We’re not only proud of who we are today, but where we came from.
GRYP History | Berks County History | Reading Networking Groups
GRYP started with a steering committee of 8 people and has grown to an organization of over 500 general and sports league members who live, work and socialize within the Greater Reading area.
Welcome to GRYP: These are the Goals for this Year
A Word from the President
Welcome to GRYP. 2019 is a big year for the organization and the Board is excited to leave GRYP’s footprint in the community. The first half of the year was dedicated to supporting Junior Achievement through volunteering in the ninth grade classrooms in the Reading School District. The second half of the year GRYP will turn its focus to revitalizing the community. We will be volunteering and commit our fundraising efforts to Habitat for Humanity. Customers Bank is also contributing to this year’s Community Cause by committing to matching our fundraising efforts dollar to dollar. We are happy to help the organization both financially and by providing volunteers to bring their Buttonwood Gateway Project to life!
Stay tuned for great social, educational, and community driven events throughout the year. – Lindsay Crist, President
2018-2020 Lindsay Crist
2018 Judd Meinhart
2016-2017 Thad Gelsinger
2014-2015 Kristi Gage Linderman
2012-2013 Kristin Kramer
2010-2011 Patrick Velekei
2008-2009 Rachel Bashore
2005-2007 Tom Minick
2003-2004 Mark Maggs
2020 started out with high hopes and an excited Board of Directors to see what we could really accomplish in one year. We had plans to work closely with Habitat for Humanity of Berks County again to really make an impact in downtown Reading. The Board kicked off the new year with the 2020 G!G! at the Berkshire Country Club. The event raised necessary funds and friends to help the organization build a lasting network and to continue to make an impact on the community.
Then COVID-19 hit and the community, country, and world shutdown and entered a phase of social distancing quarantine. What we thought (and hoped would be 2 weeks) continued to impact the rest of 2020, leaving much of the Board’s plans at a standstill.
Even with much of in-person activities at a halt, and member engagement at an all-time low, the Board looked to get creative. Monthly hikes at Nolde Forest became the norm and one of the only ways we connected in-person. Luckily the summer allowed for the 4th Annual GRYP Golf Outing to take place and raise funds to be donated to Habitat for Humanity. We were also able to put together a virtual Leadership Conference with focus being “Adulting 101” with speakers from the community to aid in buying a first home, starting an investment plan, and career planning.
Even with the obstacles that 2020 brought, the GRYP Board pivoted and made the best of the year. Needless to say we will all remember 2020.
2019 had the GRYP Board wondering…what does the future have in store?
It was back to boots on the ground and putting sweat equity back into the community through the Community Cause. GRYP has been committed to supporting organizations in the community through the yearly grants. Since 2011, GRYP has donated more than $80,000 back into community revitalization and improvement through the grant program. This year we not only supported Junior Achievement with a financial donation, but GRYP Members went into the classrooms of the Reading High School to provide hands-on training to the future leaders in Berks County.
In 2020, we aim to continue to invest both time and money into the community through networking with current and future leaders, providing the best Leadership Conference possible to our GRYP Members and making a commitment to Habitat for Humanity of Berks County to raise $25,000, which will be matched dollar for dollar by Customers Bank.
With great plans for the future, GRYP looks to its Membership to use the traction already started to get engaged and keep making the Greater Reading Area a better place to live, work, and play for years to come!
2018 brought forth great change, as the organization continues to morph to fit the needs and wants of Membership and community. G!G! (GRYP Gala) moved back to downtown Reading, The Board of Directors selected a non-traditional community cause to support, GRYP hosted the organization’s first Leadership Conference, GRYP helped to realign focus to give back to the community, and we recognized some Rising Stars.
In 2018, the Board of Directors chose not to support a Community Cause in our traditional way of surveying the membership, selecting a community cause, raising money to support the cause through G!G!, AND THEN selecting a recipient. In 2018, along with bringing G!G! back downtown to support the venues in the city, we also wanted to see a downtown initiative thrive! The Board opted to support the First Friday Beer Gardens to support the movement downtown that brought music and art to life in the heart of the city. This also gave the Board the chance to evaluate the membership to see where the 2019 Community Cause focus could lie. In October we announced that Junior Achievement will be the recipient of the funds raised by G!G! in the coming spring as a way to support financial literacy and career readiness in the area’s youth. Now, our sponsors know the organization we will be supporting through our grant and Membership has the opportunity to get involved with the cause as well. There are currently three Board Members going into the 9th grade classrooms at Reading high School to support Junior Achievement.
In an effort to not only give back to the community, GRYP worked to give back to Membership support in 2018 through developing worthwhile events. Social events are important, but being able to provide training and opportunities for career growth is a goal the Board is striving to accomplish. In September, GRYP hosted the first Leadership Conference. Community Leaders came in and talked about the paths they chose to follow in their careers.
In 2017, GRYP invested heavily in the future of the leadership of our community. In partnership with the Greater Reading Chamber of Commerce and Industry, GRYP held its annual mentoring program. With Albright College, GRYP members and Albright students engaged in a series of meetings focused on professional development. GRYP solidified the transition of its own institutional knowledge by establishing and revising standard operating procedures for each of its committees. In addition, through the generosity of Customers Bank and GRYP’s other community partners, the GRYP Community Engagement Fund of the Berks County Community Foundation has become self-sustaining and will be able to offer grants to organizations and initiatives that will attract, engage, and retain young professionals in the Greater Reading region.
GRYP members also participated in many fun events throughout 2017! Our young professionals participated in sports leagues, including a highly successful golf outing; monthly happy hours; and insightful Third Thursday gatherings. Some other highlights included the Kentucky Derby themed G!G! at LedgeRock Golf Club; the annual gathering with candidates and elected officials held at the Berks County Community Foundation; and the Masquerade Mystery Ball at the Stirling Mansion.
