05/24/2014: Welcome mat, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from Joanne’s photostream

Request for Proposals issued to facilitate council work

PITTSBURGH, PA (Aug. 15, 2014) – Mayor William Peduto today announced the members of the city’s Welcoming Pittsburgh Advisory Council, whose work will shape the initiative over the next three years.

Launched on May 28, Welcoming Pittsburgh is a citywide initiative designed to celebrate the city’s immigrant past and build a more welcoming future. The first step in its implementation is a 40-member advisory council that will determine Welcoming Pittsburgh’s work over the coming years.

“We are a stronger city, enriched with greater cultural and economic opportunity, when we create avenues that are accessible and welcoming to all of our residents — whether they have lived here for generations or are migrating to Pittsburgh for the very first time,” says Mayor William Peduto. “The Welcoming Pittsburgh Advisory Council will lay the groundwork for greater immigrant integration.”

The council’s main task over the next six months will be working with a facilitator to write a long-term and sustainable Welcoming Pittsburgh implementation plan. That plan will include efforts to engage both existing Pittsburgh residents and new ones, and synthesize welcoming practices into city government and its partners in local business, nonprofit and community groups.

The roadmap will seek to improve efficiencies by identifying overlapping practices offered by different stakeholders in the community, and highlight opportunities for the Mayor’s Bureau of Neighborhood Empowerment to build a model for creating a more welcoming experience for immigrants in Pittsburgh.

“Communities that successfully encourage welcoming practices for immigrants foster welcoming environments for all residents,” said Nonprofit & Faith-Based Manager Betty Cruz. “When we spoke with cities across the country to learn from their lessons it was clear that an important first step is to form a guiding council that will develop recommendations that make sense for our city.”

The council was selected out of more than 100 candidates who applied through a public online process. Those invited to participate share a wide range of perspectives including both direct and indirect experience with the diverse needs immigrants face. The council also represents a variety of skillsets ranging from executives in finance, law, and academia to individuals working on the frontlines on issues such as labor, human services, and community development.

The grant will also fund community conversations across the city and the production of marketing materials that the Bureau will use to build awareness for Welcoming Pittsburgh and the impact of immigrants in the city for its first three years.

The city has issued a Request For Proposals to hire a facilitator. The RFP is available here:

Terms on the voluntary council will end upon delivery of the implementation plan in roughly six months. After that period those interested will be asked to serve as Welcoming Pittsburgh ambassadors who will help implement plans for the initiative. The hiring of the facilitator and awareness-building materials for the first year of the initiative is underwritten with a $50,000 grant from the Hillman Family Foundations.

The 40 person council is comprised of:

Ana Maria Mieles, Cohen & Grigsby

Andrea Horton-Mericli, Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council

Andrew Pugh, University of Pittsburgh, GSPIA

Barbara Murock, Department of Human Services

Bonnie McCloskey, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh

Brandon Mendoza, Allegheny Conference for Community Development

Brent Rondon, Duquesne University Small Business Development Center

Brian Kovak, Carnegie Mellon University, Heinz School

Carol White Mohamed, University of Pittsburgh, Office of Affirmative Action, Diversity & Inclusion

Carrie Ann Quintana, PNC Bank

Christopher Amar, Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney

Elizabeth Bloom, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Elizabeth Heidenreich, South Hills Interfaith Ministry, Prospect Park Family Center

Ellen Freeman, K&L Gates

George Hazimanolis, WQED

Gretchen Mullin-Sawicki, Community College of Allegheny County

Guillermo Perez, United Steel Workers

Janis Burley Wilson, The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust

Jesus Torres, ParenteBeard

Josephine Olson, University of Pittsburgh, Katz School of Business

Joanna Bernstein, Casa San Jose

Kamana Mathur, MathurLaw

Kanak Iyer, Kanakadhara Financial Enterprise

Barbara Johnson, Carlow University

Kannu Sahni, University of Pittsburgh

Kelsey Russell, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre

Kevin McKeegan, Meyer, Unkovic & Scott

Kheir Mugwaneza, Northern Area Multi-Service Center

Lou Fineberg, Dero Bike Racks & Co-founder Bike Pittsburgh

Matt Pavlosky, Southwestern PA Commission

Melanie Harrington, Vibrant Pittsburgh

Michael Hogel, Mt. Lebanon School District

Nathan Darity, Amizade

Patricia Cain, Latino Family Center

Robert Bartle, AIReS

Sandhya Krishnan, Giant Eagle Corporation

Seth Hufford, The People Group

Sheila Wells Rathke, University of Pittsburgh (retired)

Susan Rauscher, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Pittsburgh

Thomas Buell Jr., GlobalPittsburgh