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LEAP Sessions

We’re proud to announce our 2023 LEAP Session season

Inspire bold new thinking with these free and powerful learning opportunities!

As the Community Foundation, we know that Lancaster County is at its most extraordinary when we’re all challenging ourselves to learn, grow, and find new (or time-tested) ways to develop ways to care for our community. We hope you will join us for one or all of these opportunities, and bring your questions, ideas, and hopes for taking this learning beyond the session into our shared work of building a more equitable future for our community!

We will be offering English captioning, Spanish & ASL interpretation, and Spanish Transcription. For any other accommodations, please contact [email protected] as soon as possible.

2024 LEAP Sessions


Lancaster County’s Racial Equity Profile: Where Are We?

Relying on data from Lancaster County’s Equity Profile, participants will learn self-awareness and data practice skills to use data effectively, as well as how to identify, address, and redress disproportionality and inequities within our diverse community.


2023 LEAP Sessions

Friday, OCTOBER 27, 2023

How We Show Up: Centering Student Voices to Liberate Us All

Through facilitated dialogue with JP McCaskey students, we will bear witness to the wisdom of our youth in navigating learning within Pennsylvania’s educational systems. Their lived experiences and perspectives will help us humanize the local and state data that shows Pennsylvania as having one of the most severe and persistent opportunity gaps in education. The healing-centered space created for this dialogue will help us begin to reimagine the possibilities and move with strategic intention to center student voice and use it as a necessary tool to liberate us all.

About the Presenter

Dr. Amber M. Sessoms is the Founder and Chief Visionary Officer (CVO) of Natural Inclination LLC, where she supports courageous leaders in cultivating liberatory spaces for individuals to be their full, authentic selves. Through a strengths-based approach, Amber invites her learners to (re)discover their natural inclinations by utilizing her 3D Power Tools framework to guide participants on a self-awareness journey to (re)examine the narratives that tell us our differences are bad or undesirable, thereby leading us to betray ourselves and others. To facilitate dignity-affirming spaces, she intentionally centers the voices of historically devalued children, caretakers, educators, and communities by inviting all learners to write a new story centered on belonging, truth, and healing.

Amber is a nationally certified school psychologist and a doctorate-level adult educator, who has over 20 years of experience within the educational and mental health sectors. In 2020, she became the first person of color to be awarded Pennsylvania School Psychologist of the Year by the Association of School Psychologists of Pennsylvania. She is now the first person of color to lead this organization as President. Amber also serves on the Board of Trustees for Millersville University, as well as vice-chair of Diversity Inclusion Professionals of Central Pennsylvania; and co-director of Pennsylvania’s Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Taskforce, in partnership with the Department of Education.


Friday, April 14, 2023

First Steps in Building a Sustainable Career

It can be difficult to jump-start your career, whether you have received education and training or are jumping right into a new workforce. In this workshop, we will be discussing how to get started on your new path and how to sustain yourself long-term in your chosen career. It starts with how to advocate for yourself when you are starting your career, regardless of the field you’re in or how much experience you have. This includes career exploration, resume building, and how to adapt to change. Once you start your new career, you also must learn how to sustain yourself through reflecting on your values and creating professional and personal boundaries

About the Presenters


Samuel Soliman

Currently a freelance photographer, filmmaker, producer, co-founder and Creative Director of The Hood Hippie Love Yourself, a clothing brand focused on mental wellness. He has worked in the Lancaster community and beyond for many years, honing his skills and “curiosity photography”. Sam continues to do his work with aspirations to provide accessible opportunities to the arts for youth to discover their own passions and to create an open dialogue on mental health through art. His work focuses on building stronger online media presence for businesses, organizations, and individuals, generating creative visions and effective marketing campaigns. Sam’s art has been featured in a number of locations, including photographs at local gallery shows, city-wide video campaigns, and even as big as digital billboards in Times Square.

David Castro Jr.

25 years old and currently resides in Millersville PA. They are originally from Newark, NJ and lived there until they moved to Lancaster, PA to attend Franklin & Marshall College in 2016. David always had a love for mathematics and engineering in high school, which led them to major in Mathematics. Their love for Japanese culture led them to study Japanese all 4 years in college. David came out as gay in college, and having a passion in mathematics and wanting to see more people like themselves in the classroom, they pursued Education as a career in 2019. David was a mathematics teacher for a private high school in Lancaster PA for 3 years. Being an educator was something they enjoyed because they wanted to break the common fears of mathematics, but also show representation of being queer and Hispanic in higher education. Recently, this year David changed their career path to become a business data analyst.



