Trustees / Team
Trustees of The Rider-Pool Foundation provide thoughtful governance that advances the mission as set forth by Dorothy Rider Pool and Leonard Parker Pool. Their stewardship enables the Foundation to improve the quality of life for all citizens of the Lehigh Valley.
Staff members are uniquely joined by longevity of service to The Dorothy Rider Pool Health Care Trust and The Rider-Pool Foundation and hold a deep commitment to the community.
Edward F. Meehan, MPH, has served as the Executive Director of The Dorothy Rider Pool Health Care Trust and The Rider-Pool Foundation since 1983.
The two philanthropies, with combined assets of more than $90 million, broadly support health, wellness, and community development in the Lehigh Valley region of eastern Pennsylvania. In his role with The Pool Trust, Meehan works closely with Lehigh Valley Health Network to enable it to be a superior regional hospital and have a demonstrable, dramatic, and sustained impact on the health of the citizens of the region. Most recently, he partnered with leadership at LVHN to continue efforts to establish transformational funds available to LVHN staff members for both clinical and non-clinical initiatives.
In his management of The Rider-Pool Foundation, he leads a broad goal of building community through human services, the arts, public education, and community development. Notable examples of Meehan’s work are the establishment of Building 21 in the Allentown School District, development of The Promise Neighborhood of the Lehigh Valley, and creation of The Rider-Pool Collective Impact Fellowship.
Meehan has offered volunteer leadership to numerous national, state, and local not-for-profit boards and special committees that mirror his focus on place-based solutions to improve and address community health issues. His work has included efforts for at-risk youth, smoking, tobacco and drug councils, K to 12 education initiatives, housing, and neighborhood development.
In 2001, he co-authored “Reinventing a Multi-County Behavioral Health System: The Local Philanthropy as Change Agent” for Health Affairs, “Community Coalitions in Health Promotion” for Health Education Research in 1993 as well as a number of research studies during his work for stroke education and prevention.
In addition, Meehan writes frequently on the legacy of Leonard Parker Pool and Dorothy Rider Pool to ensure their vision of a healthy, prosperous community is the roadmap followed for the long-term goals and daily decisions of The Trust and Foundation the couple established. In line with The Pools’ progressive and thoughtful approach to effecting true change, Meehan is passionate about keeping the social determinants of health at the forefront of community-wide discussions.
Meehan attended Stuyvesant High School, a public math and science school for gifted students in New York City. He was a Community Health Education major and Communications minor at Hunter College (CUNY) where he graduated magna cum laude and earned the Institute of Health Sciences Certificate of Merit. Supported by a U.S. Public Health Service scholarship, he earned a Master of Public Health degree from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he completed a major in Health Education and a minor in Administration of Maternal and Child Health Services.
From 1978 to 1981, he served in the National Health Service Corps as Statewide Coordinator of Health Education in the Bureau of Maternal and Child Health in the Alabama State Health Department. Meehan then accepted a position as Executive Director of the Lehigh Valley Stroke Program, a pivotal decision that brought him to Allentown and to his next, long-term role serving The Rider Pool Trust and Foundation.
Meehan has consulted for multiple other health foundations and national initiatives on emergent health issues. He has held faculty roles at Temple University, East Stroudsburg University, and Cedar Crest College. He is a long-time presenter at conferences and seminars on topics including progressive grant-making, social reconnaissance, community involvement in health services planning, and national and local perspectives in philanthropy. His current memberships include the Society for Public Health Education, and Grantmakers in Health, two national organizations where he previously served as Treasurer and Executive Board member. He currently serves as a member of the Board of Associates at Muhlenberg College, the Advisory Board for the Air Products and Chemicals Center for Connected Care and Innovation at Lehigh Valley Health Network, the Advisory Board of Allentown School District’s Building 21, and the Board of the Downtown Allentown Community Development Initiative (DACDI).
Ronald C. Dendas, MS, is a Program Officer for The Dorothy Rider Pool Health Care Trust and The Rider-Pool Foundation. In two decades in this role, he has managed more than $50 million in grants in support of diverse projects for the Lehigh Valley of eastern Pennsylvania.
Dendas is an outcomes-driven program manager who works across sectors to co-create grants that address local challenges with place-based strategies for improvement. In 2014, his work led to the spearheading of The Rider-Pool Collective Impact Fellowship, an innovative leadership development movement that builds the capacity and connectivity between numerous non-profit and public sectors.
Throughout his years with The Trust and Foundation, Dendas has executed trustee-initiated projects related to health care, public health, community development, persons with disabilities, social services, education, culture, and arts. His efforts helped establish Pennsylvania’s first regional Board of Health and the Lehigh Valley’s first Community Health Center.
In 2018, his article “Addressing Complex Social Determinants of Health in One Region by Building Cross-Sectoral Partnerships” was included in Health Affairs. In 2014, he co-authored “Engaging Underserved Populations in Affordable Care Act” for the Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved.
Dendas currently serves on the Lehigh County Suicide Prevention Task Force. He has provided leadership and counsel services to Collective Impact Funders Forum Community of Practice in Washington, D.C., Two Rivers Health and Wellness Foundation, Partnership for a Disability Friendly Community in the Lehigh Valley, the East Central PA Area Health Education Center and a variety of health related, prevention-focused task forces.
Dendas received a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from St. Anselm College, a Master of Science degree in Human Organization Science from Villanova University and is an American Hospital Association Creating Healthy Communities Fellow.
Prior to his current role, he served as the Executive Director of AIDSNET, providing all primary planning and development of an outcomes-based HIV/AIDS prevention and care delivery system. He also spent five years as Executive Director of Schuylkill County Drug and Alcohol Executive Commission in Pottsville, PA. In that role, he managed the single county authority responsible for planning, developing, and monitoring of all publicly funded drug and alcohol related prevention, intervention, and care services. Under his leadership, the Commission established and maintained the first licensed central intake site in Schuylkill County (one of only five in the state) and established the first drug and alcohol case management unit in Schuylkill County. His additional experience includes five years as an adult probation/parole officer in Bucks County, PA.
Joseph J. Napolitano, PhD, MPH, RN, CRNP is a program officer at The Dorothy Rider Pool Health Care Trust and The Rider-Pool Foundation. In this role, he is responsible for a portfolio of more than 50 grants valued in excess of $15 million as well as serving as the organizations’ communications officer.
An active partner with grantee organizations, Napolitano counts specific achievements in program development of Trust and Foundation initiatives that include the Allentown Children’s Health Improvement Program, Lehigh Valley Health Network Nurse Residency Program, and Regional Integrated Collaborative for Healthy Youth. He is a recognized health philanthropy thought leader, committed to efforts that demonstrate excellence in clinical care and individual health.
Napolitano helped found and served on the board of The Wellness Community of the Greater Lehigh Valley, an organization devoted to providing psychosocial support to patients with cancer and their family members, and the Lehigh Valley Alliance on Aging, a federation of agencies collaboratively addressing older adult issues in the region. He organized the first telehealth services program in a school-based environment in PA.
Napolitano is a nurse practitioner who practiced in and managed the Trauma-Critical Care Surgical Intensive Care Unit at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania prior to his current role. Previously, he served as the Assistant Administrator for Nursing at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and was an Administrative Fellow at HealthEast, Inc.
The Honorable Governor Edward G. Rendell appointed Napolitano to the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing in 2008. He served as Chair of the Applications and Informational Technology Committees and was elected Vice Chair of the Board in 2009 and Chair in 2010-2012. In 2013, he became a member of the steering committee of the Pennsylvania Action Coalition, a group working to develop and implement long-term solutions to improve health in Pennsylvania. He was elected Chair in 2017.
Since 1990, Napolitano has served as a consultant to the health care, pharmaceutical and philanthropic fields. Most recently, he designed and monitored a study on a nutraceutical product that improved adverse lipid profiles. He co-authored two reports that were published in Nutrition Research and Vascular Health and Risk Management.
