Turning Up the Heat!

Grantee Spotlight

GRANT: 2015 Catalytic Grant $75,000
PROGRAM: Ready Now Ready Future
GRANTEE: Vibrant Pittsburgh
In June of 2015 Neighborhood Allies awarded Vibrant Pittsburgh and their partner, the Urban League with a Catalytic Grant in the amount of $75,000 to support the Ready Now Ready Future Program.

Currently, the Pittsburgh region is one of the least diverse metropolitan regions of the top 100 metro areas in the country. Our low level of diversity, particularly among foreign born individuals, puts the region at a competitive disadvantage. Given the changing demographics of the nation, growing talent demands of the region, and ongoing need for leaders to develop and drive the region’s future, it is an economic imperative that we seed a pipeline of diverse individuals who are ready to move into leadership roles throughout the region.

The funding provided by Neighborhood Allies is supporting the Ready Now Ready Future project – to offset barriers, like the lack of “non-merit advantages,” by building a web-based system that will facilitate connections of more diverse individuals to leadership opportunities in the region.  The system will provide web-based tools for a cohort of diverse talent that is either “ready now” or “ready future” for leadership opportunities and a cohort of “opportunity holders” committed to diversifying the ranks of their leadership teams. Read more
Get to Know Your Allies

Armando YanezCMU/Heinz School Fellow
1. What you actually do: I mostly evaluate the projects from our Catalytic Grants, and collect data on our focus neighborhoods. When I’m not doing that I work on our newsletter and collaborate with staff on different projects that they are working on.
2. The best thing about working at Neighborhood Allies is: Aside from working with such a legit squad, I would say the best part is that working here has given me the opportunity to explore and get to know Pittsburgh and see parts of the City that I would not have seen otherwise. Working here has definitely allowed me to have a greater appreciation for Pittsburgh and everything it has to offer.

3. If you were boss for the day you would: If I were boss for the day I would order pizza for the whole office. It’s important to reward the staff here for the great work they’re doing and nothing says “way to turn up the heat!” like pizza. But maybe I don’t need to be the boss for that to happen… any thoughts Presley?

4. If you ruled the world, what would you change on day 1: I’m not sure but I would like to do something about ending hunger. I hate seeing food go to waste knowing that so many people struggle every day just to find their next meal. 

5. Favorite Athlete: Kobe Bean Bryant! I grew up in Southern California and there was never anything quite like seeing the Black Mamba play.

6. Fav thing to do when not at work: Watch the Lakers play (or at least attempt to play… it’s been a tough season) or watch a movie/binge watch Netflix with my wife.

7. People would be surprised to learn that you: I can’t turn left.

8. Family/Pets: I am married and have a dog. My wife’s name is Tania and my dog goes by Pau. We are expecting another little guy to join our family, but first we need to find an apartment that will allow us to have two dogs.

9. Dream vacation: My dream vacation would be to take a year off from work/school and just travel all over Central/South America.

10. The boss says: "Armando is a trooper, self-starter and a real team player. I've watched him become more confident, knowledgeable, and increasingly relied on to produce very good work. We've thrown a lot at him from creating metrics and indicators, designing marketing materials to evaluating grant reports. He rises to the occasion every time. We're hoping he sticks around in Pittsburgh when he graduates!!" 
Upcoming Events
Rhetoric vs. Reality: Neoliberal Thought and the Racial Wealth Gap
February 4
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Building a Winning Business Plan
February 6
9:00 am - 11:00 am

New Sun Rising Cultural Gumbo Event
February 13
6:00 pm - 10:00 pm

Justice on Both Sides: Toward a Discourse of Restoration in Schools
February 25
4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Failure Lab
February 26
7:00 pm - 11:00 pm

Want an upcoming event featured on our Newsletter? Contact

Be sure to visit our website and follow us on facebook and twitter to stay up to date with the freshest community news happening in Pittsburgh! Do you have a great story to share? Use the hashtag #LetsBeAllies and email us at to join the conversation! 
Community Leadership Forum Builds Momentum and Kicks off Grassroots Grantmaking Program

At Neighborhood Allies, we believe great creativity, passion and ingenuity resides in our neighborhoods. The Grassroots Grantmaking Program (GGP), an initiative founded by Neighborhood Allies, invests in resident-led projects that aim to improve neighborhoods and engage fellow residents. Residents, who live in one of our target communities and are passionate about making a positive change in their neighborhood, can apply for small grants up to $1,000.  Through providing the necessary resources directly to residents, the GGP aims to unleash the untapped potential and passions in our neighborhoods and create visible and positive wins in the neighborhoods.