2022 LEAP Sessions

Friday, February 18:


The session explores the differences between equity and equality in the pursuit of justice, and the shifts needed to make a greater impact for minoritized populations.

Ms. Ricks will lead attendees in clarifying the historical, political, and societal need for equity work in 21st century leadership.

Communicating With An Equity Lens PA Office of Advocacy & Reform  Información en español

DEI Common Language Worksheet PA Office of Advocacy & Reform  PowerPoint Presentation

Venus L. Ricks, M.Ed, Director, DEI, Commonwealth of PA

Venus L. Ricks is a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion professional for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. She holds a B.A. in Sociology from Susquehanna University and a M.Ed. in Higher Education Administration from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her work is focused on leadership through the lens of civic responsibility, anti-oppression, equity, and justice. She uses a socialization to liberation model in creating equitable spaces for minoritized bodies to thrive. Ms. Ricks’ experience crosses several sectors—higher education, workforce development, psychological research, and the nonprofit sector—working with groups and individuals in being anti-oppressive in their homes, workspaces, and communities.


Friday, April 15

The Fundamentals of Relationship Fundraising

Relationship Fundraising – widely known as major gifts – is a critical element of a robust fundraising strategy. Yet, many nonprofits neglect to give it the focus that it requires. Join Mark Duncan, Founder and CEO of The FundCoach, LLC, as he shares a 6-step engagement strategy to building a successful relationship fundraising program.
You will know how to leverage other fundraising activities to grow philanthropy and understand how to recognize the barriers to success so you can avoid them.

Mark Duncan, Fundraising Coach , The Fund Coach, LLC

Mark L. Duncan is a seasoned fundraising professional with over 20 years of fundraising management experience. Throughout his career, Mark has managed multimillion-dollar capital and special campaigns with a particular strength in cultivating and securing large contributions from major donors. During his tenure at Millersville University, he led a $60 million capital campaign and two focused campaigns totaling over $16 million for the University’s School of Education and Athletics. Mark brings over 30 years of experience in the nonprofit sector from a wide range of organizations that include camp and conference ministry, higher education, K-12 education, public media and healthcare. Mark has also served on multiple nonprofit boards including the United Way of Lancaster County, York County Economic Alliance (YCEA), Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) District II, and Johnsonburg Presbyterian Center. Mark is a graduate of Rowan University in Glassboro, NJ and resides in Wilmington, Delaware.

Friday, May 20

Grasping at the Root: We Must Continue Advocating for Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging 

Watch Dr. Amber Sessions and Adam Hosey as they explore advocating for equity, inclusion, and belonging.



Dr. Amber Sessoms, Principal and Founder at Natural Inclination, LLC 







Adam Hosey, Chief Equity Officer, YWCA Lancaster 




Friday, July 15

Achieving Equity When Implementing Workplace Policies

This workshop will provide leadership and policy teams a framework for effectively centering equity in policy development and implementation. Through a collaborative discussion using a 4-question framework (Why are we creating a policy? Who’s impacted? What are the rules? Did we write a good policy?) participants will be led through the process of reviewing and implementing a policy from an equity perspective.

Jessica Purdy, CEO & Founder 

FIC Human Resource Partners 




CANCELLED: Friday, August 19

Due to a scheduling conflict, this LEAP session has been canceled. We’re sorry for any inconvenience, and look forward to seeing you at our next session.






David Cazares, pre-med and undocumented student, Franklin & Marshall College 

Clinical Research/Medical Assistant, Center for Interventional Pain & Spine 






Friday, October 14

Join Melissa Hawkins and Kendra Barlet as they advocate for the equity and belonging of individuals with hearing disabilities.

Ever wonder what it’s like to read lips when you’re deaf & hard of hearing, or why it’s important to have subtitles during zoom meetings? Melissa Hawkins estimates that about 1.5 million people in Pennsylvania are deaf or hard of hearing. “In times of crisis, it is especially critical that we consider the needs of all people to access and understand important information about their health and safety,” Hawkins states.

In her role as director of Pennsylvania’s Office for the Deaf & Hard of Hearing (ODHH) within L&I’s Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR), Melissa Hawkins collaborated with the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) and Department of Health to bring critical information to Pennsylvanians who are deaf and hard of hearing to keep them informed of the latest information related to COVID-19 and the Wolf Administration’s efforts to protect Pennsylvanians.

