The Parks Conservancy entered its 25th year with a continued focus on equity, one of the organization’s foundational tenets. Equity efforts these past two years were highlighted by the development of an equitable investment strategy for the entire park system. Working closely with the city of Pittsburgh, the equitable investment strategy is a data-driven plan to improve parks that have suffered due to decades of systemic disinvestment.
The Conservancy raised funds and initiated capital projects that improved parks serving diverse communities. The organization was much lauded for the 2019 restoration of the Northeast Fountain in Allegheny Commons, which has become a focal point for the North Side community. In 2021, the Conservancy restored a portion of the Allegheny Commons North Promenade, with plans to continue restoration of the Promenade in accordance with the park’s Master Plan. In McKinley Park, one of the City’s largest community parks, a green infrastructure capital project was completed in 2020.
Equity and engagement with diverse audiences remains a principle of the Conservancy’s education and programming outreach. In 2020, for the first time, Conservancy staff collaborated with Citiparks and Learn and Earn teams on the Meet Me in the Parks community program. The Conservancy facilitated nature activities at or near city parks that served as summer food distribution sites in Homewood, the Hill District, North Side, and East Liberty.
In early 2021, the nonprofit solicited proposals to establish a contract with a qualified and experienced Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Consultant. Now, in partnership with Venture Outdoors and Grow Pittsburgh, the organization has taken the next steps in this process. The partnering nonprofits recently held an internal training with their collective staff members, led by the selected consultant. This training is the first step in a year-long process to address diversity, equity, and inclusion issues at the organization, focusing on racial equity and guidance on how to best support Black Pittsburghers and park users.
ALL ARE WELCOME IN YOUR PARKS an organizational update - June 2020
WE ARE ALL IN. ARE YOU?
Pittsburghers need parks. They're where families create lasting memories together, where people of all ages connect to nature, and where all of us can simply enjoy a breath of fresh air. Parks, in return, do more than we realize. They clean the air, filter stormwater, lower stress, and provide a natural sanctuary.
We believe in the power of parks. We are all in. Are you?