Neighborhood Allies Welcomes Tamara Cartwright, recent UDREAM Fellow and Carnegie Mellon Grad, to the Team!13 Comments
We are thrilled to officially welcome Tamara Cartwright to the Neighborhood Allies Team! With her extensive experience in Urban Design and Planning and previous involvement in Pittsburgh neighborhoods, we knew that Tamara was the perfect fit for our Program Manager for Social Impact Design position!
Bringing Tamara, a native of the Bahamas and non-citizen, on board proved to be an intensive months-long process as we worked to obtain approval for her H1-B non-immigrant visa. Taking the lead on this lengthy process, Chief Operating Officer, Stephanie Chernay, spent countless hours on the application, providing proof of Neighborhood Allies’ need for capacity, working to gather references, organizing all the loose ends, and so much more. After nearly 7 months of Stephanie’s heartfelt work, Tamara finally began her first day on April 15th!
“It was a long process, but was most certainly worth the time and effort. Tamara is the right person for this position and will add immeasurable value to our organization.” – Stephanie Chernay, Chief Operating Officer
As Program Manager for Social Impact Design, Tamara will spend much of her time directing the activities of the Love My Neighbor! Grant program and the Grassroots Grantmaking Committee. This includes deep program analysis and extensive evaluation, needs assessments of Pittsburgh neighborhoods using principles of urban design (including GIS, asset mapping, scenario planning, etc.), managing GGC members, working with residents and organizations, and more. In addition, she will connect with residents through the use of engaging community outreach techniques, develop storytelling strategies surrounding the Love My Neighbor! program, and work to deploy technical assistance and extra support to help grantees lift up their gifts and talents. As part of the Capacity Building Team as a whole, she will also focus on pursuing fundraising opportunities that increase program impact, engage funders, and build awareness by identifying projects that will build up the social and physical infrastructure of Pittsburgh’s distressed and transitional communities.
Tamara’s specialized experience is what makes her the perfect candidate to take on this role. Tamara has spent 3 years living in the Pittsburgh area carrying out work in our communities. She holds Masters degrees in both Architecture and Urban Design from Drury University and Carnegie Mellon University, respectively. In addition, between 2015 and 2016, Tamara worked as the Community Programs Manager at Design Center Pittsburgh, and returned for an internship opportunity there in Summer 2017. She was also awarded a UDREAM scholarship to attend Carnegie Mellon University and enroll in their Urban Design program. This highly competitive program accepted just 10 recent graduates into the fellowship per year. Having both a Master of Architecture and Master of Urban Design degree has allowed Tamara to really think about and challenge the role that architects, urban planners, and designers play in shaping our cities. She believes strongly that in order to build better cities for the future we must be willing to distribute power from the state to the urban inhabitants and engage in more collective decision-making. (Which is just what she will be doing as she manages the Love My Neighbor! Program!!) You can see more of her work in her online portfolio.
During her time at CMU and Design Center Pittsburgh, Tamara completed hands-on projects in Pittsburgh neighborhoods and created lasting relationships within the community development sector. Some of the many projects she’s worked on include: Riverlife’s ‘tbd’ Under the Ft. Duquesne Bridge Competition Winner 2018 as a Studio Gruber Intern; BizBloom, a pilot program to gather data, prototype design interventions, and develop recommendations that can support and strengthen a diverse main street in the context of Bloomfield’s changing identity; several data collection projects at Design Center Pittsburgh with the Urban Redevelopment Authority, McAuley Ministries, One Northside, and Operation Better Block, among others; and The Beltzhoover Housing Style Guide in partnership with the Department of City Planning, UrbanKind and PCRG.
We are so excited to finally have Tamara as part of our team! Her energy and dedication to the work shone through so definitively that we knew she would be worth the time and the effort it took to secure her visa and add her to our growing organization. We need her skills and expertise in order to continue working towards our mission of creating and maintaining healthy neighborhoods across Pittsburgh!