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The Forbes Funds and Neighborhood Allies launch new initiative to drive nonprofit collaboration

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A new partnership between The Forbes Funds and Neighborhood Allies will increase the collective impact of community and economic development nonprofit organizations in the Pittsburgh region. The organizations are developing a transformation leadership model through which regional resources will be better aligned around equitable development. Their goals: to rebuild neighborhoods, increase employment opportunities and reduce trauma and violence.

Consultant Chris Koch, who most recently served as CEO of Design Center Pittsburgh and as  co-founder of GTECH Strategies (now Grounded Strategies), will organize the effort. Koch will connect local nonprofits, foundations, government and university partners to encourage data-informed decision making, develop shared indicators and increase impact measurement.

“As the region continues to evolve as a leader in robotics, artificial intelligence and ‘eds and meds,’ this collaboration will help ensure that the nonprofit community is working together to support a region that works for everyone,” said Fred Brown, president of The Forbes Funds. “Our goal is to develop a framework through which nonprofits, neighborhoods and the region can better collaborate, measure impact and increase dialogue.”

Koch has a strong background in community and economic development and has led community data and collective impact projects including the Green Toolbox, Larimer’s SPARC project and an ongoing URA data assessment of commercial districts. She is also a member of an international data analysis working group for IRIS, an initiative of the Global Impact Investing Network, which seeks to generate social and environmental impact alongside a financial return.

Her experience bringing communities together around data will be a crucial element of the partnership’s success.

“Only when nonprofits, organizations and residents share common goals and align their metrics and actions can communities build capacity and impact at scale,” said Neighborhood Allies President Presley Gillespie. “We are delighted to have Ms. Koch help us create a new culture of problem-solving, collaboration and sustainability in service of improving lives in our vulnerable communities.”

The two organizations also see their partnership as a way to attract and retain talent in the region’s human services and community development sectors.

“Pittsburgh has the fastest growing population of millennials in the country. Chris understands that degree to which innovation, agile practices, transparency, diversity, inclusion and accountability matter to millennials. We’re excited to have such a capable leader helping us with this effort,” Brown said.

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