Presley L. Gillespie has been hired as the first president of Neighborhood Allies
, a community development organization that focuses on incorporating people-based and place-based strategies into its work.
Neighborhood Allies, whose predecessor organization was the Pittsburgh Partnership for Neighborhood Development, launched in 2013 with the purpose of including 21st century community development approaches.
The organization is known as an intermediary funder to help neighborhoods in distress and addresses local issues like blighted buildings and homelessness. Innovative, resident-driven development strategies have worked extremely well in other Great Lakes cities such as Detroit, Cleveland and Youngstown, and Gillespie has been at the forefront of this work for the last five years.
Gillespie was most recently the founding executive director of the Youngstown Community Development Corporation
, the first city-wide community development corporation in Youngstown, Ohio.
In addition to Gillespie’s nonprofit work, he has experience in private sector banking. Prior to his work with YNDC, he had a successful 18-year banking career, primarily focused on community development lending and revitalization.
“Throughout my 23-year career, I have been deeply engaged in mobilizing capital and engaging residents to transform under-served neighborhoods," Gillespie says. "My experience as a community development leader in the nonprofit and for-profit sectors has led to a life-long commitment and passion to improving the quality of life of people affected by blight and disinvestment."
Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto was enthusiastic about the selection of Gillespie and the experience he brings to his new position.
“He has a proven track record of scaling up community development work and bringing millions in federal resources to local communities," Peduto says. "I am so pleased that Neighborhood Allies was able to attract a leader of his caliber to Pittsburgh to help us work collaboratively to rebuild our communities most in need.”
Gillespie added that he is excited to take the helm at Neighborhood Allies as its objectives go hand-in-hand with his personal and professional goals of local development. “First and foremost, I deeply believe in their mission,” he says.
In addition to his enthusiasm for the organization, Gillespie says he has “long admired Pittsburgh” as a post-industrial city that continues to flourish.
“Pittsburgh is a great city,” he says. “With a strong urban core and diverse and historic neighborhoods, it is poised for significant, continued growth.”
While Gillespie has plans to re-imagine, re-invent and re-tool the system with new cross-sector, strategic partnerships meant to foster the transformation of Pittsburgh's neighborhoods, he says he knows that the beginning of his term will be met with a lot of listening and learning.
Gillespie will begin his term as president mid-May. With his wife Nora and two children, he will be relocating to Pittsburgh this spring. He said the family is excited to call Pittsburgh home and take advantage of what the city has to offer.
“I look forward to visiting its world-class theaters, botanical gardens, green trails and sports venues,” he says. “The quality of life amenities in Pittsburgh are second to none.”
Writer: Caroline Gerdes
Source: Neighborhood Allies
, Presley L. Gillespie