Finally it is here. After 365 days, 2014, a new year is upon us. For the city of Pittsburgh a new year brings a change in Mayor and the administration. Reorganization is also in place for a city group well known for its intermediary services while excitement is building for other non-profit organizations for the year ahead.
Monday, Jan. 6 marked a new era in Pittsburgh. Mayor Bill Peduto was sworn in and seven fresh administrators are in place to take the city in a different direction. Using policies to address neighborhood development and jobs, government reform and innovation, education and technology and a ways to keep city neighborhoods clean and safe is the direction the Mayor is leaning toward.
After 30 years of functioning as an intermediary or clearinghouse between funders and Community Development Corporations, the Pittsburgh Partnership for Neighborhood Development is transforming itself into a new group labeled as Neighborhood Allies. Throughout the years PPND has been known for providing capital for local community development efforts, vision, strategy and providing assistance in technical and training assistance to the system as well as financial operating support. As a way to rethink how community development services are communicated, delivered, and distributed, Neighborhood Allies is being launched to mirror the modifications which communities in Pittsburgh are currently undergoing.
The search team, Nonprofit Talent indicates that the mission of Neighborhood Allies will be to support the people, organizations and partnerships committed to creating and maintaining thriving neighborhoods. The goal is for the group to carry an annual budget of approximately $2.5 million. According to the executive director job description, a board of six people is in place as well as two staff members.
Another one of the area’s long time community organizations, the Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group is looking forward to 2014. In the midst of planning their fourth annual Community Development Summit scheduled for May 14 through 15, 400 to 500 people from the region are expected to participate. Describing partakers as community and economic development professionals, lenders, public officials, developers, and planners, Katie Hale, PCRG neighborhood policy manager says the participants carry a passion about building and sustaining healthy, vibrant, and sustainable communities. Excited about the possibilities of the summit themed, Reaching Across Boundaries, she said sessions and workshops will highlight cross-sector and regional collaboration in community planning, land recycling, affordable housing, transit-oriented development, and neighborhood revitalization.
A collaboration between PCGR and the Urban Land Institute—Pittsburgh District Council, according to Hale the Summit will feature nationally renowned, keynote speakers, workshops and panels on topics built around the policies, programs, and practices that help make vibrant, healthy and complete communities; mobile workshops highlighting revitalization efforts throughout Greater Pittsburgh will occur and built-in networking time to reconnect with and meet innovative practitioners in the field from across the country will include a reception, and the annual member meeting and awards ceremony honoring community leaders.
Ideas for sessions and mobile workshops are still being sought. Proposals are due to the PCRG office by Jan. 31. Sponsorship opportunities are also still available. For information the website is: http://www.pcrg.org/conference/.
Organized in 1988, PCRG is a nonprofit advocating for smart, equitable policies and adequate resources to build vibrant and strong urban neighborhoods. It is a coalition of community leaders working for economic justice, equitable investment practices and sufficient financial resources to revitalize communities throughout Allegheny County. According to its website, the group brings community groups, financial institutions, nonprofits, and government agencies together to collaborate in the revitalization of Pittsburgh’s neighborhoods. PCRG provides services to protect homeowners from predatory lending, advocate for reinvestment in Pittsburgh’s neighborhoods, assist community groups in the revitalization of Pittsburgh’s neighborhoods, and report on lending practices in the region.
Regional business development groups, Christian Evangelistic Economic Development, the Micro- Business Institute at Pittsburgh Community Services, Inc., Urban Innovation21 and the Women Empowered for Entrepreneurial Excellence view 2014 in a positive light. “We are excited about the future of entrepreneurship,” said Alice Williams, executive director of WEEE.” “This region is changing and ripe for growth and the development of businesses.”