The Commission on Economic Opportunity has been part of NEPA since 1966

WILKES-BARRE — The Commission on Economic Opportunity (CEO) is a private, non-profit organization serving Northeastern Pennsylvania.

The CEO offers many programs, including food and nutrition, housing and homelessness, utility assistance and energy conservation, that support low-income families in poverty.

Last year, CEO, through the Weinberg Regional Food Bank and its network of more than 250 partners, distributed healthy and nutritious food to more than 8,000 families throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania.

“2022 has been a tough year for our neighbors here in Northeastern Pennsylvania,” said Gene Brady, the company’s executive director. “The rising cost of food has made it almost impossible for thousands of families living on the border to feed their families. The same challenges face the CEO when we request donated food and purchase food in bulk to meet those needs. The generosity of our community—like this gift from the Times Leader and Weis Markets—is what makes our work possible.”

Mary Ellen Spelman, CEO of the Weinberg Regional Food Bank, said the food bank works with more than 250 agencies — faith-based, private and public — to make healthy food available to everyone in need.

“We collect food from all components of the food system, from producers to distributors, retailers and even consumers.” Our regional food safety network is powered by many partners, volunteers and donors working together.”

“The CEO values ​​community involvement using a ‘People Helping People’ approach,” Spellman said. “Many of the CEO’s programs and services rely heavily on volunteers and would not be able to make such a big impact without their help.”

From the website of the general director

The DG was founded in 1966 as a community-based anti-poverty agency. This multi-functional non-profit organization is governed by a Board of Directors composed of three constituencies with equal representation: consumers, the public sector and the private sector. Headquartered in the Heights neighborhood of Wilkes-Barre, the CEO has offices in downtown Wilkes-Barre, Kingston, Hazleton, and Tunkhannock.

Managing programs for more than 20 years with a staff in excess of 150 full-time and part-time employees, the CEO served more than 32,000 people in 2014. Its annual budget, with revenues from various public and private funding sources, exceeds $18 million.

The CEO is an agency member of United Way of Wyoming Valley, United Way of Hazleton and Wyoming County United Fund.

A CEO is an example of a “third way” of doing business with a board of directors and funding sources that are neither entirely public nor exclusively private.

Although his original mission has not changed, the CEO’s approach to the needs of underprivileged and vulnerable populations has changed over time.

Recent changes in public policy have changed the face of poverty from the “welfare dependent” to the “working poor.”

Recognizing the rise in child poverty in our community, the CEO has added child and family-focused services while maintaining and expanding its support for independence for seniors and people with disabilities.

In addition to a highly valued, multifaceted response to basic human needs, CEO has become a recognized leader in energy conservation and environmental technologies that will reduce poverty in the future.


The CEO’s mission is to promote self-sufficiency among disadvantaged and vulnerable populations by addressing the causes and reducing the effects of poverty.

Many CEO services are based on the following goals:

• Meet the basic material needs of children, adults and the elderly living in poverty.

• Increasing the economic self-sufficiency of low-income individuals and families.

• Promote renewable energy and environmentally sustainable innovations to reduce poverty

• Promotion of positive development of disadvantaged children, youth and their families.

• Promoting the health and independence of the elderly and disabled through home support services.

• Provide leadership on policy issues affecting low-income children, adults, and seniors.

Political leadership

Comprehensive Homelessness Responses – The CEO was recognized by the Commonwealth for outstanding contributions and leadership across the planning continuum for homeless individuals and families in Luzerne County.

Advocating for environmentally sustainable innovation – The CEO and its Executive Director hold significant national leadership positions in the development of environmentally sound technologies that have great promise in the new millennium to reduce the impact of poverty on the most needy individuals, families and communities.

Utility Rate Increases and Restructuring in Pennsylvania — As the gas and electric industries make historic changes from monopolistic services to a competitive environment, the CEO has taken a leading role in protecting the interests of low-income ratepayers and seniors.

For more information

CEO website:

Phone 570-826-0510

Contact Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle.

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