Member Highlight: NeighborWorks Western PA

26 Apr

1. Organization: NeighborWorks Western Pennsylvania (NWWPA)
2. Founding Date: 1968
3. Executive Director & Board President: Colin Kelley (CEO) & Laura Swiss (Board President)
4. Current Staff Size: 11 full time, 2 part time
5. What geographic area do you serve?  Western Pennsylvania
6. What is your mission statement?  NeighborWorks Western Pennsylvania creates greater neighborhood wealth through accessible financial education, coaching, and community leadership development.
7. What is one project or program that you are really excited about? NeighborWorks Western Pennsylvania is really excited about the NeighborWorks Leadership Collaboratory (NLC) program, which launched in July 2014 with a cohort in the Hilltop communities. The purpose of the NLC program is to empower both longtime neighborhood leaders and emerging leaders who are working to transform their communities. Participants build their leadership capacity and professional and community development skills as they advance community-driven change. The NLC combines skill-building workshops with peer-to-peer learning, one-on-one coaching, and formal community development training, including attendance at four (4) NeighborWorks Training Institutes across the United States.

8. What are some of your organization’s recent accomplishment? NeighborWorks Western Pennsylvania is working on a program designed to alleviate generational poverty, focusing on key neighborhoods throughout the city.  Throughout December, we facilitated a workshop series in partnership with the Larimer Consensus Group’s Work and Wellness Team at the Kingsley Association designed to promote family financial education.  At the last workshop in the series, parents are encouraged to bring their children to the workshop to understand their family’s financial situation.  We work with the youth to help them understand needs versus wants, and the family discusses what their financial goals are.  Each family works together to create a vision board for their family’s respective financial goals.  Below are photographs from the workshop held on December 29, 2014:
NWWPA Workshop1_12.29.14NWWPA Workshop2_ 12.29.14NWWPA Workshop3_ 12.29.14NWWPA Workshop4_ 12.29.14


9. What is your favorite thing about your neighborhood? NeighborWorks Western Pennsylvania does not operate in only one neighborhood. However, in our work with the NLC Hilltop cohort, we have to say that our favorite thing about the Hilltop neighborhoods are all of the helpers – those organizations and people who are working tirelessly in their efforts and advocacy for their communities and the Hilltop as a whole. Many of those people are our partners.
10. What is a restaurant or business in your neighborhood that partners with your organization for an event or on a regular basis? In the Hilltop, there are several businesses that partner with our organization on a regular basis. Specifically, the Hilltop Alliance, especially Aaron Sukenik, Tim Dolan, and Siena Kane; Sweet Peaches, owned by Bek Hlavach, and The Hardware Store, run by Josh Lucas. All of these partners have been kind enough to lend their time, spaces, services, ideas, and even food to the NeighborWorks Leadership Collaboratory, and all are themselves a part of building community in the Hilltop in various ways.
11. Interesting fact: Founded in 1968 by the now-legendary community organizer Dorothy Richardson, NeighborWorks Western Pennsylvania was the first community-based group to respond to the lack of safe and affordable housing and has become a model for similar organizations all around the country.
12. Upcoming event(s): Beers of the Burgh Festival on Saturday, May 16th, 2015. Tickets go on sale March 5th:   The NLC Hilltop Cohort will also be unveiling their group learning lab project on Saturday, May 30th as a part of the Hilltop Community Day. NeighborWorks also regularly offers Homebuyer Education Workshops throughout the greater Pittsburgh region.  These workshops focus on preparing potential buyers for the home buying process, discussing the process of getting a mortgage, shopping for a home, understanding credit, budgeting, and maintaining the home after purchase.  Industry professionals such as real estate agents, loan officers, and home inspectors are regularly invited to present at these workshops regarding their respective role in the home purchase process.  Workshops are regularly offered at our HomeOwnership Center in Uptown, and a complete schedule can be found on our website at
13. Contact information: