Staff

 

Board of Directors

 

 

 

Bios

(in alphabetical order)

Stephen H. Barnes, Treasurer Chief Financial Officer at Accolade, Inc.
Steve is CFO at Accolade Inc., and was previously President of Energy Plus, a provider of electricity and natural gas to residential and business consumers. Steve was previously a managing director and CFO of Novitas Capital, a venture capital firm, where he served on the boards of directors of several companies in various phases of development, from start-up through established business stages. Steve previously held various financial management and investor relations positions with Voxware, a publicly traded technology company, and began his career in the assurance practice of KPMG LLP. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in accountancy from Villanova University, an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School and is a CPA. He has been a guest speaker at various venture capital and business-oriented events and a guest speaker at Wharton. He is a volunteer with the Philadelphia Reads program at an elementary school in West Philadelphia. Steve is also an avid music fan, a barely-amateur guitarist and is married with two children.

David Bradley, Founding Directortheater artist, educator & arts consultant
David is one of LiveConnections’ co-founders and currently heads LiveConnections’ educational programming. He brings decades of experience as a producer, theater director, writer and arts educator to his work with LiveConnections. Throughout his career he has specialized in boundary-crossing artistic collaborations which frequently explore civic and community themes. He’s a long-time member of the resident ensemble at People’s Light, where his more than 30 productions include The Diary of Anne Frank, Row After Row, Of Mice and Men, The Crucible, A View From the Bridge, Young Lady From Rwanda, Doubt and The Giver. He’s the director of A Fierce Kind of Love by Suli Holum, commissioned by Temple University’s Institute on Disabilities. The play tells the story of Pennsylvania’s intellectual disabilities rights movement, had a sold-out run in Philadelphia and continues to be presented. He was playwright and director of Voices of Voting, commissioned by the Committee of Seventy as part of events surrounding the Democratic National Convention. He’s Artistic Director of Living News which since 2006 has dramatized Constitutional issues at the National Constitution Center, where he also directed the exhibition/theater hybrid Fighting for Democracy. For Philadelphia Young Playwrights, he directed The Lost Hour at the Kimmel Center for the 2013 Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts. David has been a participating artist with Outside the Wire, which creates theater projects addressing public health and social issues, and has led and facilitated projects for them at conferences and military bases across the country and in the Middle East. David is a recipient of the Brighter Futures Historical Award from Philadelphia’s Intellectual Disability Services for his work with LiveConnections and A Fierce Kind of Love. He teaches at Arcadia University and is a graduate of Yale University. [Email David]

Anthony J. Brown, DirectorDirector of the Friends Program at The Curtis Institute of Music
Tony is director of the Friends Program at The Curtis Institute of Music, where he has worked for the past seven years. Prior to Curtis, Tony worked for 20 years at his alma mater, The Episcopal Academy, formerly in Merion, PA, and now located in Newtown Square, PA. Over those two decades, he served as director of development, director of alumni and development, assistant director of admissions, and director of alumni. As a volunteer, he has served as president of ADVIS (Association of Delaware Valle Independent Schools) and president of APC (Alumni Program Council), formerly based in Washington, D.C. Tony is an active singer and has sung in the Orpheus Club of Philadelphia since 1979 and in the Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church senior choir from 1989 to 2006. Tony has a BA degree from William College and enjoys theater and reading biography. He and his wife, DeDe, have four children.

Luke Butler, Vice PresidentChief of Staff, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development, City of Philadelphia
Luke Butler is currently Strategy and Operations Manager for Curalate, a digital commerce company. He formerly served as Chief of Staff to the Deputy Mayor for Economic Development for the City of Philadelphia. In this role he served as the primary advisor to the Deputy Mayor on all matters related to economic development and assisted in overseeing a wide range of departments and agencies focused on economic development and planning in Philadelphia. Previously, Luke served as Special Assistant to the Mayor of Philadelphia where he was responsible for advising and briefing the Mayor on a wide range of issues throughout the day, in addition to handling press inquiries and writing major speeches including inaugural speeches, budget speeches and addresses to the Chamber of Commerce. He also served as Deputy Press Secretary for the City of Philadelphia where he was responsible for briefing reporters, organizing press events and developing a communications strategy. Before joining City Hall, Luke worked on the Nutter for Mayor Campaign as Deputy Finance Director and Deputy Communications Director. Luke earned a First Class bachelor’s degree in government from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a master’s in public policy from the University of Pennsylvania where he studied as a Thouron Fellow. Originally from North East England, Luke worked in political consultancy in London before relocating to the United States in 2006.

