrounding neighborhoods by providing financial support, in-kind donations and volunteer service, focusing on four key results-oriented areas: health, arts, community development and education. In 2017, CCIC donated more than $3.2 million total to 120 organizations and its 25 employees volunteered at nearly 50 organizations, donating more than 1,500 total hours.
In June 2018, City Center announced it pledged $1 million through its Building Community initiative to match new and increased gifts to United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley during the 2018 campaign. That same month, City Center employees also cleaned up and painted Central Elementary School during United Way’s Day of Caring.
United Way’s Community School Network serves 17,000 students in Allentown, Bethlehem Area, Easton Area and Bangor Area school districts. As a Community School with lead partner Communities In Schools of the Lehigh Valley and support from Women United, Central Elementary School engages approximately 200 volunteers each year and involves more than 400 students in school activities including after-school programs, sports and academic clubs.