Day 3 — Building Coalition Strength with Authentic Leadership

For the last day of the convening, we met at the Energy Innovation Center in Pittsburgh. We started with small group discussions sharing our experiences on the learning tour and the site visit. Then we explored how there are similar place-based trends that are happening in other funder communities that were important to share.

p4 Initiative

Matt Baron, Program Officer, Sustainability and Rob Stephany, Program Director, Community & Economic Development, at The Heinz Endowments continued discussions about the p4 initiative that is working to facilitate a sustainable, innovative, and inclusive model for growth.  Some of the partners of this initiative includes PolicyLink, the Brookings Institution, Urban Institute, City of Pittsburgh, The Heinz Endowments, and other local stakeholders.  

Based on a central framework of People, Planet, Place and Performance, the p4 initiative is creating a quantifiable system of metrics to inform and improve governmental decision-making and philanthropic strategies to ensure public and private investments are advancing a model of equitable growth.  Equitable development is a positive development strategy that ensures everyone participates in and benefits from the region’s economic transformation—especially low income residents, communities of color, immigrants, and others at risk of being left behind.

The p4 initiative builds upon Pittsburgh’s global relationships with cities, advocates for equity and inclusion, clean technology innovators, universities, and globally renowned architects and planners to create a new sustainable and inclusive approach to urban development, design, building, and employment. Its goal is a world-class city that benefits all residents.  In the fall of 2017, we plan to have an more in-depth dialogue about the development of p4 and how the initiative is possible to have a unique and historic moment for Pittsburgh to build a new framework for its continued success to benefit the region now and for future generations.

Building Coalition Strength with Authentic Leadership Development

We wanted to close the learning experience in Pittsburgh with an interactive powerhouse panel discussion and small group discussion on racial justice and authentic leadership in decision-making and building community power.

The session was moderated by Deborah Scott, Executive Director of Georgia STAND-UP, a “Think and Act Tank for Working Families” that is based in Atlanta, GA. Georgia STAND-UP supports community economic development through advocacy for community benefits, project work agreements, and other policies that increase equity and access to opportunity.  

“If we say we are for the people then they have to be at the table and they can’t be on the menu,” Deborah said. Her framing spoke to the heart of authentic leadership and sharing power to build power together.

Fr. Eric McIntosh, Priest in Charge at St. James Episcopal Church in Penn Hills, serves on the Spiritual Leaders Caucus and the Gun Violence Task Force of the Pennsylvania Interfaith Impact Network (PIIN). The challenges they face in their organizing work include never having enough money or people. Fr. McIntosh spoke of how while some of this work can be short-sighted and short-focused, we need to take the mantle and build leaders to continue the organizing and coalition work.  

"Organizing people is very difficult when you are working with people who struggle to find hope," said Fr. McIntosh. "It so important to be a faith based organization because it can drive, empower, and inject energy into a campaign that can do something today and the create hope for tomorrow and the next generation."

Angel Gober is an Organizer with One Pennsylvania, a statewide social and economic justice group. Her work as a parent organizer has driven the campaigns against School Push Out of black kids being forced out of school and making sure families making $15 per hour and are part of a union.  

One Pennsylvania, “is particularly good at building and developing leaders through our organization through our membership," Angel said. “This is one of the organizations where I feel like I can be my whole self. I am respected for being a woman of color in my city and I’m trusted to doing the work and apart of team of developing people of color and not exploiting them.”  

She shared a story of supporting a young mother with leadership and organizing skills, and how she has moved through the ranks of the organization to becoming a board member.

Darlene Lombos, Executive Director of Community Labor Unitedspoke of the false dichotomy between community and labor movements. While they are often thought of as separate, they are made up of the same people. Darlene discussed how important it is to have both an inside and outside strategy, and to do more cross-sectional organizing between silos and across local, regional, state, and national levels.

“We believe campaigns are not the end-all, but are the vehicle to build power,” Darlene said. "Campaigns build for the longer term, and if you are not doing that, then you should not be running that campaign.”

Darlene also lifted up the importance of empowering leaders of color to do power-building and how it is critical to strengthening the community. 

Rev. Rodney Lyde, Pastor at Baptist Temple Church in Homewood and Pittsburgh United Board Member, shared a beautiful and inspiring story of his leadership development trajectory that started with speaking at rally and went on to becoming a board member.   

“Peace is not a distant goal but is also the means of which we attain the goal," Rev. Lyde said. "It's the process of getting justice and equity. It’s about how we build equitable coalitions and tables, how we can be radically inclusive, how we are bringing people intentionally from the margins to the center, how we share power, and in doing so, relinquish our own power."