Val Chavenson, Director
Val is a marketing, business development and account management executive with extensive experience in strategic planning, digital communications, event planning and production in non-profit, corporate, and agency environments. She was the Director of Major Gifts at WXPN; Director of Membership, Business Retention and Attraction for the Center City District and the Central Philadelphia Development Corporation; and held leadership positions at a digital marketing and advertising division of Qwest Communications and at The Rouse Company. Recently, Val has worked on 6ABC’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau’s 75th Anniversary celebration. She is currently collaborating on the Reading Terminal Market’s 125th Anniversary planning and providing representation for an international photographer specializing in customized and branded interior design. Val has served on several boards and committees including the 2016 Democratic National Committee Convention, Philly New Technology Meetup and the International Economic Development Council. Val is a devoted music lover and avid concertgoer. She has a passion for connecting people, technology and promoting the growth of Philadelphia. Val has a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing from The Pennsylvania State University. She is a long-time Philadelphia resident living in the Fairmount section of the city.

Robert J. Crowder, Director – Managing Director at Chapman Farrell Group
Robert is an executive search professional with over 20 years of business experience with major corporations such as United Parcel Service, The Hartford Financial Services Group, Aetna and Vanguard. Robert served on the board of directors for The Hartford Stage, working on the development committee and search committee that hired the current Tony Award winning Darko Tresnjek. Previously, Robert was the head of executive recruiting for Vanguard. Prior to joining Vanguard, he held multiple enterprise-wide HR leadership positions at Aetna, Inc. including the head of talent acquisition and head of executive recruiting. Prior to joining Aetna, he made significant impact as the director of diversity staffing at The Hartford Financial Services Group. Before becoming involved in the executive search field, Robert’s experience included increasing levels of leadership in operations and sales management positions at United Parcel Service. Robert’s expert advice has been sought after and he has been quoted in “Finding Keepers,” a book published by Monster, Inc. on finding and recruiting the best talent, as well as, “Brand for Talent,” by Libby Sartain, co-author of “HR from the Heart.” Robert received his MBA and Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the University of New Haven. He is married and has six adult children, three grandchildren and currently resides in Parkesburg, PA.

