How we began
Sustainable Pittsburgh (SP) was established in 1998 as part of the Pittsburgh Technology Council with financial backing from The Heinz Endowments. SP was an outcome of the Pittsburgh visit of the President’s Council on Sustainable Development (September 1998) whereby a committee of civic leaders organized several days of community visioning around introducing concepts of sustainability to the region.
SP was initially organized with an Advisory Board to guide strategic focus on primary program areas of: Smart Growth, Diversity & Civic Engagement, Amenities & Lifestyle, Transportation for Livable Communities, Champions for Sustainability, Sustainable Community Development Network, and Sustainable Business and Community Solutions.
Coming into our own
SP became a project of the Tides Center in March of 2000. At that time SP left the Pittsburgh Technology Council to set up office in the Regional Enterprise Tower in downtown Pittsburgh. With the move, a full complement staff of four was added and the SP Member Network was formally introduced. From October 2002 to October 2006, SP engaged in formal partnership with the national Surface Transportation Policy Project to advance public transportation reform in the region by connecting land use and transportation planning. In November of 2005, SP applied to the IRS for exemption to become its own 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Exemption was awarded on November 1, 2006.
Over the past decade, SP has been a key contributor to elevating understanding of how social, environmental, and economic issues cannot be viewed in silos but rather must be addressed in a systems vs. symptoms approach. We have proven adept at building coalitions for change on issues that get at the heart of sustainability for the region.
SP’s work in these areas focuses on issues that transcend boundaries and play on a watershed-like basis including commute-sheds, housing-sheds, economic-sheds, etc. We educate and engage decision-makers and in turn elevate expectations for integration of the 3Es across the geography of government and institutions.