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Neighborhood Allies


429 Fourth Avenue, Suite 1900
Pittsburgh, PA 15219






Neighborhood Allies Has Launched the Community Development Fellowship Program

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Fellowship program aims to bring the next generation of community development leaders into our field by building a strong pipeline of talented, minority professionals from underserved communities.

Neighborhood Allies is committed to increasing leadership capacity among those who have been historically excluded and evolving the current community development system into an even more effective, efficient and creative network. One way we are doing this, is through our Community Development Fellowship Program.

The Neighborhood Allies Fellowship Program was created to foster the attraction, acquisition and retention of minority leadership in the community development sector of greater Pittsburgh.  According to a case study for the Annie E. Casey Foundation, minorities face unique barriers to pursuing and succeeding in social sector jobs, such as a lack of clear, accessible pathways to leadership and difficulty finding networks and mentors to guide them. At Neighborhood Allies, we believe that people have the inherent capacity to solve their own problems and that social transformation is within the reach of all communities. Because of this, all of our outreach and recruitment for the fellowship placements are focused on minorities and those who live in underserved communities.

“Investing in diverse talent – especially in those who come from underserved communities – can bring new ideas, passion and skill sets to attack the problems in those underserved communities, and it drives better outcomes for populations that our partner organizations are serving.” -Kevin Donahue, Annie E. Casey Foundation

About the Neighborhood Allies Fellowship Program

We will host three fellows simultaneously for one-year placements at Neighborhood Allies and/or community-based organizations in underserved communities at competitive salaries. After each fellow’s year is over, they will have valuable skills and connections within the community development field and will contribute to and expand our current expertise, capacity, and credibility to provide and deploy additional services, resources, and connections to Pittsburgh’s communities of need.

To enhance the experience of the fellows, the staff of Neighborhood Allies provides guidance and mentoring; we also provide access to community leaders for interviews and references they can use in their local job searches. Conferences and training resources are also available to the fellows, including opportunities outside of Pittsburgh. The goal is for each fellow to land a professional job within the field. Some fellows may become part of the growing team at Neighborhood Allies.

The fellowship program is a critical component of our commitment to increasing the local talent pipeline, creating succession and bench strength for community based organizations and ultimately, building communities equitably and ensuring that Pittsburgh is the most livable city for ALL.

Goals and Measures of Success

  • Increased leadership capacity among those who have been historically excluded so that communities are not just growing, but are growing equitably
  • Attraction and connection of emerging and potential leaders to local community development opportunities
  • Creation of a mentoring program that pairs community development staff with senior-level professionals in the field
  • Ample opportunities exist for networking, sharing experiences, and connecting socially between participants in leadership development programs
  • Participants/graduates in leadership development programs choose to remain and work in Pittsburgh in greater numbers than before the program’s inception
  • Participants/graduates of leadership development programs demonstrate (by survey or focus group or interview) an increased satisfaction and connection with others in the field and additional opportunities
  • Compensation provided to emerging leaders in community development is growing

An inaugural grant from the Heinz Endowments funded our first placement, Doni Crawford, who is our Community Data and Policy Fellow.  Read more about what Doni has been working on during her time here. We have also recently announced the job posting for the Real Estate and Placemaking Fellow, who will be hired this spring.

“My time as a Community Data and Policy fellow at Neighborhood Allies has truly been invaluable. I had little community development experience upon entering my fellowship and to be honest, I was apprehensive about the title “fellow.” I was at a stage in my career where I didn’t want to just be doing intern level work. To my immense surprise, this fellowship has been everything but that!” 

Fellowship Descriptions

Community Data and Policy Fellow: The Data and Policy Fellow is responsible for assisting community-based organizations with the identification of data sources, priorities for analysis, and the data collection planning process. The Fellow works with community leaders to inform the selection of relevant indications of community health and helps communicate neighborhood data and research to draw policy and investment related conclusions. In the long-term, this Fellow will advocate for the need and use of data-driven interventions by community-based organizations to solve problems that have largely resulted from generations of disinvestment and stagnated potential.

Real Estate and Place-making Fellow: Neighborhood Allies believes that place-making is more than simply constructing and rehabilitating buildings. Strategic real estate activities must leverage all neighborhood assets including public assets, economic assets, civic and social capital. Our Fellow will work as a real estate partner with CDCs, CBOs, and our real estate lender to help connect people to ideas, expertise, and partners to increase economic opportunity, quality of public amenities, and flows of capital into the built environment.

Leadership Fellow: The Leadership Fellow will aim to help Neighborhood Allies connect distressed neighborhoods by identifying and developing leaders within these communities. Community leadership requires developing teams of leaders to bring about change and new ways to approach community problems. The purpose of this fellowship is to inform Neighborhood Allies of the current landscape of leadership development in community development, specifically: to understand the general consensus on leadership development from the field; to identify strengths and weaknesses of the leadership development pipeline; and to determine potential roles for Neighborhood Allies in advancing leadership development.

For more information on the Neighborhood Allies Community Development Fellowship Program contact Presley Gillespie, President. 

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