Pittsburgh Works makes neighborhoods better places to live. We work with community based organizations to improve their ability to serve constituents by bringing community voices into the decision-making processes. Through capacity building workshops, seminars, webinars, and individual organizational consultations, we empower organizations to become stronger intra and inter-community organizational partners and collaborators. We also link them with regional, state, and federal opportunities and resources.
In late 2013, we convened two groups of South Pittsburgh Hilltop organizations to discuss ways to improve services for children and youth. This led to an immediate realization. While we recognized the multidimensional challenges of youth issues. We were able to sort all of the organizations into one of two categories. One category contained the organizations of hard working community folks who put their hearts into service and tried to meet all of the needs of all of the children they served, thus stretching themselves well beyond their capacity to be effective in any single domain. The second type of organization was usually larger, funded, and focused and driven by a mission to do what they do well. These larger institutionalized actors lacked the flexibility to engage outside of their mission and were unable to capitalize on their real potential to be change agents.
These organizations evidently needed new approaches, resources, and tools if they were to be successful. Few of the organizations could assess their own needs and efficiencies. They could not develop a strategic plans, form effective and sustainable collaborations, engage in community consensus processes, or access the resources to develop these skills and competencies. There was no larger visionary activity that united the potential power and efforts of the people that wanted to make community work.
Pittsburgh Works developed in this space to fill the need to be a service agency for service agencies.