Grantee Highlight: United Neighborhood Centers of Northeastern Pennsylvania

Jun - Fri - 2020
June 12, 2020


United Neighborhood Centers of Northeastern Pennsylvania.

Grant awarded:

$42,150 for community health planning

Community Health Planning Grant

As the region continues the transition to managed care for health, behavioral and waiver services, Lisa Durkin, Chief Executive Officer of United Neighborhood Centers of Northeastern Pennsylvania (UNC), and her team decided to ask some important questions:

  • How can we improve service delivery in light of this new transition?
  • How do we develop a strong plan before implementing a program change?
  • Who can help us to achieve our objectives?

An outside consultant, Durkin decided, would be best suited to helping the organization address these questions. Durkin and her team applied for a community health planning grant for $42,150 from Moses Taylor Foundation to partner with a consulting agency for guidance.

After enlisting the services of XtraGlobex, UNC's Community Health Department, which provides care coordination services, facilitates free screenings, and offers health education programs to the community, began building upon its service coordination role. Working with XtraGlobex is helping UNC prepare for credentialing with three Pennsylvania managed care organizations (MCOs): AmeriHealth Caritas, PA Health and Wellness and UPMC.

“It’s been going wonderfully,” Durkin said. “With the help of our consultant, we hope to create a product to sell to the MCOs in early 2020, and that way, the program will be self-sustaining.”

The consultant has helped UNC revise and restructure existing policies; support development of communication strategies within the community regarding waiver services; and identify training opportunities for service coordinators.

“We are at a crossroads with the program now,” she said. “We never questioned the value of it and what it does, but we need to know that these MCOs feel it is valuable enough to partner with us.”

While the outcome remains to be seen, Jessica Wallo, Vice President of Programs and Services, believes preparation and planning around this initiative has already paid off.

“The process has really brought us together even further,” Wallo said, adding that the agency’s department directors now feel more professionally connected to their colleagues, more aware of the impact that each department has on the community and more involved in holistic service delivery.

Looking ahead, Durkin, Wallo and the rest of their team hope to schedule multiple meetings with MCOs. If all goes well, they expect UNC to be contracted to begin new services in mid to later 2020.


How to Hire and Work with Consultants: An excerpt from Succeeding with Consultants by Barbara Kibbe and Fred Setterberg.

Working with Consultants: A great set of resources from S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation to help nonprofits successfully engage and work with consultants.

Capacity Building Older Adult Isolation Responsive Grantmaking