So I go to a lot of meetings (A LOT!). And, not that I would admit this out loud, but I kind of like them; it turns out that they’re a pretty good stand in for a social life1. Obviously the folks in the neighborhood are cool to hang out with – frankly you all make me laugh – and it’s a bonus that the meetings often end up being at some nifty local restaurant like Carmi’s or the Allegheny Sandwich Shoppe or sometimes lemon loaves or chocolate mousse just appear (seriously, you guys should be coming to these meetings: I’m not telling you which ones, you’ll just have to try for yourselves). It also turns out that there’s a ton of really interesting ideas that get talked about in these meetings: the Candidates Night on April 14th; potentially developing the Stables into swanky condos; mulch (so complicated!); train trips to West Virginia, etc…

One meeting really stood out this month, though. I went to a talk at the Allegheny YMCA given by Diana Brucco of the Buhl Foundation. Honestly it was mostly to see if I could get some tips on for resubmitting the Sprout Fund grant that had been rejected. (Turns out 2nd time was the charm and we can now put our knowledge of mulch to good use on Tree Well day, April 11th). I was stunned to discover that the survey, that I had sort of half-heartedly filled out last summer had, turned into a $60 million commitment over 10 years to all the neighborhoods on the Northside. Even us!

My own assumption before attending this talk was that programs from these grants weren’t really intended for “affluent Allegheny West2”. But the focus of Buhl Foundation’s work around education, quality of place and employment apply just as much to the folks in our little corner of the Northside as anywhere else. Frankly, if nothing else the folks in our neighborhood have a lot of expertise to offer to folks in other neighborhoods who are embarking on work similar to what was started here 20 years ago. But what really impressed me was the fundamentally practical way the Buhl folks have approached setting priorities and implementing solutions: ask me about the work they’re doing around food programs in schools – it’s super cool but too complicated for a newsletter article. They are definitely interested in hearing what we have to say. I left that talk not wanting to be left out of plans that have such an incredible amount of potential. And so of course, I’m doing what we always do when we’re excited about something: I’m setting up (yet) another meeting – this time with Buhl Foundation. Expect to hear a lot more about this!

  1. Feel free to remind me that I said I liked meetings when I’m getting grumpy two hours into any random meeting. I’ll probably roll my eyes at you (such a bad habit!) but you’ll know it’s just because it’s probably the 3rd night that week that I’m at a meeting – getting inspired all the time is exhausting!
  2. From this article. I’m not sure I entirely agree with that characterization. even if the stats say our average income is higher. It’s way more complicated than that.