PCRG’s Seventh Annual Community Development Summit is rapidly approaching, and I invite you to join us and our presenters to share, learn, and reflect on CommUNITY: The Power of People in Action, this year’s theme. We are excited to once again be joined by so many of you who come each year, now our friends, as well as those who will be here for the first time.
We are proud to bring the Community Development Summit to Pittsburgh each year – a city that has reinvented its economy and through innovative redevelopment strategies and has remained a national leader in community reinvestment. This year’s summit will bring together community leaders from across the region to share best practices, make connections, and build partnerships as we work toward the goal of improving the quality of life in our cities, our neighborhoods, and help our residents grow and prosper.
In addition to time for learning and sharing, our closing reception will provide an opportunity for PCRG to honor individuals, industries and organizations that have had an amazing impact in neighborhoods throughout Pittsburgh in the past year.
Thank you for taking the time to read this pre-Summit newsletter. To attend our event, please register at pcrgsummit.eventbrite.com by May 17. My staff and I hope that these two days proves to be an invaluable experience for you and we’re looking forward to seeing you there!
It’s rightly one of Pittsburgh’s hottest community development topics, and we felt that it was time that we had a discussion about what to do about it.
Pittsburgh is changing at a rapid, accelerating pace. Investment of all types are reinvigorating local economies, bringing more opportunities than we’ve had in generations. But, this makeover continues to pass by communities of color and old mill towns and, when investment does come, it doesn’t include those who’ve already languished for generations. Meanwhile, reinvigorated neighborhoods become unaffordable, displacing people from the opportunities they attract. Lack of quality, affordable transportation access strands people in place, reinforcing the cycle of poverty even as they struggle to pull themselves up. Public and private resources are increasingly constrained and the ability to deliver equitable community development is a greater challenge than ever. The questions we all have are: Where do we go from here? How do tools and systems shift from stemming decline, to becoming agents for inclusive, equitable growth and opportunity? What new tools and partnerships are necessary?
In this Opening Plenary, May 24 at 9AM, leaders across multiple sectors will discuss challenges, opportunities, and more. We will hear how Community Benefits Agreements can bring new, reinvigorated connections between banks and the communities in which they invest. Leaders in philanthropy and government will discuss how they are retooling support of on-the-ground efforts to remake our City and region for the 21st Century, and do so with socioeconomic and environmental justice considerations at the forefront. PCRG will present its own findings. Attendees are encouraged to submit their own questions. Continental breakfast will be provided.
Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group’s Seventh Annual Community Development Summit is rapidly approaching. On May 24-25, join passionate, innovative community and economic development leaders from all sectors as we explore efforts to build and sustain healthy, vibrant, and inclusive communities. Leveraging “commUNITY: The Power of People in Action”, sessions and workshops this year will examine how people take concepts, build support, and put them into action. It’s evident that, community development leaders across the spectrum want to know how to smartly effect change, in every area that impacts our communities and their people. Therefore, we want to break the cycle of triage management in an effort to create true wealth and opportunity for Pittsburgh communities city and countywide.
While our keynotes provide a broad contextual frame for discussion, our sessions and mobile tours are the setting where more intimate conversation can take place. Most of the sessions include speakers from a variety of fields. Nonprofit professionals, government employees, consultants, architects, activists, and community leaders come together around the same table to share their experiences. Our sessions and mobile workshops present case studies and practical toolkits that inspire change across the region.
Some of the exciting sessions attendees can look forward to include:
PCRG will also host its annual Membership Meeting during the 2017 Community Development Summit; serving nearly 700,000 people of southwestern Pennsylvania’s urban core, PCRG membership is comprised of over 60 member organizations consisting of community development corporations, community based organizations and various tier two service groups. Pittsburgh’s community development leaders will gather to celebrate their shared successes through respective membership organizations, and discuss current & ongoing opportunities and challenges presented throughout the development field. This year’s agenda will also include introducing this year’s keynote summit speakers, election of 2017-2019 Board Members and the ratification of the 2017-2018 policy agenda including popular topics such as the Housing Opportunity Fund, the Pittsburgh Land Bank, federal Neighborhood Assistance Programming and more.
This year, we are offering three Mobile Workshops to summit attendees, only $25 with registration for the conference. The workshops will take place on Wednesday, May 24 from 11:30 – 3:00 PM. Space is limited to 25 participants per workshop so register soon!
Our Mobile Workshops are a great way to get into the community and see for yourself the efforts that individuals and organizations across the region are doing to better their neighborhoods and the lives of their residents. Each mobile workshop features an area of the county and is hosted by organizations within those areas that are actively participating in projects to benefit their communities. Participants will board a bus at the Omni William Penn, departing at 11:30 AM, and will return at 3:00 PM on Wednesday afternoon. Lunch will be provided on each tour! The descriptions of this year’s Mobile Workshops are below.
Here and nationwide, the flourishing urban agriculture movement’s time is right; the average farmer’s age approaches 60, yet urban ag can reinvigorate this vital industry and create healthy communities while reversing blight and food access inequity. This mobile workshop, led by the Pittsburgh Food Policy Council and Penn State Extension, will demonstrate how Pittsburgh’s Urban Ag Community is working to build human capacity, dignity, food sovereignty and collaborative infrastructure through urban, community-rooted food systems. You’ll learn how our community dedicates itself to cultivating the next generation of farmers while experiencing high-impact projects in Homewood (Sankofa Village), Point Breeze (Edible Teaching Garden), and Braddock (Grow Pittsburgh’s Braddock Farm). Presenters will share how they provide hands-on education in sustainable agricultural practices, farm business planning and skills sharing opportunities, while working toward policy solutions and programs that lower access barriers to critical land and capital resources. The Pittsburgh Food Policy Council will also discuss its planning initiatives and policy priorities. Our lunch will be sourced with fresh, local ingredients.
