a year of powerful change.

2020 Impact Report

By deeply collaborating with community organizations on the ground, dedicated residents, and other amazing partners, we empower communities to be an active part of their own development, ensuring that the process is equitable and inclusive for all. Ultimately, we aim to support and encourage our partners’ best work by bringing hope, fresh ideas, expertise and resources to the table. 

Economic Opportunity

Financial Empowerment Center

The Pittsburgh Financial Empowerment Center (FEC), in partnership with the City of Pittsburgh and Advantage Credit Counseling, offers free, professional, one-on-one financial counseling to individuals and families looking to address their financial challenges and plan for their futures. From March of 2019 to December of 2020, the FEC helped more than 600 clients achieve a total of $832,000 in savings and $683,000 in debt reduced.

Accredited Financial Counseling Cohort

Launched in 2019, our Accredited Financial Counseling Cohort allows participants to achieve nationally recognized certification as Accredited Financial Counselors through the Association for Financial Counseling & Planning Education. The 2020-2021 Cohort started remotely in July and was led by a graduate of the 2019 cohort. To date, five individuals have passed the exam and four have received certification; several more plan to complete the process by mid-2021.

Fund My Future

The vision of Fund My Future (FMF) is that children and their families take practical steps that transform aspirations into reality and build confidence in the future as part of a local savings movement. Fund My Future provides the nudges, incentives, and assistance for families to save. The program makes saving fun with chances to win cash prizes each month.

Asset Building Network

We created the Asset Building Network in 2016 to address the significant inequities that persist, particularly for people of color and low-and moderate-income people in Pittsburgh. The 40+ organization network is a collaborative community for learning and advocacy to coordinate local resources and strengthen program and policy efforts to increase economic opportunity for all.

Pittsburgh Disability Awareness & Financial Inclusion Working Group

The poverty rate of people with a disability is nearly three times greater than those without a disability (22.5% vs. 8.4%). In response, we lead the Pittsburgh Financial Inclusion and Disability Awareness Working Group, launched by National Disability Institute in January 2020. We received funding from Heinz Endowments and Fisa Foundation to hire Achieva Family Trust to produce four workshops for financial professionals to assist them to better serve people with disabilities.  

Bank On Allegheny County Coalition

 In Allegheny County, nearly 30% of residents are unbanked or underbanked. Access to a basic transaction account is an important first step in participating in the financial mainstream – depositing earnings securely, paying bills efficiently, accessing credit, and saving. 90 Bank On coalitions around the country work to connect everyone to safe, affordable, and appropriate financial products and services – including Bank On Allegheny County. We are a collaboration between financial institutions, community-based organizations and local government to ensure that all residents have the opportunity to be financially healthy. Our members also offer services and educational resources that help empower people and families to improve their financial capability, health and independence.

Real Estate + Neighborhood Development

Centralized Real Estate Accelerator

 The Centralized Real Estate Accelerator empowers early stage for-profit and nonprofit developers and property owners to achieve their vision by improving technical capacity, increasing financial readiness, and building professional networks. The Accelerator focuses on community-based organizations, resident developers, and small business owners with the goal of creating more opportunities for community ownership in Black and Brown neighborhoods, as well as a pipeline of investable projects. The overall goal of this program is to generate system-wide change in Pittsburgh’s community development field to create more equitable outcomes for communities and people of color.

Real Estate Co-Powerment Series

 Co-created and launched in early 2017 by Neighborhood Allies and Omicelo Cares, the Co-Powerment Series is an education platform that demystifies the real estate development process, explains its associated terminology and brings to light the productive role community members and organizations play in the real estate and economic development inside their neighborhoods. An overarching goal of the education series is to shrink the technical proficiency gap that exists between real estate developers and community leaders that are involved in local development projects.

Schenley Heights Organized Revitalization Effort (SHORE)

The Schenley Heights Organized Revitalization Effort (SHORE), is a collaborative of  community based organization, public agencies, nonprofit institutions, and private entities who are working together to increase the number of affordable homeownership opportunities in the Upper Hill. In addition, we work with existing homeowners to help stabilize their properties and engage with residents to help improve the overall quality of life in the neighborhood.

Equitable Empowerment Fund

Created by the Urban Redevelopment Authority, the Equitable Empowerment Fund was designed to assist small organizations and businesses to respond to the URA’s request for qualifications to develop parcels along Centre Avenue in the Hill District. With support from the URA, Neighborhood Allies and our Shared Real Estate Talent Team provided technical assistance and professional support to applicants. Respondents meeting the criteria were eligible to receive help with items such as RFQ language/packet development, budget and proforma development, site analysis, feasibility analysis, and general project support to ensure that the vision for the parcel is feasible and fit within the community plan.

Get Online and Grow Online (GOGO)

We recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic will deeply challenge the future of our communities and economy. That’s why we launched a program in partnership with the Urban Redevelopment Authority to aid our local small businesses in implementing new, creative ways to reach their customers. Participants receive up to 10 hours of free technical assistance to help them enter the digital marketplace, receive personalized ecommerce solutions, refine their marketing and outreach, and network with the local business community.

Homewood Experience

The Homewood Experience offers a blended approach to community engagement, business development, sustainability, cultural integrity, all under the guise of an authentic branding narrative that preserves the history and pride of the Homewood Community. Over the past year and always in collaboration with community members, The Homewood Experience Team has worked with local artists to bring together an Art Walk, created a neighborhood Walk of Fame, worked with youth from the YMCA Lighthouse Project to develop a community soundtrack, and even produced a documentary that provides a grassroots context to the evolution of Homewood, its history as well as the vision and interpretation of the future for Homewood.

Equitable Growth Guarantee Fund

The Equitable Growth Guarantee Fund is a game-changing tool of the recently launched Centralized Real Estate Accelerator that aims to help real estate developers of color, and community-based developers, raise private capital for their projects.

Digital inclusion

Level Up 412

Level Up 412 is an equitable-access initiative devoted to providing educational opportunities and coursework to those interested in careers in the tech industry. Created by Neighborhood Allies, funded by Verizon, we work in partnership with respected regional partners committed to bridging the digital divide, providing STEM learning to all ages and populations. Through our programming, we offer the tools, resources, and encouragement for all of our scholars to pursue fulfilling career opportunities in the growing tech industry.

Beyond the Laptops

Beyond the Laptops began in 2020 at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Families and workers were expected to complete school and jobs remotely. Yet tens of thousands of students in our community didn’t have access to the devices or the connectivity required to successfully participate in the education of the 21st century. Along with many partners, we responded to the crisis by supplying over one thousand devices across Pittsburgh. That was followed by the sponsorship of 1000 internet accounts through Pittsburgh Public Schools.

Communications + Storytelling

Healthy Neighborhoods Celebration

Each year, using our Healthy Neighborhoods Framework as inspiration, the Healthy Neighborhoods Celebration & Award Ceremony honors and celebrates examples of exemplary work in Pittsburgh neighborhoods.

Shared Communications Platform

Through our Shared Communications Platform, we offer deep communications capacity to the system. Our goal is to provide an affordable fee for service model, through which we offer a la carte as well as full-service communications capacity, to our community development partners.

Data Integration/My Sidewalk

We are currently refining data integration across our programs and initiatives. Such initiatives will include a real-time dashboard of shared metrics and indicators that reviews our progress towards our yearly goals and outcomes. We are also working through The Partnership Network on standardizing collection points and outcomes for more systemic problem-solving and outcomes tracking.

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