June 11, 2013 | Vol. 73 No. 46

Economic Development South receives a Strengthening Communities Partnership grant

Economic Development South (EDS) has been announced as one of the organizations to participate in Allegheny Conference on Community Development’s (ACCD) new Strengthening Communities Partnership (SCP), an initiative to concentrate private investment and help address disparities still present in many of the region’s communities.

“We’ve made great progress in our region but we’re not there yet. We want to revitalize communities faster. We think that happens by aligning investment and resources,” said Dennis Yablonsky, ACCD CEO. “When funding and other resources occur in a piecemeal fashion, it can make it really difficult to gain momentum and scale up activities.

“The Strengthening Communities Partnership is about focusing both funding and other assistance so communities ready to revitalize can get their projects on the ground more quickly.”

The goal of the SCP is to concentrate private investment through tax credits purchased by businesses in the PA Department of Community and Economic Development Neighborhood Partnership Program and complement that with targeted, pro bono professional services that will make redevelopment projects happen in the neighborhoods.

In the same way that venture capitalists pool resources to bring innovation to market, the Strengthening Communities Partnership seeks to create concentrated investment by pooling the resources of multiple businesses for community development.

“We believe the Strengthening Communities Partnership is a great way for businesses to be part of the comeback story for once-vital communities around our region. Purchasing business tax credits through the state’s Neighborhood Partnership Program directs much needed funding to specific community revitalization projects while reducing the cost of that investment to participating businesses. TriState Capital has been an active participant in the NPP and we can see that it helps bring back communities where people are committed to working together,” said Bill Schenck, chair, Strengthening Communities Partnership and vice chairman, TriState Capital. 

The five community development organizations that were selected for a pilot round of investment as part of the Strengthening Communities Partnership are:

• Economic Development South (the Brownsville Road corridor including Brentwood, Carrick, Mt. Oliver, Overbrook);

• Fayette County Cultural Trust (Connellsville);

• McKees Rocks Community Development Corporation;

• City of Washington Citywide Development Corporation; and,

• Wilkinsburg Community Development Corporation.

The initial round of investment in all these communities includes a modest seed grant, and support in seeking investment and technical assistance from Allegheny Conference member organizations.

The recipient communities were determined through an RFP process conducted earlier this year. Twenty proposals were submitted and considered by a review committee which consisted of the Pennsylvania Economy League of Greater Pittsburgh board advisory group, partners representing DCED, community development groups and the conference’s emerging leader group.

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