Equity and Inclusion in Action

2022 Impact Report

fostering economic opportunity

Empowering families and individuals to achieve long-term, sustained financial well-being and build generational wealth.

Equity and Inclusion in Action

2022 Impact Report

fostering economic opportunity

Empowering families and individuals to achieve long-term, sustained financial well-being and build generational wealth.

Dollars of Savings Built

Residents Served

Dollars of Debt Reduced

Youth Bank Accounts Opened

Credit Scores Improved by 35 Points or More

Money Talks Program Is a Financial Game Changer for Local Black Women

Neighborhood Allies’ concept for Money Talks – that creating a supportive environment for local Black women to learn from experts and each other — led to gains in both confidence and knowledge of financial issues and investing for local Black women. In early 2022, we recruited a team of trainers – Jessica Perrone, owner of Her Financial IQ; Tamika Barrett, director of family development at Open Hands Ministries; Veronique Scullion, financial planner at Northwestern Mutual; and Violet Graham, controller at Neighborhood Allies. Thanks to a grant from the U. S. Conference of Mayors and outreach support from City of Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey, we recruited a pool of 670 Black women in Pittsburgh interested in participating in the program! The first cohort of 50 Black women participated in seven sessions about basic financial wellness, including financial attitudes and beliefs, credit, debt, saving, risk, and making a financial plan. During the summer, we hosted “Money Chats” sessions where participants were encouraged to seek free, one-on-one financial counseling from the Pittsburgh Financial Empowerment Center, free consultations with a Black female financial planner, and additional community resources for banking and saving such as Fund My Future PGH. In March 2023, Money Talks expanded its reach to meet the demand and serve even more Black women in Pittsburgh!

“Many women find talking about money and investing scary. However, with Money Talks, we provided a financial roadmap for women to build generational wealth, diminishing the fear and stigma of financial institutions and investing. I often say, ‘Your financial future will be brighter than your past.’ It was from the first day these ladies signed up for Money Talks, by investing in themselves, that their future started looking up.”

Jessica Perrone

Her Financial IQ

How We Help Foster Economic Opportunity

Wealth Building and Financial Improvement Programs:

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. The FEC provides financial counseling sessions to assist with credit, debt, savings, and/or banking, for individuals or couples, either by phone or video, or in-person at a number of locations around the county. Translation services are also available.

Fund My Future PGH

Fund My Future (FMF) helps families start their savings journey, building hope and a healthy lifelong savings habit by helping families save for college and other post-secondary goals. We host a monthly prize pool of $2,000, as well as supportive personal assistance in account opening and regular reminders to save. We also give informational sessions to parents and grandparents with our community partners, promoting complementary programs for families such as PA529 accounts, PA ABLE accounts, and Keystone Scholars. We are available to attend in-person community events to share the program with families.

Money Talks

Money Talks is a virtual community made up of Black women of various backgrounds and life stages who meet regularly to engage, share with each other, and learn from experts about saving and investing. The goal of Money Talks to reduce barriers that women of color face in building generational wealth, by increasing their knowledge and confidence in money management and investing. This support is offered through an interactive learning platform that includes optional live training sessions or self-paced video courses. 

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.

Youth Financial Capability

In the absence of school-based financial education, our Youth Financial Capability work provides high-quality, relevant resources and access to appropriate accounts to children and youth that increase their financial capability. We provide bank account access and financial education to children and youth at critical points of openness to new knowledge. Offered outside the classroom, these resources are contextualized to real life situations, such as teens starting their first jobs who are eager to open their own bank accounts, or children acquiring a new digital skill playing an interactive game that teaches about smart spending.

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.

Coalition On Race, Ethnicity, Poverty, and Disability

Since 2019, we have worked with the National Disability Institute to convene practitioners in both the financial services and disability services fields, helping to host large-scale convenings, trainings, and work group sessions on the topic of financial stability for people with disabilities.

Digital Inclusion and Equity Programs: 

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.

Mental Health Programs: 

Steel Smiling

Through our Organization-in-Residence, Steel Smiling, we are able to add mental health services to our program offerings. Steel Smiling is an entry point and a connector for local Black people to participate in mental health education and trainings, explore workforce development opportunities within the mental health field, and access a variety of supports for individual healing and mental wellness. Steel Smiling provides a variety of mental health-focused programming to Southwestern Pennsylvania’s Black community including Beams to Bridges and the Black Mental Health Fund.