PITTSBURGH, PA – February 1, 2020

The Coro Center for Civic Leadership, regional leader in developing diverse talent and building civic leadership, unveiled a new program aimed at supporting communities most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The program will address immediate and long-term community needs.

Through a $300,000 grant from PennServe, Pennsylvania’s state service commission,  the year long Coro Commonwealth Civilian Coronavirus Corps will work in partnership with A+ Schools, The Forbes Funds, Latino Community Center, Sustainable Pittsburgh, and the YWCA Greater Pittsburgh developing and implementing Public Health Awareness Projects that reach communities hardest hit by the pandemic and to support broader recovery efforts and ensure that the food insecurities, housing insecurities, gaps in internet access and in student learning that have resulted from job loss and virtual school environments, are alleviated. 

“Since covid-19 hit our communities, Coro has been working behind the scenes providing over 65,000  hours of direct support to help regional organizations serve our communities while building the agile leadership skills critical to navigate the crises facing our communities,” said Selena Schmidt, Executive Director of Coro Pittsburgh. “This program and partnerships will enable us to be future focused – to understand the most critical impacts, identify underlying inequities and challenges that existed before this virus, and build the leadership needed to create a pathway to recovery.”

The year-long program will select 12 Corps talented adult residents the opportunity to work and learn alongside top public health experts and nonprofits in the Greater Pittsburgh region. Members will serve at nonprofit partners each week as well as developing and implementing Public Health Awareness Projects that reach regional communities that have experienced the greatest impacts.   

“Over the past year our community has come together in unprecedented ways to serve the needs of children and families so students can continue to learn. We are excited for this partnership with Coro and Americorps to be able to expand our capacity to coordinate and connect families and students with community resources and volunteers,” said James Fogerty, Executive Director of A+ Schools. 

Said Rosamaria Cristello, Founder & Executive Director of the Latino Community Center, “…When COVID-19 hit, we started to serve closer to 200 families per month. At first, we noticed our team going above and beyond, meeting families where they were and doing everything possible to support. As the pandemic continued, our leadership team became concerned. We value our team and we ask them to prioritize their mental health, as without them we would not be able to do what we do. Capacity quickly became a concern of ours. With this additional capacity support, we will be able to provide a high level of quality services to Latinos in our region, while hopefully providing relief to our current team and serving more families. We are very excited to have these new team members join our team.”

“The COVID-19 Pandemic has revealed a number of shocks and stressors to our system, thus disproportionately impacting communities of color and our areas resilient communities,” stated Fred Brown, President and CEO of The Forbes Funds and a founding member of the Black Equity Coalition. “Our partnership with CORO Pittsburgh, and their work to bring this public service initiative to Pittsburgh is timely for vaccine distribution, contact tracing, and to help contain the spread of the virus. The relationship also allows The Forbes Funds to continue to work with nonprofit organizations, public health professionals, government officials, and community leaders to address this new challenge in our region. Through CORO, this partnership will optimize existing resources at the grassroots level and leverage The Forbes Funds to pivot towards a different reality through regenerative methodologies.”

“We are thrilled to have these talented and energetic Coro Corpsmembers join our team,” said Joylette Portlock, Ph.D., Executive Director of Sustainable Pittsburgh. “In 2020, Sustainable Pittsburgh, like many organizations, moved to address immediate needs, for small businesses, restaurants, and community members grappling with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Having the Corps members on board will help us maximize our impact as we work together to get through this crisis.”

Angela Reynolds, Ph.D, CEO of the YWCA of Greater Pittsburgh said, “Every day, YWCA Greater Pittsburgh cares for children whose lives have been severely disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The dual pandemics of COVID and racial injustice further stress families who are trying to pay their rent or mortgage, keep food on the table, meet basic needs and we’re already facing racial inequities in academic achievement. At YWCA we are committed to addressing those disparities and improve the quality of life for our neighbors. In partnership with CORO, YWCA Greater Pittsburgh Corpsmembers will work to support children and of color in achieving (realizing) academic success.”

Program compensation includes $1500 monthly stipend, job placement, health insurance, SNAP benefits, leadership training, and career coaching. Members will also receive an $6,195 Ed Segal Education Award upon successful completion of the program.

Those interested in serving as a member of the Coro Commonwealth Civilian Coronavirus Corps can apply now through February 21st, 2021. Coro Pittsburgh will unveil the cohort on March 14th, 2021.

For more information or to apply please visit https://forms.gle/hrazBybqG82nu9Jx5. Nominate a participant please visit https://forms.gle/yu9FZ1Xk4MBKEUD16. For media inquiries, please contact Christian Moore, cmoore@coropittsburgh.org.

About the Coro Center for Civic Leadership

Coro Pittsburgh’s mission is to advance ethical leaders and build leadership capacity in order to create a more connected and inclusive community. We are building a leadership pipeline to foster collaboration within and across Pittsburgh’s business, nonprofit and government sectors. 

Coro Pittsburgh was founded in 1999 and is one of five independent Coro centers in the United States. Over 2000 individuals have participated in a Coro Pittsburgh leadership program, including 35% affiliated with nonprofits, 25% from business, 15% from government, 15% in education, and 10% in philanthropy. In addition to our flagship programs, through a partnership with Public Allies, an AmeriCorps program that annually trains 800 nonprofit leaders nationwide through a 10-month full-time non profit apprenticeship, Coro Pittsburgh provides a $350,000 Federal investment into nonprofits in Western Pennsylvania annually.