Highmark Health commits to six-year investment into Erie’s Little Italy

Highmark Health is committing to a six-year investment of $900,000.

That money will be used to help transform Erie’s Little Italy neighborhood.

“I love this house and my two kids are excited being in our own house,” said Anil Pradhan, homeowner.

Anil and Dipra Pradhan spent 27 years as refugees in Nepal. With the help of the Sisters of Saint Joseph, they’re now successful homeowners that are extremely involved with the community.

“Highmark Health, through United Concordia Dental, are once again committing to a six-year investment totaling $900,000 for the neighborhoods where we serve,” said Heather May Casper, executive director, Sisters of St. Joseph Neighborhood Network.

Six years ago, the organization started transforming the neighborhood between West 18th and West 26th streets from Cranberry to Elm streets. The funding will assist the network with purchasing, removing and replacing blighted properties.

May Casper added that their projects are personal.

“Anil and Dipra are truly special. Their history is really remarkable as new Americans coming to this country and what that took,” she said. “It’s the age-old American dream to own a home isn’t it?”

“The Sisters of Saint Joseph founded AHS Saint Vincent nearly 150 years ago, so our partnership with the sisters goes back a long way,” said Jim Teed, regional vice president of Highmark Health.

The money is going through Pennsylvania’s neighborhood partnership program and will bring Highmark’s 12-year total investment to $1.8 million.

Now that the house has been completed, the couple has dreams of helping their family.

“The next plan — thinking about buying another house,” said Pradhan. “When I buy another house, I’ll make this house to give my mom and dad.”

The sisters have completed 60 improvements, installed six public art pieces, and removed six blighted properties in Little Italy since 2016.

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