On Evan Frazier’s last official day as president and CEO of the Hill House Association, his co-workers threw him a farewell party. And in true Christmas spirit he gave something back, announcing the agency had reached a new fundraising goal with the help of the largest corporate gift ever received.

FAREWELL—Left: Dr. Jeannette South-Paul of UPMC talks to Evan Frazier. At right: Tika Hemmingway talks with Evan Frazier.

“We have reached our $10 million mark in our capital campaign, thanks in part to EQT Corp. making the largest corporate donation in Hill House’s history,” he said, Dec. 18.

Hill House board chair Greg Spencer called the $500,000 gift “historic.”

“EQT’s gift is historic in terms of dollar amounts, and immeasurable in terms of outcomes for the Hill House,” he said.  “The gift is momentous in the ways it will help Hill House sustain some of its most important neighborhood development programs.”

Frazier said Victor Roque, a long-time board member recently named interim president and CEO, will shepherd through the final $2 million phase of the capital campaign and guide the agency as the search for Frazier’s successor continues.

As friends, co-workers, board members, clients and community advocates enjoyed the food and refreshments in the Hill House lobby, they extended their best wishes to Frazier in his new position with Highmark. Among these were Hill Consensus Group co-chair Carl Redwood Jr., Rev. Calvin Cash, housing advocate George Moses, Jackie Dixon, publisher Luther Sewell and board members Dwayne Cooper and Al Heiles.

“It’s bittersweet because it’s been an incredible journey. It’s hard to leave Hill House,” Frazier said. “But I’m not going too far, and if there’s a role I can play here, I will.”

At one point during Frazier’s celebration, Tika Hemingway, who recently won gold medal in boxing at the Pan American Games in Ecuador and who also directs the Hill House day care center, emerged from her office to give him an Olympic T-shirt, prompting cheers from throughout the lobby.

“Wow, an Olympic shirt from the Olympian,” he said. “This is fantastic.”

During his tenure, the Hill House association turned an ancillary storage space into a revenue- generating Family Dollar store, and acquired the neighboring office and retail space built by developer Irv Williams. Frazier also directed the capital campaign, more than half of which is going to restore the Kaufmann Center and Elsie Hillman Auditorium to a destination for music and culture.

Frazier has also positioned the Hill House to act as a major service and training provider via the community benefits agreement sign by the City of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County and the Pittsburgh Penguins relating to the construction of the Consol Energy Arena future economic development in the Hill District and on the current Mellon Arena site.

Prior to Joining Hill House, Frazier worked as a vice president for PNC Bank and also as vice president of the Manchester Bidwell Corp.  He is now Highmark’s senior vice president of community affairs.

(Send comments to cmorrow@newpittsburghcourier.com.)

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