ONCE A PITTSBURGHER FROM A FAR—Presley L. Gillespie, president of Neighborhood Allies believes in building people while building the market. (Photo by Diane I. Daniels).

ONCE A PITTSBURGHER FROM A FAR—Presley L. Gillespie, president of Neighborhood Allies believes in building people while building the market. (Photo by Diane I. Daniels).

PITTSBURGH, PA The National League of Cities (NLC) announced Aug. 31 that Pittsburgh is one of six cities to receive grant funding in the amount of $26,000 to improve the financial health of Pittsburgh’s residents as a part of the Financial Inclusion Systems and City Leadership (FISCL) project.

The FISCL funding will support the coordination of service providers around a shared financial inclusion agenda for the City of Pittsburgh which will include: the identification of shared goals and priorities for financial empowerment programs and services and a development process for measuring gains in financial capability beyond individual programmatic outcomes.

“We strive to improve the quality of life for all residents in the city,” said Mayor William Peduto. “This grant will allow us to work with everyday practitioners to understand the financial challenges residents face and also find a way to measure our growth in true asset building. I’d like to thank the NLC and Neighborhood Allies for being great partners in our quest to provide the resources necessary for improving the financial health to all residents.”

Neighborhood Allies, a local community development support organization, will be playing a lead role with the Peduto administration. Neighborhood Allies manages the Asset Building Network, a group made up of service providers, funders and bankers, who have begun working together to identify practical ways to improve the financial health of Pittsburgh’s residents.

“To make Pittsburgh a great city where all can prosper, we need to think bigger, reach higher and actively seek new partnerships,” said Presley Gillespie, president of Neighborhood Allies. “We are pleased to be a partner with the City and with National League of Cities to improve the connections between services, knowledge, and residents so that struggling families can get ahead.”

In January 2016, the NLC selected Pittsburgh as a participant in the FISCL project. In April 2016, Mayor Peduto joined mayors from five of the other selected cities for the NLC’s Mayors’ Institute on Financial Inclusion. The Mayors’ Institute provided the opportunity for mayors and their advisors to engage with national experts and peers to develop practical solutions to local challenges and take advantage of new and existing opportunities available to help residents gain a solid financial foothold.

Funded by MetLife Foundation, the NLC’s FISCL initiative will support Pittsburgh’s efforts to improve the financial stability of families through ongoing technical assistance, additional opportunities to apply for grant funds to support local financial inclusion efforts and numerous opportunities for peer learning and exchange. Local strategies developed in Pittsburgh will be showcased at the NLC’s National Summit on Financial Inclusion, a convening of cities across the country, in early 2017.

This project is a continuation of the City of Pittsburgh’s ongoing relationship with the National League of Cities. The city has secured $270,000 in grants to help enroll children in Medicaid and CHIP, and to create programs providing children with afterschool and summer meals. In 2014, the city was selected to receive an in-kind services grant to facilitate a community conversation on early childhood education, and in 2015 to be a part of a seven-city cohort focused on early learning.

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