More than 18,500 donors and partners united to raise a record-breaking $22,642,018 during United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley’s (UWGLV) annual fundraising campaign. The campaign was chaired with remarkable dedication and leadership from Vince Sorgi, president and CEO of PPL Corp., and Ashley Russo, president and owner of ASR Media Productions, and their spouses, Michelle Sorgi and Joe Russo, MD. This represents the largest annual campaign in the organization’s 100+ year history and 13 consecutive years of growth.
“Early on in our campaign, we saw the ripple effects of the pandemic starting to truly impact our community. Families are finding it hard to meet their basic needs, schools are overwhelmed, and there is a measurable shift in the needs of older adults. Campaign contributions provide critical services to meet these needs and develop long-term solutions,” said Russo.
The housing crisis in our community has increased due to many factors, including the past two years’ health and economic crises. With an increasing number of people experiencing homelessness and serious financial instability in the region, the PPL Foundation partnered to create Be a Housing Hero. In honor of every new or increased gift to United Way, PPL Foundation made an additional contribution to aid neighbors and families experiencing housing insecurity. As a result, almost $3 million more was donated.
“PPL Foundation’s pledge of up to $500,000 will provide support for thousands of people who are experiencing homelessness or housing insecurity right here in the communities we serve,” stated Sorgi. “By partnering with United Way, we know that these funds will be invested into organizations whose missions align with addressing housing insecurity through prevention and intervention.”
The support includes the creation of a new no- to low-barrier rental assistance program. Developed in partnership with Lehigh Valley Regional Homeless Advisory Board, the program will provide up to three months to help families stay in their homes.
“Because of caring supporters, over 46,000 people will receive emergency services such as housing and disaster relief; nearly 27,000 people will have access to healthy and nutritious food; over 45,000 students will have better opportunities to thrive in school,” said David Lewis, President, United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley.
“We are grateful for each and every person who stepped up to create lasting and measurable change in the Greater Lehigh Valley, and we’d especially like to thank Vince, Michelle, Ashley and Joe for rallying unparalleled support,” said Lewis.
In all, more than 18,500 individual donors and 300 partners contributed to the annual campaign, which ran from April 2022 to March 2023. PPL Corp.’s employees, retirees and corporate foundation have contributed more than $6,000,000—the first in UWGLV’s history; Air Products raised more than $5,000,000 for the second consecutive year; City Center Allentown and Crayola each donated more than $1,000,000. Their continued support helps raise the bar for our work in the community.
“Together with the Board, your United Way identified three new and bold goals to ensure our community is stable and strong with increased access to food, housing, mental health and emergency services. The investments that United Way is making in our community would not be possible without the unwavering support and trust of our donors and partners. Their investments are well-spent, are well-stewarded and are making a direct impact on one in every six people in Lehigh, Northampton and Carbon Counties,” said UWGLV Board Chair Dorota Gasienica-Kozak, Partner, King, Spry, Herman, Freund & Faul, LLC Law Firm.
United Way announced the results today during Celebration of Caring, presented by Crayola. The event celebrates and honors organizations and individuals who have made a significant impact in the community in partnership with United Way. Award recipients included:
PPL LIVE UNITED Award – Brown-Daub Dealerships
Community Builder Award – Lehigh Valley Planning Commission
Campaign Chairs’ Award – Tony Salvaggio and Tom and Destiny Salvaggio
Air Products Leonard Pool Impact Award– Greater Easton Development Partnership
Labor Achievement Award – Gregg Potter, Capital Blue Cross
Valued community partners in sponsorship for this year’s Celebration of Caring include:
Presenting sponsor – Crayola
Platinum sponsor – PPL Corp.
Silver sponsor – Air Products
Bronze sponsors – Capital Blue Cross, Fulton Bank, Just Born Quality Confections, Olympus Corporation
Pearl sponsor – Members 1st Federal Credit Union
In-kind contributors – ASR Media Productions, Rich Mar Florist, Working Dog Press