VIDEO: Pro Bono Specialized Expertise for Sustainability Projects in Local Communities
Municipalities are gaining momentum in implementing sustainability projects. Through a unique partnership, regional corporate professionals are consulting with local municipalities to provide pro bono sustainability expertise. Outcomes include the corporate professionals gaining stronger connections with their communities and municipalities benefiting from technical assistance to further the adoption of sustainable policies and practices.
During the first round of this Pro-Bono Technical Assistance program, Local Government Academy, the Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management at Robert Morris University, and Sustainable Pittsburgh matched municipalities with employees from Alcoa. These employees, which included attorneys, strategic analysts, engineers, real estate and ethics specialists, and compliance managers, were allotted time off work to offer their free professional services. Alcoa volunteers prioritized the projects based on their skillsets, interests, and the community where the project was located. (Several volunteers were matched with the communities where they live.)
Six municipalities participated in the pilot round of the program, funded by a grant from Legacy Alcoa Foundation. Featured in the Alcoa Sustainability video, leaders in the communities and Alcoa volunteers discuss their experiences and the benefits of the program. The sustainability projects ranged widely from analysis and recommendations for optimizing recycling in the City of Pittsburgh to determining the feasibility and project specifications for developing a community kitchen in Millvale.
Municipal applicants for this program were required to be certified or pledged to earn certification in the Sustainable Pennsylvania Community Certification program, a program created by Sustainable Pittsburgh and administered statewide by the Pennsylvania Municipal League. This sustainability performance program presently boosts 77 certified municipalities across the state representing a population of 2.95 million residents. After participating in the Pro-Bono Technical Assistance program, three municipalities increased their Sustainable PA certification level. Millvale and the City of Pittsburgh achieved Platinum, and Sharpsburg advanced from Bronze to Silver.