Allentown, PA – During her tenure as Chair of United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley (UWGLV) Board of Directors, Joanne H. Raphael’s leadership and vision guided the organization during unprecedented times as our community recovered from the pandemic. Under her leadership, UWGLV united more donors and partners leading to a record-breaking campaign investment in organizational history and launched vital community services and programs such as Full Cart Virtual Food Pantry and T.R.E.E (Trauma-Informed, Restorative Practices, Emotional Intelligence and Equity) Workshop. Ms. Raphael, PPL Corporation retiree, served as United Way’s Board Chair since July 2020.
“Joanne demonstrated a deep commitment to creating a stronger community for every person in the Greater Lehigh Value during her time as Board Chair,” stated David Lewis, President, UWGLV. “Her passion pushes us to be even better stewards for this community and we couldn’t do this work with her help and support.”
Ms. Raphael will remain on the UWGLV Board and a member of the executive committee as the immediate past board chair.
Also ending their tenure on the board are Peter Ruggiero, Ashley Russo and Joseph Topper.
Peter Ruggiero has been a member of UWGLV’s board since 2009. Mr. Ruggiero is Chief Operating Officer for Crayola LLC, the global leading consumer products brand in the children’s creative expression category. Mr. Ruggiero began his career with Deloitte & Touche and Union Pacific Corporation. At Crayola, Mr. Ruggiero has been a key part of a senior leadership team that has transformed Crayola into an innovation company and diversified its business model through its expansion into international markets and by opening multiple Crayola Experience locations. In addition to his involvement with the United Way, he also serves the community as a Trustee of Lafayette College.
Ashley Russo has been a member of the board since 2014 and has been named UWGLV’s 2022-23 Campaign Co-Chair alongside her husband Joe, and Vince Sorgi and his wife Michelle. President and owner of ASR Media Productions, Ms. Russo is a four-time Emmy® award-winning executive producer and on-air host. Along with the UWGLV, Ms. Russo sits on the boards of Children’s Home of Easton, the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce, and Hospital Central Services, Inc.& Affiliates (HCSC). She is an active committee member, supporting the NCC Foundation, Wildlands Conservancy, Equili-brium, American Heart Association, and United Way Women United.
Joseph Topper has been member of UWGLV’s Board since 2019 Mr. Topper currently runs the Topper Family office and is Chairman of The Board of CrossAmerica Partners, a company taken public in October 2012 under the name of Lehigh Gas Partners. He is on the Board of Directors of CoastalSouth Bancshares, Inc. and Coastal States Bank. He is the former Chairman of the Board of Trustees for Villanova University, Lehigh Valley PBS, and the Lehigh Valley PBS Foundation. Mr. Topper also served as a board member for the Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Hospital in Allentown.
UWGLV would also like to acknowledge and thank Dr. Carlos Hodges for his leadership during his tenure. Dr. Hodges was a member of the UWGLV board since 2014 and resigned in December 2021. He is an owner and surgeon at Valley Central Veterinary Referral and Emergency Center and has been caring for pets in the Lehigh Valley area since 1996. Dr. Hodges co-hosts the Animal Doctor Show on Channel 69 WFMZ-TV Allentown, with Kathy Craine. He is also a frequent participant on MyFox Philly 29 and WCAU-TV Philadelphia. Dr. Hodges has hosted a Wednesday’s Foster Child segment sponsored by Freddie Mac from WCAU-TV Philadelphia. The segment won the PVMA’s Media Award in 2004.