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Neighborhood Allies


429 Fourth Avenue, Suite 1900
Pittsburgh, PA 15219






Get To Know Your Allies | Presley Gillespie | President

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As the president of Neighborhood Allies, Presley is responsible for working collaboratively with the Board of Directors, the community, key funders and staff, and has ultimate responsibility for the overall management of the organization, including but not limited to operations, fundraising, financial management, hiring and personnel management, board and external relations, vendor management, grant making and strategic investments and organizational performance.     

What does your work at Neighborhood Allies look like day-to-day?: The first thing to say about my day-to-day work is that there is never enough time in the day to do everything! For the most part, I spend considerable amounts of time with our team setting and translating our strategy and vision and working to understand and support the progress and challenges of their work (without getting in the weeds). I also spend a great deal of time on external issues, such as meeting with key stakeholders, board members, government leaders and organizational leaders.

What unique experience do you bring to your role?: I think the most important experience I bring to the work is my lived experience. I grew up poor and in a poor neighborhood, so I understand on a very personal level the intractible challenges and trauma our neighborhoods face on a daily basis. Professionally, I have worked in senior-level positions in the for profit, and not-for-profit sectors, so I bring a unique business and social approach to our work, as well. I call it managing Mission and Margin.

What are some professional interests that you enjoy pursuing (even if outside of your job description)?: As a former banker and capital provider for real estate development, I remain very interested in how real estate ownership, along with investing in the power and capacity of people, can really drive transformative change in neighborhoods. Understanding the key elements of inclusive, equitable real estate development is important to me, and I think it is critical to our region.

What is a project you are currently working on? How does it relate to Neighborhood Allies’ mission of creating and maintaining healthy neighborhoods?: We are working on many exciting projects, but I am exploring the community investment system and seeking to recommend a broader real estate capital delivery framework aimed at increasing scale, sufficiency, efficiency, and effectiveness of the system.

What inspires you most about working in community development?: What inspires me most is my personal mission of making good things happen for other people. That’s what we try to do on a daily basis.

What is your favorite part about working at Neighborhood Allies?: Hands down, our team!!!

What is your favorite thing to do when not at work?: Spend time with my wonderful family, including my dog Peanut.

Favorite quote: A person of words and not of deeds is like a garden full of weeds – Author unknown.

People would be surprised to learn that you….have an identical twin brother – Wesley!

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