In 2003, the Lake Effect Leaders project began as The Children & Youth AmeriCorps VISTA Project of Northwestern Pennsylvania. As a collaborative effort of Allegheny College, Edinboro University, Gannon University and Mercyhurst college, the project was built to serve nonprofit agencies addressing the needs of undeserved children and youth living in Erie and Crawford counties. Three years later, the project transformed into The Lake Effect Leaders AmeriCorps VISTA project in 2006.
Today, the Lake Effect Leaders is a multi-county intermediary AmeriCorps VISTA Program Grant that serves as a pipeline for nonprofit leadership development. Led by a partnership consisting of Allegheny College, Gannon University, and Mercyhurst University, the program professionally equips VISTA members to serve critical capacity-building functions in nonprofit organizations in order to eliminate poverty. 26 VISTA members are currently serving with the project.
Lake Effect Leaders strives to build the next generation of nonprofit leaders for Northwestern Pennsylvania by harnessing the skills and passions of recent college graduates, as well as training and mentoring in best practices of nonprofit management.