History of I-LEAD

The Institute for Leadership Education, Advancement, and Development, Inc. (or I-LEAD) is a Pennsylvania nonprofit that has served as a force for community leadership development since 1995. David Castro is the President of I-LEAD and its Chief Executive Officer.

From 1995 through 2005, I-LEAD served as the lead training partner for Urban Genesis, Inc., focusing primarily on the development of community leaders in Philadelphia. From 2001 through 2005, I-LEAD served as the lead training partner for the Pennsylvania Weed and Seed program. In this capacity, through a multi-year grant exceeding $2 million, I-LEAD delivered leadership and organizational development training, as well as related technical assistance services, to faith-based and community organizations in sixteen Pennsylvania cities. The program included not only thousands of hours of leadership and organizational development training delivered on-site to cohorts of grassroots faith-based and community leaders, but also ongoing technical assistance, including regional conferences and the provision of mini-grants to support the leadership development and organizational capacity-building objectives of the program.

In 2001, with support from the Comcast Foundation, I-LEAD developed a comprehensive technology curriculum and incorporated it into all of its programming.  With grants exceeding $1 million received from the Pennsylvania Department of Health through the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Minority Health, I-LEAD established its community health programming. Since 2003, I-LEAD has provided health advocacy leadership programs, community health worker training, bio-preparedness, CNA and VESL training and education through grassroots and community organizations which serve predominantly minority neighborhoods throughout Central and Southeastern Pennsylvania.At the behest of adult trainees seeking college credit for their coursework, I-LEAD translated its leadership training into an accredited

At the behest of adult trainees seeking college credit for their coursework, I-LEAD translated its leadership training into an accredited two year college program 2005 in collaboration with Harcum College. ACE was piloted at the Chester Education Foundation in Chester, PA and now operates cohorts in Philadelphia, Upper Darby, Coatesville, and Reading, PA with large social service agencies: Congreso de Latinos Unidos, Chester Education Foundation, Resources for Human Development (RHD); faith and community based organizations: Deliverance Evangelistic Church, E3 West Youth Opportunity Center, Life Transforming Ministries, Upper Darby Community Outreach Corporation; and secondary schools: I-LEAD Charter School, One Bright Ray, Universal Audenried Charter High School, School District of Philadelphia Administration building.

As a result of these intensive programs, I-LEAD has been able to build close contacts and relationships with numerous grassroots, faith-based and community organizations across Pennsylvania, spanning small cities, larger urban areas, and the rural communities that connect them. In the West, I-LEAD’s geographic focus has included Erie and Pittsburgh, as well as the smaller communities of Sharon and Farrell, McKeesport, New Kensington and Arnold, Aliquippa, and Wilkinsburg. It has included the Central Pennsylvania and “222 Corridor” communities in Harrisburg, York, Lancaster, Reading, Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton. It has also included the Southeastern Pennsylvania communities of Coatesville, Norristown, Chester and Philadelphia. While other organizations may be able to match this geographic scope, few can claim with credibility to have penetrated and built substantial relationships at the grassroots level. The several thousand strong alumni of I-LEAD—including political leaders and numerous leaders of small organizations and faith congregations across Pennsylvania—form a potent network for serving the public good.