Friday, December 2

Mindfulness and Health in Black Family Settings

Join Dr. Kesha Morant-Williams present the value of mindfulness and health in black family settings.

Dr. Kesha Morant-Williams is an Associate Professor of Communication Arts & Sciences. She teaches courses including research methods, interpersonal, health and African American communication.

2021 LEAP Sessions

Thursday, March 18:


April 14 LEAP Session presenter, Sophia Peake, Development/Operations Coordinator, Youth Sentencing and Reentry Project Nonprofit staff of color often feel like they must cope by avoiding any form of white discomfort, learning to make white people feel at ease when confronted with racism or bias. Join us to learn what you can do to remove unconscious bias from hiring, change your internal culture to match your external branding, and make your staff comfortable showing up as their true selves every day. 

Sophia Peake, Development/Operations Coordinator, Youth Sentencing and Reentry Project


April 14 LEAP Session speaker, Valerie Johnson, Director of Institutional Advancement, Pathways to Housing PA, Contributor at Valerie Johnson, Director of Institutional Advancement, Pathways to Housing PA, Contributor at

Download the handout


Wednesday, April 14:

Building an Organization of Belonging

Inclusion isn’t enough.

To ensure equitable representation, organizations must orient themselves around belonging. They must move away from trying to have folks assimilate into an existing culture that didn’t take them into consideration from the start. Instead, they should co-create with people of the different lived experiences they want to attract with their culture or programs to ensure their desires and needs are addressed in the culture.

Join Cheryl Thompson-Morton of the Lenfest Institute for Journalism to learn how you can build an organization centered on fostering belonging to work towards a shared future.

Download the slides

Link to panel discussion cited in presentation:

Link to all BEYOND Sessions mentioned in presentation:

Wednesday, May 12:


Headshot of AmerLanguage justice can improve communication between service providers and the Limited English Proficient (LEP) recipients. Around the world, organizations are recognizing the importance of informing a team’s decision-making process, while serving LEPs. During this presentation, we will explore language justice in an interactive wayequipping participants with tools and resources to successfully serve community needs. 

Purpose: One of the critical components in a successful Language Access Plan implementation is to have staff members’ buy-in. Staff members across the organization must work together to provide a positive experience for everyone, no matter what language they speak, and this is language justice.

Amer Al Fayadh, CHI Founder, 


Friday, June 11:


Most non-profit organizations are mission driven and function to serve the needs of their communities. Words matter, but action is expected from those serving in leadership roles of these organizations. Are you living up to that commitment? Last year was a tipping point for all organizations who were not only impacted by COVID-19 but also faced with civil unrest and racial reckoning after the murder of George Floyd. This session will focus on the importance of authentic leadership during challenging times. Are you modeling the way or are you complicit? Let’s figure it out together. 

Shawn Boynes, FASAE, CAE, Executive Director, American Association for Anatomy 


Friday, August 13:


Peri Jude and Imani will offer their experience and perspective on equity for people with disabilities, opportunities for organizations and communities to create a more equitable and accessible reality for everyone, and the intersectionality of visible and invisible disabilities with race, gender, and other lived experiences.  

Purpose: Attendees will have a greater understanding of invisible and visible disabilities, how disability rights and experience intersect with race, socioeconomic realities, gender, and sex, why it matters to consider how our spaces and practice are or aren’t accessible to everyone, and opportunities to implement equity. 

Peri Jude Radecic, CEO, Disability Rights PA 

Imani Barbarin, Director of Communications and OutreachDisability Rights PA 


Friday, September 10:


As organizations commit to governing through a lens of equity by examining internal and external processes, it is critical to interrupt the beliefs that create policies and drive the practices that impede organizations from being racially conscious and culturally relevant. This session will focus on how to systematically change inequitable practices that perpetuate an environment of non-inclusion of all stakeholders. Participants will be guided to lead through processes deepening a shared belief as a governing body. 

Deborah L. Keys WriteFounder, The Write Keys 2 Consulting, LLC , National Board Governance Consultant, Equity Transformation Specialist 


Tuesday, December 14:


Moravian Center of Lancaster and Islamic Community Center of Lancaster began sharing a space back in 2020. Since then, they have found ways to take this opportunity to build and foster their organizations relationship beyond just sharing a space. Join Mandy and Mukaram as they tell the story of how they have been able to communicate to understand each others beliefs, and how they have gone beyond that to build bridges between their organizations and the people they serve.


“I believe I love because I am loved, which drives my commitment to be a channel for people to believe they are worthy to receive, demonstrate, and express that love, and to be a support for them to discover how to live into and out of that love.”

