PITTSBURGH, DECEMBER 1, 2020 – Leadership Pittsburgh, Inc. (LPI) congratulates a team of its 2020 graduating class, LP XXXVI, for having taken self-directed action to assist two local school districts, Sto-Rox and Brentwood, with their distance-learning challenges. With issues of Covid dominating all of the region’s schools, this team continued to work together post graduation from the class to develop a collaborative, civic-minded partnership between business and some of our region’s school communities. The team was able to engage generous support from Dollar Bank, which funded $22,000, covering the entirety of Phase One of the project.
This team of Leadership Pittsburgh graduates, co-led by Adam S. Ennis, attorney with Steptoe & Johnson PLLC and Pam Selker Rak, president of the marketing firm, CommuniTech, LLC, learned of Sto-Rox’s and Brentwood’s needs through The Allegheny Intermediate Unit, who put the team in direct contact with the two school district superintendents.
“We were surprised, and very pleased, to have heard from the LP team,” said Frank Dalmas, superintendent of Sto-Rox School District. “They requested a Zoom meeting with us to learn about the challenges we are experiencing and asked us for our ‘wish list’ of things that would help us to overcome our resource and/or budgetary roadblocks.”
Amy Burch, superintendent of Brentwood School District, and herself an LP alumna concurs. “We had a very productive discussion about both short-term and longer-term challenges, and the one thing both schools were struggling with in the near-term was getting enough cases for our students’ Chromebooks. The cases can significantly lengthen the useful life of the hardware that our students need to continue to grow in distant learning settings but there simply was no budget remaining to provide those.”
In total, the two school districts needed 2,000 Chromebook cases to meet their student population needs, and the LP XXXVI team identified this as an immediate, Phase One deliverable that it could help broker, together with Rak’s marketing experience and another team member, Dave Weber’s affiliation with Dollar Bank.
Weber championed the cause to Dollar Bank’s community giving committee and secured the $22,000 needed to underwrite the entire purchase of the Chromebook cases. They are expected to deliver to the schools in early December.
“Dollar Bank’s roots are deeply tied to the communities, commerce and values of western Pennsylvania,” said David Weber, Senior Vice President, Commercial Banking, Dollar Bank. “We are pleased to partner with Leadership Pittsburgh to help fuel the educational advancement of students throughout our region.”
“This is precisely the type of civic leadership initiative we hope to seed through our program,” said Aradhna Oliphant, President and CEO of Leadership Pittsburgh, Inc. “Working creatively and collaboratively, in the middle of a global pandemic, these alums from LP XXXVI have helped alleviate a practical pain point for our school leaders and helping to educate 2,000 students in our region. Our Board and I are so proud of them.”
This team continues to work with both school districts to help them address their longer-term challenges, including technical support of the devices, assisting with connectivity packages and business mentoring programs for their students. These initiatives will roll-out as part of Phase II and Phase III of the project.
The Leadership XXXVI team is comprised of:
- Denise Abbott, Fedex Ground
- Michael Abriatis, PNC Bank
- Bradley Balmert, Huntington National Bank
- Kurt Barshick, United States Steel Corporation
- Stacey Brodak, Waynesburg University
- Kbrown, Baldwin-Whitehall School District
- Thomas Engler, JP Morgan Chase & Co.
- Harold W. Ennulat, Carnegie Mellon University, Software Engineering Institute
- Timothy Love, People’s Gas
- Randy Lutz, Baldwin-Whitehall School District
- Nathan Rhea, Burson Cohn & Wolfe
- Brian Rider, Michael Baker Corporation
- Christine Robinette, Fragasso Financial Advisors
- Kelly Schaeffer, Premier Medical Associates
- Pam Selker Rak, CommuniTech, LLC
- Jaime Szoszorek, Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium
- David Weber, Dollar Bank
- Philip Woods, Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh
- Jason Wrona, Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney, PC
About Leadership Pittsburgh Inc.
Leadership Pittsburgh Inc. (LPI), an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, recognized as the premier resource for community leadership in Southwestern Pennsylvania. LPI has an alumni network of more than 2,000 influential civic leaders working to maximize the potential of our community. Modeled after existing programs around the country, the Leadership Pittsburgh (LP) program was conceived by community leaders, affiliated with the Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce, to enhance the quality of regional leadership through programming focused on awareness of community issues. Visit www.lpinc.org or call 412.392.4505 for more information.