Napolitano’s academic background includes a Bachelor degree in Biology-Chemistry / Philosophy from Skidmore College; a Master of Public Health from Yale University; a Bachelor and Master in Nursing from the University of Pennsylvania; and a Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing Research Theory and Development from New York University.
Throughout educational endeavors, Napolitano has been the recipient of numerous honors and accolades. He was inducted into Skidmore’s Honor Society, Periclean, and was presented the Katherine Scranton Rozendaal Citizenship Award in 1985 and the Alumni Outstanding Service Award in 2000. At the University of Pennsylvania, he received the Dean’s Award for Special Recognition in 1992 and the Dean’s Award in 1995. New York University (NYU) awarded him the Ellen D. Baer Scholarship for doctoral students (2003), The Erline Perkins McGriff Award for doctoral students who exhibit outstanding leadership potential (2004) and the Jacqueline Fawcett Award for conducting research using a nursing theory (2006). Napolitano was the doctoral Valedictorian in 2008. He is a member of Sigma Theta Tau, the PA State Nurses Association, the PA Coalition of Nurse Practitioners and the South Eastern Pennsylvania Surge Medical Assistance Response Team (SEPA SMART).
Manager, Finance and Administration
Manager, Finance and Administration
Bridget I. Rassler joined The Dorothy Rider Pool Health Care Trust in 1989 in an entry-level administrative position. While in that role, her responsibilities expanded to support The Rider-Pool Foundation. Since 2014, she has served as the Manager of Finance and Administration for the two grant-making organizations.
Rassler is the liaison to the Board of Trustees for the Trust and Foundation, managing meeting arrangements, materials, and reporting. In addition, she is the lead staff person on audits, legal and finance matters, and oversees vendor and consultant contracts, IT needs, and human resource functions for the organizations. She is the lead coordinator of site visits, conferences, and symposia related to the programs within the Trust and Foundation focus areas. In addition, she is the lead staff on fiscal management and the liaison to Lehigh Valley Health Network Finance on grants management. She played an important role in the distribution of approximately $120 million in distributions to Lehigh Valley Health Network to date.
A lifelong resident of the Lehigh Valley, Rassler is committed to the missions of The Trust and The Foundation and is pleased her work supports efforts for community health and social services across the region. Through her years of employment, she has been most aligned with the programs that assist single mothers and their children and those that offer vital assistance to women who have been subject to domestic violence.
Rassler remained active with school-related programs while raising her son, including serving as treasurer of the PTO and volunteering with youth associations and high school activities. She has donated her time to Meals on Wheels, Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, and as a council member to her church.
With early credits at Penn State University, Rassler returned to higher education at DeSales University where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Accounting.
Regina Gabriel joined the staff of The Dorothy Rider Pool Health Care Trust and The Rider-Pool Foundation in 1995. She serves as the Program Secretary for the two organizations.
In this role, Gabriel is often the first point of contact for inquiries and guests to the Trust and Foundation. She is responsible for preparing itineraries and materials needed for events and meetings; managing the tracking system of proposals, letters of intent, and grant reporting correspondence; and assembling Trustee books for annual meetings. Gabriel works closely with the Program Officers and Administrative and Finance Manager to ensure grants are fully recorded and reported with grantee organizations.
Since the start of The Rider-Pool Collective Impact Fellowship, Gabriel has assisted arrangements for international faculty visits as needed, as well as logistics of the Fellowship learning events. She coordinates vendors and consultants, and supports communications efforts by reviewing content for annual reports and newsletters.
Gabriel grew up in the Lehigh Valley, attended Dieruff High School and spent time on the alumni association’s activities committee. Outside of work, she devotes time to Christian ministries, including her church’s women’s group and finance committee, and as a member of the Christian Motorcyclists Association. Often with friends and family, she enjoys travel, photography, crafts, and the local music scene.
As a member of the Trust and Foundation team, Gabriel has witnessed the great impact of philanthropy throughout the community. She is impressed by the many stories that continue to the present day of the generosity and care Leonard and Dorothy Pool shared with their neighbors, colleagues, and employees of Air Products and Chemicals, Inc.