Mandy M. Mastros is the pastor at the Moravian Center of Lancaster: Lancaster Moravian Church in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. She is the chaplain for the Moravian Center Adult Day Program, which serves seniors with memory support needs. Mandy serves on the boards of Moravian Manor Communities and Lanc Co MyHome. She graduated in 2017 with her Masters of Divinity degree from Moravian Theological Seminary and with her Masters of Social Work degree from Marywood University. She was ordained in the Moravian Church in October of 2017. Mandy is a licensed social worker in the state of Pennsylvania. Mandy is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Ministry through Lancaster Theological Seminary.  She has lived her entire life in Lancaster County and feels blessed to be serving in a community that for so long has been home to her. She lives with her ten-year-old rescue dog Edna. She is passionate about community connections and resource building, with the goal of making sure all God’s children have access to basic necessities including housing, food, safety, and belonging. In her limited spare time, Mandy enjoys reading, cross-stitching, spending time with friends and loved ones, and singing. 

Mandy M. Mastros, Pastor, Moravian Center of Lancaster

Mukaram Syed, a chemical engineer by profession is also one of the founding members and Board of Trustees of Islamic Community Center of Lancaster. He is very involved with community outreach, inter-faith activities, teaches several Islamic courses and is also the Principal at Weekend Sunday Islamic School. Mukaram actively holds several educational seminars at various local schools and colleges covering topics of Islamic faith and practices.
Mukaram Syed, Board Member, Islamic Community Center of Lancaster

2019 LEAP Sessions

February 22:

Building Beloved Community Through Equitable & Inclusive CBOs

“Organizations and businesses are waking up to the reality that diversity and inclusion is an asset and it requires work. We get the culture we create in the workplace and in our communities. It is all about intentionality to build a truly equitable, welcoming and inclusive business, institution and organization that goes beyond diversity. We will better understand how we can truly build resilient, equitable and just organizations and businesses that create real and lasting impact and change in our communities and society. We will develop specific ways to champion diversity, equity and inclusion within your organization or business on interpersonal and systemic levels. This interactive workshop will center Beloved Community and will offer real guidelines to assist in building a framework that truly shifts power structures, so that our institutions and organizations can truly thrive and mirror the culturally vibrant world we live in.”

June 06:

Design Thinking to Amplify Community Voice

Human Centered Design: it’s a concept you’ve probably heard, but may not know much about how it can be applied to your work. Come learn about the ways that Design Thinking and Human-Centered Design can help shape your work in the public sector, and how it can be harnessed to drive organic, exciting, community change!  Facilitated by F&M professors Kerry Sherin Wright and Etienne Gagnon.


July 11:

Amplifying CBO and Business Partnerships

“Whether it’s a sponsorship for an event, or a longterm partnership, we all know that forging successful partnerships with the business community is key to being a successful CBO. But how do you cultivate them? Hear from local business leaders in the Lancaster community about the kinds of things they look for in CBO partnership so you can improve your asks, and your results!”


August 23:

Boosting ExtraGive Donors

“Tool up on all the exciting new and returning features for Lancaster County’s largest day of giving: the Extraordinary Give! 

Learn from the Community Foundation team about ways to engage your audience, harness the exciting new platform features, and go the EXTRA mile on November 22!”


October 25:

After the End

“City Councilman Ismail Smith Wade-El  shares his story about planning for leaving legacy as a young person, in honor of his mother. Death, as we know it, is not the end. The passing of a loved one raises challenges for families and communities – and untold opportunities complicated by questions of identity. In this LEAP session, attendees will collaboratively develop knowledge and courage around the new beginnings that loss offers us.”


December 13:

Becoming an Approachable and Welcoming CBO

“Work Wisdom’s approach to fostering an equitable workplace focuses on constructive, evidence-based practices that foster bias-free organizations. Our attention is placed on what is positive and even profitable about widely diverse teams and the research of neuroscientists which has discovered that a culture which embraces Fairness is powerfully motivating. This workshop will help you as a leader to enhance your awareness and hiring for fairness, improve career development opportunities that cultivate inclusiveness, and help your organization live into the value of equity. Speakers: Jaime Arroyo, Sarah Colantonio, Donunshae Sanders”

Looking for other ways to connect?

Grant Information Sessions

Sign up for upcoming grant information sessions and see recordings of past webinars to learn more about each grant program.

CBO Sustainability

Build a sustainable source of income for your organization forever.