Ladonna Edwards, Program Coordinator
Ladonna interned at LiveConnections during its early years, and returned to LiveConnections as a full-time staff member in 2015. While earning her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Villanova University, Ladonna created and ran programs for underrepresented students including Clube de Portuguese and MultiCultural Business Association. In that time she also raised over $20,000 each year for the annual Martin Luther King Day of Service and coordinated a multitude of campus-wide events. As a graduate student, Ladonna organized the 2014-2015 One Book event, a major annual community reading campaign which brought author Wes Moore and over 10,000 participants to Villanova’s campus. With experience in music management, international business, marketing, and public relations, Ladonna is thrilled to rejoin LiveConnections. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Mary Wheelock Javian, LiveConnections Presents Curatormusician; Director of Professional Development and Community Engagement at The Curtis Institute of Music
Double bassist Mary Wheelock Javian’s goal as an artist is to use music to create positive social change in communities. She works towards this goal as a performer, curator, teaching artist and mentor. Mary is on the faculty of the Curtis Institute of Music where she serves as the Director of Professional Development and Community Engagement. She performs frequently with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the IRIS Orchestra, the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia and numerous orchestras throughout the country. As a chamber musician, Mary has performed and recorded with Network for New Music, the Dolce Suono Ensemble, the Bach Choir of Bethleham and the Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music. A Maryland Distinguished Scholar, Mary has won fellowships with the Tanglewood Music Center, the National Repertory Orchestra, the Verbier Festival and the National Symphony. A passionate advocate for music education and community engagement, Mary has consulted in these areas for such organizations as the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Atlanta Symphony, the New World Symphony, the Savannah Music Festival and Project 440. In addition to her role as curator for LiveConnections, she has also curated for Intercultural Journeys, an organization that promotes and peace and cultural dialogue through music. A graduate of Curtis, Mary studied with Harold Robinson, principal bassist of the Philadelphia Orchestra. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Paralee Knight, SecretarySenior Client Associate/Grant Administrator, Wells Fargo, Private Bank; songwriter
Paralee is a Senior Client Associate for Wells Fargo, Private Bank where she provides direct client services for philanthropic consultants to Ultra High Net Worth (UHNW) families and non-profit organizations for the Penn-Del region of the Private Bank. Paralee also provides grant administration through which she is actively involved in being the liaison between non-profits seeking support and the philanthropic missions of the trusts managed under will by the bank. Prior to joining Wells Fargo, she held the position of Human Resources Specialist/Administrator at South Jersey Behavioral Health Resources, Inc. where she handled employee relations matters including employee benefits, FMLA, union relations, new-hire orientation and recruitment, as well as engaged with the executive staff and the board providing insight and advice on the state of the organization’s employees and management staff. Paralee’s music involvement includes song-writing, music production and video production assistance. She is an active member of the Philadelphia Chapter of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) and is a member of the Urban Affairs Coalition young leader initiative, “The Friends of the Coalition,” set up to assist in fostering the next generation of leaders and givers in the community. She also currently serves on the Vision 2020 (Part of Drexel University’s Institute for Women’s Health and Leadership) Centennial Celebration Committee set to gather focus on achieving women’s economic and social equality and to celebrate nationally on the centennial of the 19th Amendment in 2020.

Lori Landew, DirectorPartner at Fox Rothschild LLP
Lori is a member of Philadelphia-headquartered law firm Fox Rothschild. She is the past president of Landew Entertainment Business Associates LLC, a consulting enterprise servicing entertainment and media clients. She has worked in the entertainment industry as an attorney and as a business executive for over 20 years. Prior to forming her own company, she was general counsel of indie entertainment company Ryko Corporation and vice president of business affairs for Zomba Recording Corporation, home of the Jive, Verity and Silvertone record labels. Lori lectures frequently on entertainment business issues at higher learning institutions such as Widener University School of Law, Temple University, Drexel University, Villanova University, University of the Arts, Seton Hall University School of Law and Columbia University School of Law. She is on the executive committee of the board of governors of the Philadelphia Chapter of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) where she also chairs its advocacy committee. Ms. Landew is also a member of the board of directors of the Philadelphia Music Alliance.

Helen Leicht, DirectorAssistant Program Director and Mid-day Host at WXPN
Helen is the Assistant Program Director and mid-day host at WXPN, 88.5FM where she has broadcast daily from 10am to 2pm since 1998. Helen brought her years of broadcast experience to the radio station in 1990 as a part-time host and full-time mom. Having developed both the Leicht Lunch and one of the first radio programs exclusively devoted to the Beatles, Breakfast With the Beatles, in Philadelphia, Helen started at WXPN to identify, encourage and connect the region’s musicians and audiences. Her work over the years with Philly Local has taken artists like Amos Lee and Melody Gardot from the Curren Conference Room at 3905 Spruce St. to international acclaim and audiences. With the direction of station GM Roger LaMay, Helen spearheaded the launch and is this month celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Musicians On Call program in the Delaware Valley. In partnership with hospitals, including the University of Pennsylvania, musicians bring the power of music to the bedsides of patients as part of their healing and recovery. This program has served thousands in the region over the past 10 years. Now celebrating her 8th year as the weekly host of the Free@Noon, Helen’s mid-day show each Friday presents artists from unknown to legacy broadcast live at noon in front of an enthusiastic and loyal WXPN station membership. Artists have included Hall & Oates and Adele, among hundreds of shows. Helen credits her love of the Beatles and her late uncle Joseph T. Conway, former VP/General Manager at WIBG in Philadelphia, for sparking her interest in a lifetime in broadcasting that began with a little blue transistor radio.

