Sustainable Black Community


In early 2009, POISE Foundation began a quest to determine if there was a vision for Pittsburgh’s Black community.  We began to ask various individuals, organizations and those involved in various initiatives “What is the vision for a Sustainable Black community in Pittsburgh?”  A summary of the responses to that question has typically been, I don’t know but I agree we need to have a vision to move forward.

So in late 2010, POISE launched a three phased initiative to:

  1. Develop the vision,

  2. Create a strategy to accomplish the vision, and

  3. Convene the community to implement the vision.

It is also our hope that the Pittsburgh Region comes to understand that this process, if done correctly, will provide many benefits and has the potential to reduce many costs not only to the Black community but to our region as a whole.

Phase I: Developing the Vision for a Sustainable Black Community in the Pittsburgh Region

POISE Foundation hosted twelve conversations in the African American community focused on developing a Vision for a Sustainable Black Community in the Pittsburgh Region. In addition to the conversations, the Foundation collected feedback using an on-line survey.  

After speaking with over 300 people, the Foundation compiled the information collected and developed a draft vision statement for the community to review. The Foundation developed a short video to highlight the conversations.

On Saturday, July 23, 2011, the community came together to review the draft, provide feedback and help refine the vision statement. As a result of the community meeting, a new statement was developed. To help capture the thoughts and emotions expressed at the meeting, the Foundation had a graphic recorder create the pictorials below.  


The Vision Statement for a Sustainable Black Community resulting from our conversations is as follows:


  • A Model of Collaboration, partnership and Innovation,

  • Uniquely diverse, beautiful, vibrant and connected,

  • Reinvesting culturally, spiritually, and economically,

  • Creating the best opportunity for everyone to live, learn, work and play.

Ron Lawrence, Vice Chair


The vision is completed, we obtained over 1,000 surveys of individuals in the community sharing their thoughts on what values are important to have a sustainable community.  We are in process of compiling the values information.  When complete, we will share the vision and values publicly and announce the start of the strategy phase of our work. You may add your input regarding values at any time by clicking here.

The real work of developing a strategy and a plan to implement will begin shortly.  It is our hope that this process is highly collaborative and will include many neighborhood representatives, as well as business, foundation, nonprofit, government and other key stakeholders who will provide the necessary human, technological and financial resources to accomplish the task.

If you are interested in being added to our e-mail list, please send your contact information to or join our Facebook page for weekly updates. You can also periodically check our website for updated information!