In 2016, GRYP continued to invest in the future of the leadership of our community. GRYP members have the opportunity to serve on GRYP’s committees and to be nominated for the GRYP Board of Directors. Through involvement in GRYP, members participated in GRYP’s mentoring program, in connection with the Greater Reading Chamber of Commerce and Industry. GRYP continues to provide a sponsorship to an engaged GRYP member to participate the Leadership Berks program at Alvernia University, which helps to identify and train the future leaders of our region’s non-profit organizations.
Through the Greater Reading Young Professionals Community Engagement Fund of the Berks County Community Foundation, GRYP also invests financially in local organizations that are improving the Greater Reading area. Funds raised by GRYP members form the basis for contributions GRYP makes to its Community Engagement Fund. In 2016, GRYP awarded a total of $11,500 to the Berks Area Mountain Biking Association and BCTV for initiatives that engage young professionals to live, work, and play in the Greater Reading area. I look forward to the hard and rewarding work that lies before us in 2017.
In 2015, GRYP was comprised of over 500 general members and sports league members who lived, worked and socialized within the Greater Reading area. GRYP created valuable opportunities for young professionals to get connected, while providing a forum for networking, education, philanthropy, sports, recreation, leadership development, social activities and professional development. As an organization that supports the Greater Reading community through its mission to attract, engage and retain young professionals in our area, GRYP received tremendous support from the community through its Corporate Partnership program, GRYP Gala (“G!G!”) Sponsorship program, community leaders, volunteers and friends. In 2015, GRYP awarded $12,000 in grants to local non-profits with projects and initiatives related to GRYP’s 2015 Community Cause: Urban Revitalization.
In 2014, GRYP entered its eleventh year as a 501(c)(6) non-profit organization and continued to emerge as the premier organization in the Greater Reading area for young professionals. With GRYP’s mission centered on attracting, engaging and retaining young professionals, GRYP was recognized as more than just a networking organization. GRYP continued to provide countless opportunities for professional development, philanthropy, education, recreation and sports, volunteerism, leadership development and more to the young professionals and future leaders of the Greater Reading region. GRYP awarded $16,000 in grants to local non-profits with projects and initiatives related to GRYP’s 2014 Community Cause: Urban Revitalization.
GRYP celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2013. Under the leadership of the board of directors, GRYP develop a strategic process to drive its fundraising and volunteering efforts. As a result, GRYP awarded more than $20,000 in grants to local nonprofits through its Greater Reading Young Professionals Community Engagement fund of Berks County Community Foundation. GRYP also celebrated top businesses in the community, as voted by members.
Many newer GRYP members are in leadership roles and are joining the GRYP board of Directors to replace some of the founding GRYP members and early volunteers. Membership and leadership of GRYP is always evolving. New strategies are being put in place to better serve GRYP members and the Greater Reading Community, and keep GRYP growing to support future needs of young professionals in Greater Reading.
Membership now stands at over 400 paid members. More than 80 volunteers are leading GRYP forward. 3-5 events are offered every month with a wide variety in types of events. New sports league is started. Contracted with BCCF to provide part-time staff support. Redesign of GRYP website is completed offering better function, more information, and attractive look and feel. First Leadership Berks scholarship is awarded to a GRYP member. Corporate sponsorship packages developed to grow Corporate Support and GRYP membership.
Nominating and Development Committees are added, expanding GRYP’s organizational structure to 9 committees and 25 subcommittees. 54 events are held in 2010. New cohesive marketing strategies are developed, including print brochures, e newsletter, social media, and first annual report. Formal board nomination process is developed, Advisory Board of Community leaders is formed, connections with local colleges are established, first GRYP Intern is hired, and a Field of Interest Fund at Berks County Community Foundation is started.
Membership grows to over 300 paid members. Costumes on Corridor and the Community Fair events are started. First Legislative Mixer is held. GRYP begins to become known in the community as a viable organization and is regularly asked to participate in a variety of community activities.
GRYP website expands to include membership database, making the membership and payment process totally automated. Membership grows to over 200 paid members. GRYP is incorporated and obtains 501c6 tax exempt status. First GiGi Gala event is started to benefit community organizations annually, and over $15,000 is raised for Security Cameras in Reading. The Community Advancement Committee is added and contributing to the overall community becomes a focus area for GRYP. The Legislative Impact Committee is also added to develop relationships with elected officials.
GRYP has over 80 paid members. First website was developed to share basic event and organizational information. 500 + YP’s getting bi-weekly email updates of upcoming events, which are held at least once per month, and a regular following of members emerges who become very active in leadership. Board of Directors of 23 members is formed, 5 Committees with 5 or more members on each doing the work for the organization.
Strategic Planning leads to YPN Berks becoming GRYP. Relaunch event was held at Canal Street in Reading with great attendance. Mission and Vision statements were developed and accurately describe what GRYP is all about.
Networking events were held monthly. Membership was 20-30 members, but attendance at events was sporadic. A few members ran the organization and it was difficult to develop any traction to grow.
YPN Berks was founded by the Manufacturers Association of Berks County with a Stay Invent PA Grant, for the purpose of young professionals to develop business networks and leadership skills. The reason for forming the group was that many college grads were moving away to other states. PA made funding available to begin Young Professional organizations across the state. A Group of Business leaders in Greater Reading selected young professionals from their businesses to join and plan a kick off event, held at Canal Street, with over 175 people in attendance. Monthly events were then planned by a steering committee comprised of 8 people.