path to equity

2021 Impact Report

advance equity

We center our work and investments to foster a more just, fair, and inclusive society in which all can participate, prosper, and reach their full potential. We emphasize the importance of racial equity—the condition achieved when one’s identity no longer statistically predicts how one fares. Racial equity is a part of racial justice and thus we work to address root causes of inequities and not just their manifestations.

path to equity

2021 Impact Report

advance equity

We center our work and investments to foster a more just, fair, and inclusive society in which all can participate, prosper, and reach their full potential. We emphasize the importance of racial equity—the condition achieved when one’s identity no longer statistically predicts how one fares. Racial equity is a part of racial justice and thus we work to address root causes of inequities and not just their manifestations.

Our Organization’s Journey on the Path to Equity

Since Neighborhood Allies’ inception in 2014, the highest ideals of justice, equity, diversity and inclusion (JEDI) have been core to who we are and all that we do. From intentionally increasing the levels of diversity amongst our board and staff, to directing a majority of our investments and support towards Black-led organizations, MWDBE firms and communities of color, JEDI is the driving force behind our work. 

Last year, we formally launched our RISE HIGH (Racially Inclusive Solutions for Equity, Healing, Impact, Growth and Health) Strategy, that centers our work and investments in equity and inclusion and encompasses our role in advancing equity internally, externally and through communications. This strategy thoughtfully and intentionally weaves together initiatives like our Centralized Real Estate Accelerator, Digital Inclusion, Economic Opportunity, Get Online and Grow Online (GOGO), Fund My Future, and the Real Estate Co-Powerment Series; and partnerships with organizations like Omicelo Cares and Steel Smiling,   to collectively reduce racial gaps in wellness, wealth and opportunity in Pittsburgh.

In 2021, we upheld our commitment to equity by creating accessible and tailored resources for those we serve. Some highlights include, granting $500,000 in RISE HIGH Grant Partnership awards to minority and women-owned organizations and businesses and re-crafting our language and messaging to better reflect our intentions, role and value, launching a Quarterly Equity eNewsletter, and forming an Equity Policy/Advocacy Team.

Invested into RISE HIGH Grantee-Parnters

RISE HIGH Grant Partnerships Formed

Individuals/Organizations Contributing to Equitable Development

Contracts to Minority Entreprenurs

Invested in Equitable Development Activities

2021 RISE HIGH Grant Partnership Awards:

E

Catapult Greater Pittsburgh $75,000

E

Community Empowerment Association $75,000

E

Hill District Federal Credit Union $75,000

E

Wilkinsburg Community Development Corporation $75,000

E

Black Equity Coalition $15,000

E

East Hills Consensus Group $15,000

E

City of Bridges Community Land Trust $8,750

E

Greater Wilkinsburg Community Advancement Association $15,000

E

Greenwood Plan $15,000

E

Sibyls Shrine $15,000

E

Unshakeable Motherhood $15,000

How We Advance Equity

While equity is the very foundation of everything we do, we work directly towards our equity goals through a variety of programs and initiatives:

Centralized Real Estate Accelerator

The goal of The Accelerator is to ensure that community developers can forge long-term outcomes designed to benefit all residents. Through this program we provide technical assistance, capacity building, and connections with experienced real-estate professionals who can assist with strategy, coordination, mentorship and coaching. 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 communities, as well as a pipeline of investable projects.

Digital Inclusion Initiatives

Our Digital Inclusion work improves resident access to 3 critical pieces of achieving a high quality of life in the 21st century: computer literacy skills, computer ownership, and high speed internet. Most residents from under-resourced neighborhoods in the Pittsburgh region only have access to one or two of these pieces, and our job is to fill the void because everyone deserves to have the tools they need to learn, work, and live.

Economic Opportunity Initiatives

Our Economic Opportunity work addresses racial, gender, and geographic inequities in income, wealth, and opportunity. As the recognized local leader in the financial empowerment field, we develop strategic partnerships, raise resources, and create innovative and measurable solutions. While our initiatives are open to all people in Allegheny County, active outreach efforts ensure that a majority of the households we support are in under-resourced communities.

Organization-In-Residence

The intention of the Organization-in-Residence program is two fold–to incubate a nascent and growing, Black-led organization to eventually launch as an independent non-profit entity and to bring a holistic, more person-centered approach to community development by aligning Steel Smiling’s Black mental health programs with Neighborhood Allies’ economic mobility and digital inclusion work.

RISE HIGH Grant Partnership Program

The RISE HIGH Grant Partnership Program provides an opportunity for applicants to partner with Neighborhood Allies over a set period of time to achieve meaningful and measurable equity and inclusion results in the Pittsburgh area.

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