Karen Lewis, DirectorAVP for External Affairs, Drexel University
In February 2014, Karen Lewis joined Drexel University as AVP for External Affairs, where she provides strategic leadership related to local community/civic associations, government and elected officials. Karen is responsible for the development and cultivation of external relationships, working closely with the President’s executive team bridging university partnerships and effective relationships focused on engagement. Prior to becoming AVP at Drexel University, Karen served as Executive Director for the Avenue of the Arts, Inc. (AAI), a nonprofit organization spearheading the revitalization and economic development of a four and half mile segment of Broad Street in Philadelphia. Serving as the nonprofit’s CEO, Ms. Lewis was responsible for overall management and strategic initiatives, including fiscal and operational oversight. During her 13-year tenure, Ms. Lewis was recognized as a leader in the formation of arts/entertainment districts, served as a conference presenter in Chile, Canada, Vancouver and several US cities. She is credited with managing and securing funding for a $13 million dollar streetscape enhancement project, and multi-year grants from both local and state governments. A native of Philadelphia and a graduate of La Salle University, Karen has been recognized by the Philadelphia Business Journal, Philadelphia Tribune and The Philadelphia Theater Company, among others. She has served on several boards and committees such as the planning committee for the Philadelphia Republican National Convention, Governor Rendell’s Inaugural Committee, Governor Ridge’s Quebec and Pennsylvania Tourism Task Force, City of Philadelphia’s Fourth of July Annual Festival, Convention and the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau’s Multicultural Affairs Congress, Knight Foundation Advisory Committee and St. Christopher’s Foundation for Children.

Andrew Lipke, Directormusician & teaching artist
Andrew is a Philadelphia-based, South African-born multi-instrumentalist and composer active in many different styles of music. Lipke moved to Philadelphia to pursue a degree in composition at The University of The Arts and has since gone on to become a critically acclaimed and sought after arranger, producer, composer, performer and educator. Andrew is driven by a passion to find the common ground between disparate styles of music and his career reflects this. He has performed as a vocalist with several prominent American orchestras (Indianapolis Symphony, North Carolina Symphony, Colorado Music Festival Orchestra) in addition to touring the country with the critically acclaimed Led Zeppelin tribute band Get The Led Out. He has produced dozens of records for local and regional artists and released five solo albums. In 2010 Andrew formed the Azrael String Quartet to perform music he had written for his album “The Plague” which upon release was named one of 2011’s 50 best albums by Philadelphia Weekly. His 2012 work “Siddiqah” was choreographed by The Columbus Dance Theatre for their production “Rock out” which also included several string quartet arrangements of classic rock songs Lipke completed for the Carpe Diem String Quartet. In 2013 Andrew wrote a punk rock score for the internationally released EPIX film “Back Issues: The Hustler Magazine Story” and in 2014 he had the privilege of completing orchestral arrangements for Blue Note Records artist Amos Lee’s sold out show with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra at the legendary Red Rocks amphitheater.

Tamar Lelkes Oded, DirectorDirector, Friends of Ofanim
Tamar combines experience in musical performance, non-profit arts management, grant making, community development and educational partnerships in her work with LCO. She previously worked with corporations, nonprofits, schools and community groups as the project manager for community development at the Goodwin College of Professional Studies at Drexel University. The majority of her time was spent managing Drexel's work in community schools as part of the University's overall community engagement initiative. Previously, she managed grant programs for the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance and worked as the general manager of Tempesta di Mare, an early music ensemble in Philadelphia. Tamar has performed throughout Israel, Europe and the U.S. and has a degree in early music performance from Indiana University and a master's degree in arts administration from Drexel University.

