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Congratulations and Farewell Doni!

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In late January, Doni Crawford will be joining the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute (DCFPI) as their public policy analyst for affordable housing. At DCFPI, a local think tank in the District, Doni will lead their affordable housing policy work, with a particular focus on issues affecting communities of color and low-income residents. Her last day at Neighborhood Allies will be January 9th.

Doni was Neighborhood Allies’ Inaugural Community Development Fellow (Our Fellowship Program fosters the attraction, acquisition and retention of minorities in the community development sector of greater Pittsburgh) and has been with the organization almost 5 years, holding and excelling in multiple positions and roles.

“We are immensely proud of Doni’s growth and development, personally and professionally, during her time with Neighborhood Allies. I hired her through our Community Development Fellowship and she has blossomed from a young, quiet person to a confident, knowledgeable, dependable professional. As our inaugural Community Development Fellow, promoted to Program Coordinator, then to Program Manager–Doni has contributed to and expanded our organization’s current expertise, capacity, and credibility to provide and deploy services, resources, and connections to Pittsburgh’s communities.”

-Presley Gillespie, Neighborhood Allies President

Read on to learn more about Doni’s evolution at Neighborhood Allies!

“While I am excited to embark on my next chapter, it feels bittersweet to leave my family at Neighborhood Allies. I learned so much and gained valuable experience over the past four and half years that will be sure to serve me well in the future. I am thankful that I was able to begin my career at an organization that valued and embraced racial diversity and diversity of thought.  I am confident that I will not only leave with a wealth of knowledge but also lifelong friends.”

       -Doni Crawford, Program Manager for Research, Evaluation & Policy

Launched August 2014, the Neighborhood Allies Community Development Fellowship program was created to bring the next generation of community development leaders into our field by building a strong pipeline of talented, minority professionals from underserved communities. An inaugural grant from The Heinz Endowments funded our first placement, Doni Crawford, who was hired as our Community Data and Policy Fellow.

Doni spent the first two months of her fellowship familiarizing herself with data and sources for data to lead the selection of our priority neighborhoods, before co-developing and distributing a data needs assessment to over 250 organizations around the city. This survey comprehensively identified current data uses and data needs organizations throughout the city and neighboring boroughs so that we can better understand how best to provide funding, technical assistance, support and other services to CBOs, CDCs and citywide organizations. She presented her findings at UCSUR’s Sixth Annual Neighborhood Information Users’ Conference at the University of Pittsburgh. Doni also developed internal Neighborhood Snapshots that depicted community-level data for each of our target neighborhoods.

Doni did such great work during her placement that she was offered full-time employment with us and joined the Neighborhood Allies team as Program Coordinator for Research, Evaluation and Policy. In this role, Doni worked with staff and leadership to develop strategies to enhance our organization’s capacity to collect, aggregate, analyze, and report data around performance, outcomes and impact. She also worked with program staff to evaluate our programs and grantees, and serve as an asset to our partners for research and pursuit of funding.

In January 2017, Doni was again promoted to Program Manager for Research, Evaluation and Policy. In this role, Doni led internal strategic planning for the organization including developing a collaborative Healthy Neighborhoods Framework, Neighborhood Level Strategies and an associated evaluation system to hold ourselves accountable to our communities and funders. This framework became the unifying foundation for organizational decision-making and investments. She also co-led the implementation of All-In Pittsburgh, a Collaborative and regional strategy to change public policy and local systems to ensure that everyone participates in and benefits from our region’s economic transformation. She is also a graduate of Leadership Pittsburgh Inc.’s Leadership Development Initiative XXIV Program, where she served on the Steering Committee and led the Regulations subcommittee.

Please join us in wishing Doni the best of luck in her new position. Click here for more information about the Neighborhood Allies Fellowship Program.

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