Executive Director – Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley
Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley (dba Community Action Lehigh Valley, or CACLV), the leading anti-poverty, social justice organization in the Lehigh Valley, seeks a passionate Executive Director to assume leadership of an agency that has distinguished itself over that past four decades by identifying existing and emerging factors that lead to poverty and developing innovative solutions to mitigate those factors throughout the Lehigh Valley. CACLV’s next Executive Director will succeed current executive Alan Jennings, who will retire in May 2021 after serving CACLV for 40 years and leading it for 30 years.
A year after the Economic Opportunity Act was signed into law in 1964, the Lehigh Valley Community Council began to call on the federal government to commit resources in the Lehigh Valley to join the fight in the War on Poverty. The mission of CACLV is to improve the quality of life in the Lehigh Valley by building a community in which all people have access to economic opportunity, the ability to pursue that opportunity, and a voice in the decisions that affect their lives. CACLV innovates, instigates, and challenges itself and its community to make the community a better place for those left out. Deep relationships with senior government officials, business leaders, and non-profits in the Lehigh Valley, along with a deep understanding of powerful tools such as the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) and numerous government and private grant programs such as the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG), allow CACLV to promote, support, and advocate for the stability, self-sufficiency, and success of all people in the community through the following focus areas:
Food and Nutrition: CACLV operates Second Harvest Food Bank of Lehigh Valley and Northeast Pennsylvania, an affiliate of Feeding America, and administers supplemental nutrition programs, The Seed Farm, and anti-poverty advocacy initiatives.
Housing: CACLV improves the quality of the housing stock and encourages home ownership through numerous programs and services including Sixth Street Shelter/Turner Street Apartments/Ferry Street Apartments, Home Ownership, Community Action Better Homes, and Housing Improvement.
Neighborhood Revitalization: CACLV helps neighborhoods thrive through subsidiaries Community Action Development Corporation of Allentown, Community Action Development Corporation of Bethlehem, Lehigh Valley Community Land Trust, and a regionally funded initiative known as Slate Belt Rising.
Business Start-Up and Development: CACLV supports entrepreneurs in the process of establishing or growing their own small businesses through subsidiary Rising Tide Community Loan Fund and a program known as Start Your Own Business.
Youth: CACLV empowers youth through the She Has Everything (SHE) program that assists girls in developing life skills that promote an interest in academic success and Generation Next that seeks to increase the college admission rate for lower-income high school graduates.
Advocacy: CACLV raises its voice through crisis response and policy in harmony with those who face injustice, despair, alienation, and a lack of opportunity, and is currently driving frank, action-oriented conversations about race among the Lehigh Valley’s most prominent leaders in industry, government, and education through the agency’s Color Outside the Lines and Campaign for Racial and Ethnic Justice initiatives.
COVID-19 Response: In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act which increased funding for the Community Services Block Grant, CACLV’s core funding. CACLV’s increased allocation from $1.4 million to $2.2 million enabled the agency to begin organizing in a challenged neighborhood on Bethlehem’s north side. It also enabled CACLV to expand and strengthen existing programs like SHE and Community Action Better Homes.
Governed by a 24-member board of directors and with a staff of 100, CACLV is an amalgamation of programs and four separately incorporated subsidiaries. The organization’s total FY21 budget is $30M, comprised of $13M in donated food, $7M in income from programs and services, $8M in government funding, and $2M in corporate, nonprofit, and foundation grants. CACLV has $9M in physical assets, primarily real estate, and $1 million in reserves. For more information, please visit https://www.caclv.org/.
During fiscal year 2019-2020, CACLV grew as an organization from $27 million to $30 million in revenue. As part of this growth, in 2020, CACLV and its subsidiaries:
- Increased food distribution to its pantry network by 45%. During the COVID crisis, the number of people served each month by the Second Harvest network skyrocketed from 60,000 to 79,000.
- Conducted over 70 implicit bias and cultural competency trainings, racial conversations, and educational sessions as part of the effort to create the Color Outside the Lines Racial Equity and Diversity Plan for the Lehigh Valley.
- Facilitated Generation Next for 236 underserved high school students to become the first in their families to pursue post-secondary education.
- Offered SHE (She Has Everything) to 44 girls in grades five through eight using programming designed to assist underserved girls in making the social transition from elementary to middle school.
- Made 38 loans, of which 15 went to woman-owned businesses and seven went to minority-owned businesses. Of the 38 loans, 23 went to businesses either owned by low- to moderate-income individuals or located in low- to moderate-income census tracts. The Rising Tide Community Loan Fund will finish the year with a $3.3 million loan portfolio.
- Conducted seven HUD-certified seminars for 178 prospective homebuyers, 150 of whom received certificates of completion.
- Coordinated rehabilitations for 22 low-income, Northampton County households through owner-occupied rehabilitation, including increasing safety, code compliance and energy efficiency.
See CACLV’s annual report for a more extensive list of CACLV’s accomplishments.