Hal Real, President & Co-FounderPresident of Real Entertainment Group and World Cafe Live
Hal Real is President of Real Entertainment Group, creator and operator of the nationally-acclaimed World Cafe Live music, restaurant and event venues located in Philadelphia, PA, and Wilmington, DE. In 2008 he helped a team of artists and educators launch LiveConnections. Currently he is board President of LiveConnections, Vice Chair of the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, and Co-Chair of the Wilmington Business Leaders Network and the Wilmington CEO Executive Summit. He also serves on the board of Wilmington Freire Charter School, Philadelphia’s Fringe Arts and the Chairman’s Council of the Philadelphia Zoo. In the past he served as board Chair of the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, a board and executive committee member of The People’s Light & Theatre Company (Malvern, PA), Chairman of the Main Line Chamber of Commerce and as a board member of the Light Up the Queen Foundation, the Philadelphia Mayor’s Cultural Advisory Board, and the President’s Advisory Council of the Delaware College of Art and Design.

Rob Penn, Director – Comcast
Rob Penn has been developing and operating disruptive technology and content at start-up ventures and Fortune-50 firms alike for nearly 20 years. Rob began his Silicon Valley tech career in digital music distribution and streaming audio (Liquid Audio, Audiobase), later moving into advertising technology Product Management (Comcast, Kantar Media / TNS). He now oversees IP video product operations on Comcast’s premier X1 Platform. Rob spent more than a decade as a professional actor and singer signed to Warner Bros. Records, sharing the stage with James Brown, Ray Charles, Run DMC, L.L. Cool J. and many others. Music is powerful, and Rob is ecstatic to be a part of LiveConnections!

Greg Reh, Director – DTTL Global Life Sciences Sector Leader, Deloitte
Greg is the DTTL Global Life Sciences Sector Leader for Deloitte. He also serves as U.S. Life Sciences Consulting Leader. With more than 25 years of experience, he is responsible for the delivery of services and solutions for Life Sciences clients, practice operations and the development of methods and research related to the transformation of Life Sciences companies. Throughout his career, his clients have included multinational pharmaceutical, biotechnology and chemical manufacturing organizations.

Alex Shaw, Directormusician & teaching artist
Alex is a musician, arts educator and dance accompanist. Specializing in Brazilian music traditions, he performs and tours with Philadelphia's award-winning Spoken Hand Percussion Orchestra and Alô Brasil, of which he is musical co-director. As a freelance arts educator he regularly teaches and facilitates residencies and workshops in numerous universities, schools and organizations throughout the Philadelphia area and beyond. He works as a dance accompanist for Eastern University, Swarthmore College and University of the Arts, and performs with several Philadelphia-based dance companies, including Kariamu & Company and Dunya Performing Arts Company. Alex has been awarded several competitive artist grants to support his music research and study in Brazil, including Arts International's Artist Exploration Fund (2004) and the Independence Foundation Fellowship in the Arts (2007). He is a graduate of Swarthmore College.

Tayyib Smith, Directorco-founder of Little Giant Creative and The Institute of Hip Hop Entrepreneurship
Tayyib is dedicated to cultural competency and the ability to engage multicultural audiences. He co-founded Pipeline Philly to serve as an inviting and dynamic co-working space filled with professionals from various backgrounds and industries, creating one of the most diverse workspaces in the city. Tayyib has long been a successful conduit between artist/niche brands and co-founded Famous Arts Critics to help diversify the art world. He sits on the boards of Prizm Art Fair in Miami, Black Star Film Fest, Temple University’s Apps & Maps, and the GreenLight Fund.

Melinda Steffy, Executive Director
Melinda is a visual artist and musician with a strong background in nonprofit arts education and management. She joined LiveConnections as General Manager in 2011, the organization's first full-time staff position, and was named Executive Director in 2014. She has been instrumental in helping develop infrastructure and increase the capacity of LiveConnections, growing the start-up nonprofit into an important presence in Philadelphia's arts scene. She previously held management and administrative positions at The Music School of Delaware, SteegeThomson Communications, Woodland Montessori School and Brethren Housing Association, where she was involved in all aspects of organizational life from programming and operations to marketing and fundraising. In addition, she served on the faculty at Woodland Montessori School and the Summer Institute for the Gifted, has been a guest lecturer at Tyler School of Art, Arcadia University, Friends Central School and Finlandia University (Michigan), and worked as a freelance art writer in the Philadelphia region. Her artwork has been on display at galleries across the region, including Crane Arts, Sam Quinn Gallery, Fringe Wilmington, Rowan University and Villanova University, among many others. Also a classically trained singer, Melinda currently sings with the Chestnut Street Singers and was a founding board member of the Wilmington Classical Guitar Society. Melinda received a Master of Fine Arts degree in painting from The University of the Arts, a bachelor's degree from Eastern Mennonite University, and is a 2013 LEADERSHIP Philadelphia Fellow. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

