Driving growth to help the underserved

ALAN JENNINGS, Executive director, Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley, Bethlehem

Jennings

No one ever accused Alan Jennings of wearing rose-colored glasses.

No one ever accused Alan Jennings of wearing rose-colored glasses.

As head of the Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley, a nonprofit based in Bethlehem, he has an unburnished view of how the have-nots and the working poor subsist below the poverty line in Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton.

At least on the surface, the city landscape is looking better, thanks to generous tax breaks that have attracted developers to Easton and especially Allentown.

“Lehigh Valley is working at it,” Jennings said. “I try every day, all day long to get our community to do differently for those who get left out.”

A coalition builder, Jennings works with businesses and governments in driving economic growth in underserved communities. It’s why he is considered one of the most influential people on business in the Greater Lehigh Valley.

However good the collective intentions of everyone, though, they are not changing the depressing economic data coming out of the cities.

“A lot of people who are working are still poor,” said Jennings, who has been with CACLV since 1980, the last 25 years as its executive director.

The numbers tell it all. In Allentown, one in 10 residents lives in poverty, according to the CACLV website.

“The problem is we are becoming an increasingly stratified society, and more and more people are understanding this is not a great thing,” Jennings said.

Despite reports to the contrary, Jennings said, the economy and housing in particular never really recovered from the Great Recession of 2008.

LVB Business Events

Business Growth Symposium

Thursday, June 13, 2019
Business Growth Symposium

2019 Health Care Symposium

Thursday, August 01, 2019
2019 Health Care Symposium

2019 CFO of the Year Awards

Wednesday, September 11, 2019
2019 CFO of the Year Awards

2019 Fastest Growing Companies Awards

Wednesday, October 23, 2019
2019 Fastest Growing Companies Awards