The neighboring Allegheny River communities of Millvale, Etna, and Sharpsburg are facing new opportunities and old challenges involving equity, water, food access, air quality, mobility, and energy as the amount of new development is increasing in these three City of Pittsburgh-adjacent riverfront boroughs after decades of decline and disinvestment. Local organizations, public officials, and residents are coalescing around shared visions for each community to ensure that new development and local changes are equitable, sustainable, and beneficial to the entire area and people who call it home. Join the Millvale Community Library, Etna Borough, and Sharpsburg Neighborhood Organization as they lead a tour highlighting recent work completed – collaboratively and individually — throughout the communities, current initiatives taking shape, and future plans for community-oriented progress throughout these towns and across their boundaries. Stops on the tour will include local riverfront parks, business districts, community gardens, development sites, public art installations, and green projects.
People with disabilities – nearly 56 million of our neighbors – are America’s largest untapped consumer base with a shared annual disposable income of $544 billion. Like everyone else, they regularly travel, shop, and dine out. They are in our communities and yet–25 years after the Americans with Disabilities Act – are often disregarded. They continue to face inaccessible entrances and accessways and lack accessible transportation options. In Oakland, a coalition is pushing for a more accessibility-friendly neighborhood and business district and getting results. Oakland For All – Beyond Accessible is a collaborative program of Oakland stakeholders, nonprofits, local and state government, and advocates. Our initiatives include advocating for the creation of user-friendly buildings, commercial establishments, public spaces and policies. Part discussion, part experiential tour of successes and challenges, you will learn the challenges the disability community faces, successes this effort is generating, and how to focus on accessibility in your community.
For the Seventh Annual Community Development Summit, our Summit Steering Committee made sure the sessions selected were stronger and more compelling than any previous year. In the past, attendees have told us that they want to hear more about what’s happening in other regions. This year, we’re having sessions from the Greater Pittsburgh Region and beyond, with presenters from Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, Chicago, and Georgia, as well as all over Pennsylvania.
“Collaboration – The New Competition” will highlight the power of partnership, telling the story of the McKees Rocks Community Resource Center, an innovative model for centralizing health and human services organizations, and shares the lessons learned by Family Services of Western Pennsylvania’s as they have implemented the Ways-To-Work program with both for-profit and non-profit partners.
“The Impact of Funding Housing Rehabilitation in Fairmont, WV” will relate best practices of funding affordable housing projects from the perspective of decision-makers with the story of West Virginia practitioners who have successfully built affordable housing in a number of communities across their state.
Image Courtesy of Fairmont-Morgantown Housing Authority
Past Summit attendees have also told us that they are tired of sitting silently and listening to research and outcomes reports. For 2017, we worked hard to present interactive sessions that will achieve real outcomes. The session “Overcoming Persistent Neighborhood Challenges in Pittsburgh” has been developed over the past few months in collaboration with government officials and community activists from across the City of Pittsburgh. Three working groups on the zoning code, enforcement, and procedures being used by the City have met to develop new ideas. The session will hear input to develop real recommendations that will be delivered to the City after the Summit.
Finally, attendees told us to make sure to feature sessions that are practical in a variety of funding environments. “Activating Citizen Philanthropy for Healthy Neighborhoods” features crowd-funding professionals who will be able to give advice on accessing funding from local communities. “Fewer Meetings, More Action – Community Outreach Through Tangible Projects” presents case studies from Pittsburgh groups that have implemented tactical urbanism on a local scale. And the session “Fight Blight Using the Pennsylvania Conservatorship Act” will present a new tool to combat blight, with case studies of how it’s already being used in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.
Image Courtesy of ioby Pittsburgh
In all the sessions, attendees will hear from presenters who share both practical knowledge and research, incorporating their experiences in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors. Attendees will be able to bring home concrete action steps that will equip them to tackle the year ahead. Learn more about our sessions on our conference website here: http://www.pcrg.org/conference/2017-sessions/. You can register for the Summit at our conference website before May 17th: https://pcrgsummit.eventbrite.com. Registration is also available onsite, for an increased rate of $225.
Please join us on the first night of the Community Development Conference this year, Wednesday May 24, as we will be holding a Happy Hour event on the 17th floor of the Omni William Penn from 5:00 – 7:00 PM (or whenever the party stops!). This event presents a great opportunity to connect with community development peers, kindle old connections, and share a few laughs with the amazing people that attend the Summit! Come meet and get to know our sponsors and our staff, without whom there would be no conference! Share a drink or two and mingle over delectable hor d’oeuvres as you process and share your thoughts from the first day of the conference!
A special thanks to our wonderful sponsors for supporting our summit.
First National Bank, Huntington
BNY Mellon, Dollar Bank, SSB Bank, S&T Bank, Brentwood Bank, First Commonwealth Bank, UMPC Health Plan, Northwest, Ocwen, Rivers Casino
PA Housing Finance Agency, Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh, FHL Bank Pittsburgh, Highmark, Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania, Port Authority, Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh, Citizens Bank, Vantage Score, Radian
Friday, May 12
9:00 – 10:30 AM
Summit Online Registration Closes
Wednesday, May 17
Mobile Workshop Online Registration Closes
Wednesday, May 17
Wednesday May 24, Thursday May 25
[Omni William Penn]
PCRG Member Meeting
Wednesday, May 24
3:45 – 5:00 PM
[Omni William Penn]
Networking Happy Hour
Wednesday, May 24
5:00 – 7:00 PM
[Omni William Penn]
For more information on this newsletter, please contact Brigid O’Hara, Member Engagement and Communications Coordinator, at bo’firstname.lastname@example.org or (412) 391-6732 ext. 211.