David B. Thornburgh, Director President & CEO, Committee of Seventy
David joined the Committee of Seventy as President & CEO in December 2014. Previously, David served as executive director of the University of Pennsylvania's Fels Institute of Government, the University's Master's level program in public management and public policy and has held leadership roles in the public, private and nonprofit sectors in the Philadelphia region for over 20 years. He is a graduate of Haverford College and holds a master's degree in public policy from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.

Tia Wilson, Director Vice President for Production, Aon Risk Solutions
Tia Wilson is a native of Philadelphia and grew up studying theater and dance as an adolescent. She trained at the Point Breeze Performing Arts Center and eventually became a principal dancer with the Positively to the Point dance company. Joining the company afforded her the opportunity to travel and perform in Anguilla and Bermuda amongst other places nationwide. Tia accredits much of her personal success to the training and exposure gained from exploring the performing arts at a young age. She is a firm believer that social change is possible through the arts. Tia matriculated through the Philadelphia public school system and went on to attend Howard University where she received her BS in Insurance & Risk Management. After graduating in 2007, she joined Aon Risk Solutions which is a consulting firm committed to Risk Mitigation and Human Capital. She holds an Associate in Risk Management (ARM) designation and is a Licensed Agent and Broker in Pennsylvania, New York and Connecticut. She has trained in both the London and Bermuda insurance marketplaces to continue her growth and gain a global perspective of the insurance industry. Today, she is Vice President of production focused on delivery of all Aon’s resources to existing and prospective clients. Her responsibilities include collaborating with prospects/clients to create solutions for effectively managing risk and insurance.



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LiveConnections is grateful for the support of numerous individuals, companies and foundations who believe in our mission and help make our programs possible.
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Big Hurrah Sponsors:
(as of 09/14/2017)

$5000 School Sponsor

Drexel University

 

World Cafe Live

 

WXPN

 

 

$2500 Collaboration Sponsor

Cenero

 

Deloitte

 

Fox Rothschild

 

Pepper Hamilton

 

University of Pennsylvania

 

WRTI

 

 

$1000 Connecting Sponsors

Ballard Spahr

 

BB&T

 

Chubb

 

Cozen O'Connor

 

Curtis Institute of Music

 

Jonathan Fink Group

 

Philadelphia Insurance Companies

 

 

$500 Sponsors
The Art Shop
BWA architecture + planning
Coscia Moos Architecture, LLC
Grace Tavern
Keystone First
University City Science Center

 

 

Business Support

uprinting.com

 

 

Foundation Support 2016-2017:
Stockton Rush Bartol Foundation
Corrine R. & Henry Bower Memorial Trust
CHG Charitable Trust
Dolfinger-McMahon Foundation
The Allen Hilles Fund
Independence Foundation
Patricia Kind Family Foundation
Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Foundation
Christopher Ludwick Foundation
The Presser Foundation
Rosenlund Family Foundation
Caroline J.S. Sanders Trust
The Scholler Foundation
Howell Lockhart Seiple Trust
Seybert Foundation
Joseph Kennard Skilling Trust
Paula Steinebach Trust
Strauss Foundation
Union Benevolent Association
Henrietta Tower Wurts Memorial
Wyncote Foundation

 

 

Additional Support:

LiveConnections is supported in part by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

 

 

Additional support provided in part by the Philadelphia Cultural Fund.

 

LiveConnections.org is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, tax ID 26-2666641. The official registration and financial information of LiveConnections.org may be obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of State by calling toll-free, within Pennsylvania, 1-800-732-0999. Registration does not imply endorsement.