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Neighborhood Allies


225 Ross Street, Ste. 202
Pittsburgh, PA 15219






Omicelo Cares | Real Estate Co-Powerment Series

980 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

Real Estate Co-Powerment Series | Omicelo Cares | $75,000 Catalytic Grant

Neighborhood Allies and Omicelo Cares are the co-creators of the Real Estate Co-Powerment Series (“Co-Powerment Series”) which will serve as an education platform to demystify the real estate development process, explain its associated terminology and demonstrate how community members/organizations can meaningfully contribute to real estate projects within their own neighborhoods. This pilot initiative will be a combination of in-class instruction, coaching, and mentorship.

An overarching goal of the education series is to shrink the technical proficiency gap that exists between real estate developers and community leaders that are involved in local development projects. We hope to create long-term, working relationships between private developers, real estate experts, community based organizations, business owners and active community members.

As the co-creator and primary administrator of the program, Omicelo Cares will produce the final curriculum, create two real estate course-tracks: one for beginners and another for those more advanced, administer pre-and post- class surveys, interview and hire instructors and monitor mentee/mentor relationships.

Other key partners include the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, Green Building Alliance and NeighborWorks of Western PA.

The Co-Powerment Series will include 3 months of instruction specifically geared toward the participants’ projects. Each session will be a learning circle/workshop environment with the assistance of technical experts where the lessons learned become immediately applicable to the participants’ day-to-day leadership activities. Our goal is for at least 1 of the real-world projects to be developed after each course is complete.

The pilot class will consist of 20 students (2 cohorts of 10) from neighborhoods on the cusp of significant change, specifically Neighborhood Allies’ 6 priority geographies (Homewood, the Hill District, Hilltop, Larimer, Millvale and Wilkinsburg)  with the potential of having additional participants from other local neighborhoods. Students will be community residents, CDC/CBO staff members, non-profit board members, small business owners with varying levels of exposure to the real estate discipline.

At the end of the course, students will:

  1. Be able to evaluate deals and negotiate based on market realities and for the benefit of residents;
  2. Improve their ability to articulate community vision and expected outcomes utilizing the language of development;
  3. Identify creative ways to participate financially in development opportunities;
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New Granada Capital Campaign | Hill CDC

2015 Centre Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

New Granada Capital Campaign | Hill CDC | $15,000 Catalytic Grant

This grant supports a capital campaign planning study to asses the potential of raising as much as $10 million for the revitalization of the New Granada Theater. The comprehensive planning study, being conducted by David Goettler of Goettler Associates, is a critical evaluation of the organization’s capabilities and readiness to attain its goals and it will yield a specific strategy to reach those goals. This study ensures that the Hill CDC launches a campaign that encompasses the highest and best use of the building for the socio-economic benefit of the corridor and surrounding community.

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Moose Lodge | New Sun Rising

112 e Sherman Street, Millvale, PA, United States

Moose Lodge | New Sun Rising | $260,000 Loan | $72,000 Catalytic Grant

New Sun Rising’s (NSR) Moose Project is a direct result of the growth in food, energy, water & equity initiatives supported through the resident-driven Millvale EcoDistrict Pivot Plan, which along with a dedicated group of leaders and residents, drives development and planning throughout the community. 

One of NSR’s signature initiatives is the MODE Incubator System. Seeded by a Small & Simple grant from Neighborhood Allies in 2014, the NSR MODE social innovation system incubates clusters of underserved business and project leaders through programming, services, and resources. Leading up to the launch of the Moose Project, NSR implemented the Launch Millvale Food Enterprise Incubator, which consisted of 10 social enterprises comprising a local food system, including food waste reduction, composting, growing and education, logistics, retail, and a food hub. In just one year, the cluster established new food businesses, created jobs, and attracted additional investment and food businesses.

Building upon that success, with LISC/Neighborhood Allies investment and support, NSR will be repurposing the old Moose Lodge in the community to become sustainability resource hub. The 10,000 sq. foot building will not only be a vibrant community asset and home of NSR, it will also house a minimum of 5 food businesses, serve as a fresh food access point for the community including fresh food from the Gardens of Millvale, 412 Food Rescue, and Sprezzatura (cafe), and serve as the backbone facility for the development of the Millvale EcoDistrict Food System.

