More than 3,000 elected officials from every corner of the United States convened in Pittsburgh during the 2016 City Summit in Pittsburgh from November 16 through 19. They attended general sessions, mobile workshops, and other collaborative events that helped to explore and attempted to solve national city priorities, including sustainability, transportation, innovative partnerships, and climate change. The Covestro Institute for Engagement at the Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management hosted one of the mobile workshops, called the Corporate Connection, which focused on the idea that healthy relationships between nonprofit and corporate agencies are a key part of thriving cities of all sizes.
Summit attendees traveled by bus from the David L. Lawrence Convention Center downtown to the North Side and arrived at City of Asylum, home of co-founders R. Henry Reese and Diane Samuels. They marveled at the unique location, now a thriving community for writers, readers, and neighbors. Once they found their seats, the Bayer Center’s Peggy Outon introduced them to the Covestro Institute for Engagement and welcomed lively and engaging dialogue about how cities can leverage and embrace cross-sector partnerships for impactful change in their cities, from Austin to Ann Arbor.
Yvonne Van Haitsma, ESC Program Director, introduced the audience to how skills-based volunteering puts business professionals to work on a technical or business challenge of a nonprofit. She and Justin Lee, of the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, discussed the impact and process of this new program on its initiative to provide 60 million meals by 2025.
Lulu Orr, Program Director of the Covestro Institute for Engagement, introduced PNC’s Tracy DeCock, who spoke about the importance of high-quality boards of directors for nonprofits through BoardsWork! Lulu also demonstrated through personal testimonial the value of customized board member matching for both the nonprofit and the individual.
The workshop came to a close with a panel discussion focused on extending skills-based volunteering to municipalities. Jim Price (Sustainable Pittsburgh), Shelley Ranii (Alcoa), and Kyle Winkler (City of Pittsburgh) discussed the unique challenge of municipality work and engaged with the audience on how scoping projects and working together as a team were key to the success of their recycling initiative.
City of Asylum’s Henry and Diane gave a brief history of their home and mission of the organization, while attendees boarded the bus and returned back to the Convention Center for a packed day of information and collaboration.
The Covestro Institute for Engagement was grateful for the opportunity to showcase Pittsburgh and its powerful partnerships through programs like the Executive Service Corps, skills-based volunteering, and BoardsWork!