Who We Are
Through vibrant grassroots partnerships that deliver leadership development and post-secondary education, I-LEAD engages and works alongside low-income residents aspiring to achieve economic and social equity, to help them liberate their full potential.
Our team shares a deep sense of solidarity with our clients and are aware of the challenges of overcoming economic deprivation and social isolation arising from systems of oppression and structural racism. Our clients experience these challenges as inequitable access to support for educational and economic achievement, to social and business opportunities, and to social and financial capital. Our clients live within urban neighborhoods of color in Southeast/Central Pennsylvania, extending from Philadelphia in the East to Lancaster and Coatesville in the West.
From 1995 through 2005, I-LEAD served as the lead training partner for Urban Genesis, Inc., focusing primarily on the development of community leaders in Philadelphia. From 2001 through 2005, I-LEAD served as the lead training partner for the Pennsylvania Weed and Seed program. Through a multi-year grant exceeding $2 million, I-LEAD delivered leadership and organizational development training, and related technical assistance services to faith-based and community organizations in 16 Pennsylvania cities. The program included not only thousands of hours of leadership and organizational development training delivered on-site to cohorts of grassroots faith-based and community leaders, but also ongoing technical assistance, including regional conferences and the provision of mini-grants to support the leadership development and organizational capacity-building objectives of the program.
In 2001, with support from the Comcast Foundation, I-LEAD developed a comprehensive technology curriculum and incorporated it into all of its programming. With grants exceeding $1 million received from the Pennsylvania Department of Health through the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Minority Health, I-LEAD established its community health programming. Since 2003, I-LEAD has provided health advocacy leadership programs, community health worker training, bio-preparedness, CNA and Vocational ESL training. The training was offered through grassroots and community organizations which serve predominantly minority neighborhoods throughout Central and Southeastern Pennsylvania.
At the behest of adult trainees seeking college credit for their coursework, I-LEAD translated its leadership training into an accredited two year college program in 2005 in collaboration with Harcum College. ACE was piloted at the Chester Education Foundation in Chester, PA and now operates cohorts in Philadelphia, Coatesville, Lancaster, and Reading, PA. ACE Partners are large social service agencies such as Congreso de Latinos Unidos and the Spanish American Civic Association, and faith and community based organizations such as Deliverance Evangelistic Church and Life Transforming Ministries.
As a result of these intensive programs, I-LEAD has been able to build close contacts and relationships with numerous grassroots, faith-based and community organizations across Pennsylvania, spanning small cities, larger urban areas, and the rural communities that connect them. In the West, I-LEAD’s geographic focus has included Erie and Pittsburgh, as well as the smaller communities of Sharon and Farrell, McKeesport, New Kensington and Arnold, Aliquippa, and Wilkinsburg. It has included the Central Pennsylvania and “222 Corridor” communities in Harrisburg, York, Lancaster, Reading, Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton. It has also included the Southeastern Pennsylvania communities of Coatesville, Norristown, Chester and Philadelphia. While other organizations may be able to match this geographic scope, few can claim with credibility to have penetrated and built substantial relationships at the grassroots level. The several thousand strong alumni of I-LEAD—including political leaders and numerous leaders of small organizations and faith congregations across Pennsylvania—form a potent network for serving the public good.
Since 2005 at I-LEAD’s founding site in Chester, PA
associate degrees earned
of graduates report higher income
earned bachelor’s degrees
Significant Partners and Clients
- Berks County
- Bucks County Drug and Alcohol Coalition
- Center for Minority Health (University of Pittsburgh)
- Chester Education Foundation
- Chester Housing Authority
- Community Leadership Institute
- Community and Police Interracial Task Force
- City of Philadelphia
- City of Reading
- County of Lehigh
- County of York
- Friends of Recovery New Jersey
- Henry Schein, Inc.
- Kellogg Fellows
- National Leadership Alliance
- Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency
- Pennsylvania Department of Aging
- Pennsylvania Department of Education
- Pennsylvania Department of Health
- Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry
- Philadelphia Development Partnership
- Pottstown Area Health and Wellness Foundation
- Reading School District
- South Central Workforce Investment Board
- Temple University
- United States Department of Agriculture
- United States Department of Justice
- Widener University
- The Philadelphia Foundation
- Patricia Kind Foundation
- Ethel Sergeant Smith Foundation
- The Community Foundation of Delaware County
- Centers for Disease Control
- Comcast Foundation
- ECMC Foundation
- Fels Fund
- James L. and John S. Knight Foundation
- Memton Fund
- United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey
- Urban Genesis, Inc.
- W. K. Kellog Foundation
- Wachovia Regional Foundation (formerly the First Union Foundation)