Berks Alliance Accomplishments
Since the inception of the Berks Alliance in 2015 a great deal has been accomplished. We strive to impact our community in a positive way while collaborating with others to have a catalytic effect on desired outcomes across Berks County. Berks Alliance Accomplishments since inception:
Formation and Organization of the Alliance
- The concept grew out of the work of the Mission Leadership Task Force at Reading Health System. Created a Backbone Organization to focus on community development.
- Recruited Investors, the leaders of 20 anchor organizations in the community.
- Partnered with Greater Reading Chamber Alliance (GRCA) for Accounting and Back Office Services
Identified Vision, Mission and Initial Priorities
- Vision: Creating a brighter future through a healthier, more vibrant and prosperous community.
- Mission: The Berks Alliance serves as a catalyst for community development in the Greater Reading and Berks County Region. Anchored in our community, the Alliance investors appreciate that collectively they can employ their resources in creative ways to build a stronger community, while serving the interests of their organization.
- Initial targets for engagement:
- Fostering a Clean, Safe and Vibrant Urban Core
- Improving the Health and Wealth of the Community
- Enhancing Educational Attainment and Workforce Development
- Reading Façade Grant Program: $150,000 over three years generated
- Provided $123,000 in grants to property owners
- Generated nearly $500,000 in improvements to the core of the city
- Community Based Internship Program to develop and retain talent: $100,000 investment.
- Funding Operations and Façade Grants for 18th Ward Initiative, including the formation of a Business Association: $200,000 over 2 years.
- Developed Callow Hill RFP for the city and secured Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RCAP) authorization to support project development: $45,000
- Purchase of Motorcycles for Reading Police: $25,000
- Grant to Wyomissing for Bike / Pedestrian Path: $5,000
- $2,500 Funding for Downtown Center Conference
- Lead sponsor for Reading Rising, $5,000, which attracted 600 participants in two years.
- $10,000 Grant DID to Fund Greening on Penn Street
- Developed Passenger Rail RFP
- Developed Business Plan Competition: $70,000 grant
- The Berks Alliance assisted in securing $4 million in state funding for the Alvernia CollegeTowne Initiative.
- Agreed to Support Fair Redistricting in PA
- Meetings with state government leaders. Initiated several meetings with leaders in state government, including bringing Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) leadership to Reading. Strong interest in supporting local projects.
- Advocated locally and in Harrisburg for the improvements to the West Shore Bypass in a way that could enable connections between neighborhoods.
- Hosting an Internship Summit bringing together leaders of the 5 colleges and local employers to encourage internship opportunities.
Initiation of Community Conversations
- Hosted 4 Community Forums and 3 trips to other communities to explore community development activities by anchor institutions.
- Hosted 11 community forums over the last 22 months on a variety of topics.
- Developed Partnership with the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
- Planning a “Capital for Communities” seminar with the Federal Reserve Bank Philadelphia
Activities in Development
- Working with Wyomissing Foundation to help increase broadband access and use in Berks County
- Coordinating local efforts to develop an affordable and attainable Housing Initiative
- Recruitment of New Members
- Leadership Berks Strategic Planning Project