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Guide to Reframing Blight | Wilkinsburg CDC

1001 Wood Street, Wilkinsburg, PA, United States

A Practical Guide to Reframing Blight | Wilkinsburg CDC | $12,500 Catalytic Grant

A Practical Guide to Reframing Blight is a project designed to make the process of acquiring and rehabilitating vacant property easier to understand and execute. The project has two main components, a web element and a print element. While the video series is meant to be an introduction to vacant property acquisition prior to initiating the process, the printed workbook will provide a thorough and interactive guide to an in-progress acquisition, recording information and transactions, allowing WCDC staff to more effectively track and assist potential property owners:

  • A series of instructional videos organized around different steps of the vacant property acquisition and rehabilitation process. The series can be viewed sequentially as an introductory course to purchasing blighted property or the user can skip ahead to individual topics; each segment will be a part of the whole but can function as a standalone piece. The video series will cover the following: finding vacant properties, locating information about ownership and liens, methods of acquiring a property (applying for the Vacant Property Recovery Program, negotiating with an owner, sheriff’s sale purchase, and conservatorship), dealing with liens (applying for the Wilkinsburg Tax Compromise Program or the Wilkinsburg Tax Abatement), financing the acquisition (local and federal mortgage programs), beginning to rehabilitate, and next steps. The series will include a mixture of animations and interview footage, highlighting success stories and lessons learned.
  • The web video series will be supplemented by a workbook which will be made available in the WCDC office to interested parties. The workbook will be organized chronologically for the acquisition and rehabilitation process with space for the potential buyer to record key dates and numbers as well as checkboxes for important steps of the process.
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Millvale: Nurture Nature | Pittsburgh Schweitzer Fellows Program

Millvale, PA, United States

Millvale: Nurture Nature | Pittsburgh Schweitzer Fellows Program | $1,600 Catalytic Grant

Amanda Hagl, a Fellow/Physican Assistant at Duquesne University’s School of Health Sciences, will work with Millvale children and families with asthma to improve their health literacy and efficacy of inhaler use as well as triggers inside and outside. She will provide asthma health education classes at the Millvale Library and information about the existing resources available to underprivileged people suffering from asthma in Pittsburgh. Additionally she will provide radon kits for families and radon education.

Environmental health is a school of thought that recognizes the social, economic, and physical determinants of health. Creating healthier communities requires more than just expanding access to care, but also establishing environmental justice and expanding health education. Due to the need to expand public health knowledge to address health care disparities and to raise interest in environmental concerns, Amanda plans to develop interactive environmental health classes that educate parents and children about additional environmental health factors that may influence health.

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Youth as Researchers Initiative | Penn State Center Pittsburgh

Penn State Center Pittsburgh, Bedford Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

Youth as Researchers Initiative | Penn State Center Pittsburgh | $12,536 Catalytic Grant

The implementation of the Youth as Researchers Initiative will allow young people to actively engage in the research of key issues specific to their life experiences and develop action steps or policy recommendations that apply to their collective community experience. Through this initiative, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Chairs- Mark Brennan from PennState and Pat Dolan from Ireland will train community development practitioners to support and teach youth how to engage in research on issues of interest to them and ultimately their communities. The training will prepare practicioners to facilitate and support the conducting of valid, reliable research based on established social research principals throughout the summer of 2017, ensuring that collected data, identified concepts or constructs are translated into a functioning operating reality.

The Initiative is co-convened by the Allegheny Conference on Community Development and the Hill House intends to use the training for their Preventing Youth Violence: Examining the Effectiveness of and Intervention to Facilitate Collective Efficacy among Youth and Adults study. Program neighborhood representation includes Hilltop, Hill District, Homewood, Larimer, Millvale, Wilkinsburg and program partners include UrbanKind Institute, Homewood Children’s Village, The Hill House, the Kingsley Association and members of the Conference.

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Pgh Mobile Toolbox | GTECH Strategies

GTECH Strategies, Hamilton Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

PGH Mobile Toolbox | GTECH Strategies | $15,750 Catalytic Grant

You bring the team. We bring the tools. That’s the slogan for the PGH Mobile Toolbox, which supports a growing network of Pittsburgh residents who are ready to mobilize to transform their communities. Beginning in April, 2017, this shared community resource will be available, free of charge, to volunteer groups and organizations who need landscaping tools for neighborhood cleanups, vacant lot beautification, or the implementation and maintenance of food gardens, green infrastructure, trails or general community gathering spaces.

Visit the Lots To Love website to learn more and even reserve the PGH Mobile Toolbox for your community project!

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