Release date: 11/27/2018
Pittsburgh symposium on community-led transformation brings NeighborWorks America back to its birthplace
For 40 years, organization has certified thousands of people through its Training Institute and beyond; nearly 1,700 professionals and mayor expected
Pittsburgh, PA — In 1968, the collective efforts of Northside Pittsburgh residents led to the creation of the first Neighborhood Housing Services (NHS) organization. The Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation, known as NeighborWorks America, is a product of the pioneering community development model created 50 years ago. On Dec. 3-7, NeighborWorks America returns to its roots in Pittsburgh to host a weeklong training institute and symposium that will explore how to develop resident leaders of all ages; incorporate and optimize community assets; and identify lessons learned from NeighborWorks America’s origins.
During that pivotal time in 1968, Dorothy Richardson brought together neighbors, local government officials, and bank staff to persuade the banks to extend loans to residents previously labeled "unbankable" so they could improve their homes or buy them from slumlords. She created a new model of community development, centering on the rights of residents to safe, healthy and affordable housing options. The Dec. 5 symposium "Looking Back to Move Forward"
will highlight residents like Dorothy Richardson, who continue to fight tirelessly for underserved neighborhoods across the country. The annual Dorothy Richardson Award for Resident Leadership
recognizes outstanding contributions by dedicated community leaders.
"The roots of NeighborWorks America go back to a resident-led campaign for better housing and access to safe financial products, like home improvement loans in Pittsburgh — spearheaded by a homemaker in the neighborhood, Dorothy Mae Richardson — and as we celebrate 40 years we want to honor and learn from her legacy," said Marietta Rodriguez, president and CEO of NeighborWorks America. "In the years ahead, NeighborWorks organizations around the country will continue our dedicated work to build and restore communities all are proud to call home."
Among the confirmed speakers at the symposium are:
- Marietta Rodriguez, president and CEO, NeighborWorks America
- Mary Phan-Gruber, executive director, Jefferson Regional Foundation
- 2018 Dorothy Richardson Award honorees Johnny Carter and Audrey Stubbs
The NeighborWorks Training Institute in Pittsburgh is supported by a variety of partners, including JPMorgan Chase Foundation, Wells Fargo Housing Foundation, Bank of America, Citi, BB&T, Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh, Freddie Mac, Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, and PNC.
NeighborWorks America is the largest trainer of nonprofit community development nonprofits in the country, and last year awarded more than 17,000 training certificates across all disciplines to staff members at approximately 2,400 organizations across the country.
About NeighborWorks America
For 40 years, Neighborhood Reinvestment Corp., a national, nonpartisan nonprofit known as NeighborWorks America, has strived to make every community a place of opportunity. Our network of excellence includes more than 245 members in every state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. NeighborWorks America offers grant funding, peer-exchange, technical assistance, evaluation tools and access to training, as the nation's leading trainer of housing and community development professionals. NeighborWorks network organizations provide residents in their communities with affordable homes, owned and rented; financial counseling and coaching; community building through resident engagement; and collaboration in the areas of health, employment and education. In the last five years, our organizations have generated more than $34 billion in investment across the country.