The new Executive Director will be passionate about leading and advancing the organization’s mission, will provide sound fiscal management, and will sustain positive relationships with the Board of Directors, staff, partners, and other stakeholders. S/he will relish the opportunity to advance CACLV’s mission by leveraging the agency’s substantial operational assets consisting of deep relationships, well-established programs, dedicated and experienced staff, and a solid operational budget.
The new Executive Director will not only maintain and grow existing programs, but will also lead the agency to recognize new challenges and new approaches to old challenges. Reporting to the Board of Directors, the Executive Director will:
- Spearhead initiatives that address the ongoing needs and drive a vision of the emerging needs of low-income residents of the Lehigh Valley.
- Facilitate and articulate the agency’s strategic planning, and public policy positions.
- Participate in the development and evaluation of all programs with senior staff and the Board, assuring outcomes and that programming conforms to quality expectations and priority needs.
- Understand the perspectives of and inspire confidence among local government, private businesses, and stakeholders that CACLV will continue to serve as an effective and reliable partner in making the Lehigh Valley a better place for all.
- Serve as the official spokesperson for the agency to the media and the general public.
- Oversee the implementation of the organization’s strategic marketing plan and measure its progress using key performance indicators.
- Ensure that CACLV reaches resource development goals necessary to achieve long-term sustainability while simultaneously meeting current operating needs.
- Oversee the development of the annual budget and maintain fiscal responsibility by monitoring program expenditures and financial statements.
- Educate, empower, and energize staff; attract and retain a productive workforce and conduct annual performance evaluations of senior staff with an eye toward their professional development and growth to develop leaders within the organization.
- Support the CACLV Board of Directors and its committees in order to enhance the organization’s ability to carry out its mission in the community.
- Serve as the Executive Director for all of CACLV’s subsidiaries and ensure that all activities align with CACLV’s strategic priorities.
Experience and Attributes
Ideal candidates for this position will share CACLV’s commitment to social and economic justice for the community and will bring a variety of experiences and attributes to the role, including, but not limited to:
- Demonstrated passion for CACLV’s mission and expertise in addressing issues related to community and economic development; devotion to the people that CACLV serves as a result of personal or professional exposure to individuals experiencing financial insecurity.
- Visionary and dynamic mindset to align multiple stakeholders around a common vision and related strategies; demonstrated experience conceptualizing and scaling cutting-edge ideas.
- Experience with or strong knowledge of any of the following: Community Reinvestment Act, Community Development Financial Institutions, Community Services Block Grants, or U.S. EDA Opportunity Zones.
- Demonstrated results in leading continuous fundraising activities.
- Masterful communication and excellent listening skills with a willingness to speak truth to power in clear and explicit terms among a wide range of constituents.
- Strong and persuasive advocacy skills for the people CACLV works with every day and for the resources necessary to achieve its mission and to encourage participation from those served.
- Deep commitment to racial equity; experience in confronting and dismantling systems of racial and ethnic inequalities and the policies that perpetuate them.
- A strong capacity to establish and build relationships with community, business, government, philanthropic and nonprofit leaders, along with the ability to collaborate with partners.
- Demonstrated aptitude for leading a high functioning, impactful nonprofit organization with multiple, diverse service/business lines and synthesizing its complexities; experience managing umbrella entities/organizations with subsidiaries a plus.
- History of developing and overseeing large, innovative programs and practices; demonstrated “outside-the-box” thinking on new ventures, goals, and methods.
- Strong business acumen, including strong financial management and contract negotiation skills; experience managing complex budgets.
- Experience leading, inspiring, and collaborating with a large, experienced staff; success in fostering staff leadership and professional development.
- Gravitas to inspire Board members, regulatory agencies, and members of the business community.
- A balance of confidence to take measured risk when solving problems and humility to recognize when such risks are not working out as planned; confidence to challenge and persuade people in power and humility to listen carefully to those who have limited perceived power.
- At least five years’ senior management experience preferred.
- Minimum of a BS or BA from an accredited college preferred, ideally in business, administration, law or the social sciences.
About the Lehigh Valley
Located 90 minutes north of Philadelphia and 90 minutes west of New York City, Lehigh Valley is a two-county region (Lehigh and Northampton) in eastern Pennsylvania comprised of 62 distinct municipalities and three cities: Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton. With a population approaching 700,000 in the two counties, the Lehigh Valley is the 70th largest metropolitan statistical area in the United States. Lehigh Valley has a balanced and diversified economy across unique settings, from rural to urban environments and everything in between.
Equal Opportunity Employer
CACLV provides equal employment opportunities without regard to race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, pregnancy or recent childbirth or related medical condition, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, age, disability, the use of a guide or support animal because of blindness, deafness or physical handicap of any individual, citizenship, veteran or military status, genetic information, marital status, familial status, domestic or sexual violence victim status, possession of a GED instead of a high school diploma, or any other protected characteristic under applicable federal, state or local laws.