PITTSBURGH – FEBRUARY 28, 2022– Today, the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy has announced its next steps in creating an equitable organization and park system for all.
In early 2021, the nonprofit solicited proposals to establish a contract with a qualified diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) consultant. In partnership with other environmental nonprofits, the organization has taken the next steps in this process. The partnering nonprofits selected Innovative Systemic Partnerships (ISP) International – an international firm of diverse psychologists and consultants who partner with organizations from every sector to bridge the health and wellness of individuals and systems to lead their DEI processes. In addition, the organizations recently held an internal training with their collective staff members, led by ISP. 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.
The year-long process will achieve the following goals outlined by staff members at the respective organizations:
- Create a space for each partner organization where staff can reflect and learn about the diversity of its colleagues and community at large.
- Provide tools and training to significantly shift how systemic racism is identified and removed internally and externally.
- Encourage partnering organizations to provide programs and services that meet the needs of populations who have not had the opportunity to participate in public programming.
- Create the necessary changes within the organizations so that Black Pittsburghers and other groups feel included and safe when participating in outdoor experiences and programming and employment at each organization.
- Create an “allyship” among the collective organizations about shared goals.
Catherine Qureshi, President, and CEO, Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, further underscored her commitment to this endeavor.
“We must create an organization that truthfully reflects Pittsburgh’s diverse and vibrant cultures,” Qureshi explained. “Pittsburgh’s parks are our most democratic spaces, and that thought must also translate into our own organization. I’m proud to work with my colleagues to foster an environment in the workplace that makes every individual feel welcome, respected, and included.”
The Parks Conservancy entered its 25th year with a continued focus on equity, one of its foundational tenets. Throughout the past several years, equity efforts were highlighted by the development of an equitable investment strategy for the entire park system.
“Park equity means much more than providing new equipment and increased park maintenance,” Qureshi explained. “Park equity means everyone feels welcome and safe in all parks.”
The Parks Conservancy will continue providing updates in the coming months as it furthers its commitment to organizational and park equity. Visit pittsburghparks.org/our-work/equity to learn more.
Contact: Alana Wenk
Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy
About Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy: Recently celebrating its 25th year, the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy was founded in December 1996 by a group of citizens concerned with the deteriorating conditions of Pittsburgh’s historic city parks. A non-profit organization, the Parks Conservancy works closely with the City of Pittsburgh under an official public-private partnership agreement to restore and improve the city’s park system to its full potential. To date, the Parks Conservancy has raised more than $130 million and completed 22 major park improvement projects. The Parks Conservancy works with thousands of volunteers, hosts hundreds of events, and provides programming for more than 7,500 children annually.