By: Alan Hunt II | New Pittsburgh Courier | January 26, 2022 | Read the full article
Neighborhood Allies initially operated as the Pittsburgh Partnership for Neighborhood Development (PPND) in 1983. In 2014, it relaunched as Neighborhood Allies with what Director of Communications and Storytelling, Talia Piazza DePasquale, describes as a more targeted approach.
“We are trying to make sure that we are playing a relevant role for how Pittsburgh neighborhoods have changed over the past 30 years. We wanted to make sure that the work we were doing was right and relevant for the state of our communities,” said DePasquale.
Neighborhood Allies is driven by its North Star goal to over the next decade expand resources to accelerate, scale, and sustain the work of community partners to create healthy neighborhoods of opportunity and move 100,000 low-income Pittsburghers up the socio-economic ladder. They aid in fostering community partnerships, connecting partners and residents to resources, and sharing the success stories of the revitalization of the Pittsburgh region.
While navigating toward their North Star goal with plans like their 3-year strategic roadmap, DePasquale says staying abreast of what is currently happening in communities and making sure the work of Neighborhood Allies reflects that is key.
“It’s everchanging. It’s evolving; that’s something that we try to do as an organization, be able to adjust and be flexible with our partners to make sure we are creating space for the right solutions for communities at the right time with the right types of support.”
Through collaborations, Neighborhood Allies has produced programming such as Financial Empowerment Centers, the Centralized Real Estate Accelerator and the RISE HIGH Grant Partnership Program. All are centered on increasing equity and inclusion.
“This is at the foundation of all of our work, constantly grounding ourselves in equity and making sure that we’re meeting people where they are at and trying to develop and implement the best resources that people need,” said DePasquale.
One of the organization’s most significant achievements came during the pandemic. As needs grew, so did production. In 2020, Neighborhood Allies helped mobilize more than $3.6 million of investments in neighborhoods and launched or expanded 15 initiatives.
“I’m really proud of the way our organization has reacted to COVID and the needs of community in how we have pivoted our work,” said DePasquale. “We’ve recommitted to the value we bring to the community…we grew exponentially. We nearly tripled our staff. We’ve created and launched new programs and partnerships. We really, in the traditional sense of the word, have thrived through COVID.” In 2022 and beyond, Neighborhood Allies seeks to continue to build its brand as a partner, convener, thought leader, and trusted advisor.