O'Pake Institute National Science Foundation EPIIC Grant

The Community Development Department within the O'Pake Institute serves as the crucial link between the University and the communities within Alvernia's footprint. Tasked with the responsibility of direct engagement, this department ensures that the voices and needs of the residents are heard and addressed. By fostering strong relationships and maintaining an active presence within the region, the department functions as the "boots on the ground," effectively interfacing with community members. Additionally, it acts as the primary avenue for delivering community-based training programs, aimed at empowering residents with skills and knowledge essential for personal and communal growth. Through these initiatives, the Community Development Department not only enhances individual capabilities but also contributes to the overall development and resilience of the communities it serves.

Interested in learning more? Contact Lizette Epps, Executive Director of Community and Economic Development, at lizette.epps@alvernia.edu

In This Section

O'Pake Institute



“My collaboration with the O’Pake Institute has changed the trajectory of my organization and the impact I have been able to have on the community. When O’Pake expressed its desire to help with The Forge, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I’m ecstatic at the support I have received, both financially and professionally, which was unmatched. They provided a location that was accessible to all demographics while keeping the reputable feel that goes with the backing of a well-respected institution. They saw the quality in The Forge and the impact it could have, and they didn’t just say they would help, they made it a mission to assist, and I don’t know where I would be without them. They created a team of dedicated individuals that helped from strategy to finance to marketing. This was all done in coordination with their mission to help grow small businesses because of the impact on the community.”

Ebony McNeil 
Founder and Executive Director, The Forge

Reading Cultural Coalition
O'Pake aims to bridge cultural gap in Reading
A cultural coalition will work to address numerous issues and work toward improvements.