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New Board Members & New Executive Officers Elected to Neighborhood Allies Board

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Neighborhood Allies Welcomes Four New Board Members and Elects New Executive Officers!

Please join us in welcoming incoming board members, Gerald Dickinson, Dr. Roderick Harris, Jason Hazelwood and Robert Rubinstein who will begin their terms on  January 1, 2017, and congratulating new executive officers, Michele Rone Cooper as Board Chair, and Stephanie Cipriani as Vice Chair.

“We’re very pleased to welcome Gerald (Jerry), Roderick, Jason and Robert to our Board of Directors. Each brings unique and diverse perspectives and experiences that will benefit our communities, as we collectively work to create neighborhoods of opportunity for all”.

-Presley Gillespie

New Board Members


Gerald Dickinson

gerald-dickinson-resizedProfessor Gerald Dickinson is a lawyer and legal scholar, focusing his scholarship on constitutional property and the intersection between land use laws, housing and urban development. He teaches courses in property, estates and trusts and land, race and property rights at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. His advocacy also intersects with his scholarship and teaching, as he is a former Fulbright Scholar to Johannesburg, South Africa, where he advocated on behalf of inner-city squatters in unlawful removals in South Africa and, while practicing at the law firm Reed Smith LLP in Pittsburgh, Professor Dickinson founded and coordinated the firm’s Housing Rights Project representing indigent tenants in eviction proceedings. Professor Dickinson also served as a law clerk for the Honorable Theodore A. McKee, Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

Dr. Roderick Harris

Processed with Snapseed.Dr. Roderick Harris is a Deputy Director at the Allegheny County Health Department. He is also an adjunct faculty member in the department of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences (BCHS) at Pitt Public Health. In his role as one of the Deputy Directors of the Health Department, he is responsible for overseeing its 10 preventive health programs that range from maternal and child health interventions to infectious diseases and chronic disease prevention. Prior to his current position, Dr. Harris was Director of the Center for Health Equity at the Sedgwick County Health Department, in Wichita, KS. He has extensive experience with working in local health departments, and he has led a wide variety of community engagement and outreach projects.

In addition to earning his DrPH (in BCHS) at Pitt Public Health, he received his master’s degree in health services administration from Meharry Medical College, in Nashville, TN. He also holds an undergraduate degree in environmental health science from Ohio University.

Jason Hazelwood

hazlewoodje_cJason Hazelwood is a partner at Reed Smith, in the firm’s Commercial Litigation Group, and has a practice that focuses on both complex commercial litigation and financial services litigation, including numerous class actions related to both. Jason has handled a wide array of matters involving diverse areas of litigation, including the Fair Credit Reporting Act, Fair Debt Collection Action, Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, Truth in Lending Act, complex business disputes, securities litigation, health care, antitrust, landlord/tenant, construction, personal injury, negligence, and vast array of general commercial litigation. He has advised global financial institutions, Fortune 500 companies, corporate directors, foreign issuers, and various other corporate entities.

For two years, Jason served as in-house counsel for a large financial institution, managing and defending a significant portfolio of mortgage-related litigation which has given him a unique perspective of the rigors and pressures on in-house counsel that enables him to provide ultra-responsive client service. He performed all functions of an in-house counsel, including overseeing more than 300 matters, developing strategy and settlement recommendations, supervising outside counsel, and coordinating with client decision makers. In addition, Jason managed a team of lawyers at Reed Smith providing similar inhouse functions. Upon returning to Reed Smith, Jason managed a large portfolio of those same cases as outside counsel for the same client.

Jason has acted as lead counsel in jury and bench trials in state and federal court. He has also handled matters in alternative dispute resolution forums, including the American Arbitration Association (“AAA”) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”). In addition, Jason serves on the Board of Directors at the Pennsylvania Economy League of Greater Pittsburgh and the Design Center.

Robert Rubinstein

rr-headshot-11-3-16_resizedRobert Rubinstein has been revitalizing communities, supporting housing and economic development, and helping to generate public tax revenue since 1988. He currently leads the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh (URA). Before being appointed Acting Executive Director in 2012, Robert served in a number of roles at the URA, including Director of the Economic Development Department since 2006. He oversaw the direct lending of approximately $10 million annually to roughly 45 businesses and commercial real estate projects. Additionally, he was responsible for all of the City of Pittsburgh’s large scale development projects, including internationally-recognized Brownfield redevelopment and the creation, implementation and management of more than 20 tax increment financing (TIF) districts. Nearly $15 billion of investment has taken place in the City of Pittsburgh during this time, generating tens of millions of dollars in annual tax revenues for each of the local taxing bodies.

Robert also serves on the Governing Board of Pittsburgh Urban Initiatives (PUI), and has received national recognition, being named Public Executive of the Year at the 6th Annual Novogradac Journal of Tax Credits Community Development Awards. He has degrees from the University of Michigan (B.S., Engineering) and Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School (MBA) and has served on numerous boards and committees, both professional and civic. Finally, Robert was one of 300 invited members of the 2013 Remaking Cities Congress and a participant in the German Marshall Fund of the United States’ Cities In Transition 2010-2013 Transatlantic exchange program, and he manages and performs with Pittsburgh-based reggae band Ras Prophet.

 New Executive Officers


new-officers

 A Special Thanks…


We are immensely grateful to out-going Board Chair, Laurel S. Randi, who’s term as Chair has expired.  Laurel’s many years of leadership, dedication and commitment to Neighborhood Allies has brought us through an unprecedented organizational transformation. We are excited that she will continue to contribute as a board member.

Finally, we thank Bill Generett for his leadership, strategic thinking and guidance, while serving on our board.  His innovative and thoughtful guidance has been a model to follow. Bill will be truly missed, however, we look forward to our continued partnership with Urban Innovation21.

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