Where GGP differs from most grantmaking programs in Pittsburgh is in how funding decisions are made. The leaders of the Community Leadership Forum–the 19 leaders that represent our six target communities–will determine the criteria of the program and decide on which resident projects to fund. Read more.
Neighborhood Allies Selected as a Local Convening Leader in National Assets & Opportunity Network
Neighborhood Allies was selected to serve as a Local Network Leader for the Corporation for Enterprise Development’s (CFED) national Assets & Opportunity Network!
The Assets & Opportunity Network is a movement-oriented group of advocates, practitioners, policymakers, and others nationwide working to expand the reach and deepen the impact of asset-based strategies. The purpose of this Network is to serve as both a learning community and advocacy community – to both enhance member capacity to advocate and deliver asset services, and to foster growth of assets movement leading to opportunities at scale. The Network is a hub of action for local, state and federal policy advocacy as well as program implementation. Read more.

If you or your organization are interested in joining the Pittsburgh Asset Building Network, you can reach out to Sarah Dieleman Perry, our Program Manager for Economic Opportunity at Neighborhood Allies. 

Funder of the Month
We are so very proud to call The Heinz Endowments our ally, supporter and partner as we work together to help the region thrive as a whole community, economically, ecologically, educationally and culturally. Our work would not be possible without the tremendous support of long-time, core funders like Heinz, who has been supporting Neighborhood Allies since the very beginning. In fact, Heinz was very instrumental in the formation and launch of Neighborhood Allies and has helped shape our organization into the entity we are today! We’d like to take this opportunity to showcase and thank The Heinz Endowments for their continued commitment and support of our mission to support the people, organizations and partnerships committed to creating and maintaining thriving neighborhoods.

Support from Heinz enables Neighborhood Allies run and deploy numerous successful and impactful programs including, but not limited to our Community Development Fellowship Program, which was launched in 2014 with a grant from the Endowments. Read more.
Neighborhood Allies Welcomes our Newest Board Member Kevin Jordan!
Kevin Jordan is Senior Vice-President for National Programs at Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC). In his role he manages the national programmatic support that helps LISC’s local offices implement their comprehensive community redevelopment strategy called Building Sustainable Communities. He has also led the development and expansion of LISC’s Financial Opportunity Center model, which was awarded a White House Social Innovation Fund grant in 2010.

Prior to LISC, Kevin served at the Bon Secours of Maryland Foundation for more than 10 years, where he ended his tenure as the Director for the Working Families Department. Kevin has his BA from Le Moyne College, and a MA in Community Planning from the University of Maryland at College Park. Read more.
It’s almost Valentine’s Day. That means it’s time for Public Displays of Affection – for revitalized vacant lots and buildings, that is! The Center for Community Progress is organizing the 2nd Annual #LoveThatLot campaign! Find out how to participate here! 

Need some inspiration? Check out this great video on transforming vacant lots into positive community assets from our friends at GTECH. Be sure to use #PghFightsBlight to put local PITTSBURGH projects on the map!


Pittsburgh Selected to Participate in National League of Cities’ Project to Build Financial Inclusion for Families
PITTSBURGH, PA (January 26, 2016) The National League of Cities announced that Pittsburgh is one of eight cities that has been competitively selected to participate in its Financial Inclusion Systems and City Leadership (FISCL) project.

 “In addition to the Mayors’ Institute, National League of Cities’ (NLC) Financial Inclusion Systems and City Leadership (FISCL) project will support Pittsburgh’s efforts to improve the financial stability of families through ongoing technical assistance, opportunities to apply for grant funds to support local financial inclusion efforts and numerous opportunities for peer learning and exchange. Community Partners for this effort include Neighborhood AlliesNeighborworks, the United Way and BankOn.”

Read the full press release from Mayor Peduto's Office here. 
In 2014, Neighborhood Allies re-launched as a new and improved, 21st century community development support organization with a renewed and revamped commitment to improving the social and physical infrastructure of Pittsburgh’s distressed and transitional communities.


Our mission is to support the people, organizations and partnerships committed to creating and maintaining thriving neighborhoods.

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