Building relationships. Connecting people. Forging consensus. Driving change.

All of us at Denny Civic Solutions have devoted our careers championing the underdog – and transforming ideas into action.

DCS works to create positive change by managing civic campaigns and engineering public policy. With decades of hands-on expertise, we know how to foster an idea from inception to execution.  From John’s days as one of the youngest people in the United States to manage a statewide presidential campaign to his decades of experience at the intersection of the political, nonprofit, business, and foundation communities, we thoroughly understand how to create a message, target its focus, and move audiences to support or oppose an initiative, idea, or piece of legislation.

About John Denny


Throughout his career, John Denny has played a lead role in diverse humanitarian, corporate, public affairs, and philanthropic initiatives, ranging from his role as founder of Pittsburgh Social Venture Partners, to his leadership with the Allegheny Regional Asset District, to the successful Save Our Summer Campaign that raised $1 million in eight weeks to keep Pittsburgh’s public schools and rec centers open during a fiscal crisis.  For more about John’s successful past efforts, click here.

A constant throughout John’s career was his work supporting and representing the late community and political leader Elsie Hillman. He long served as a special assistant and consultant to Mrs. Hillman, as well as director of community relations for the Hillman Company, representing their interests in the foundation community.  His work for Mrs. Hillman spanned three decades and involved leadership on a broad range of initiatives critical both to her and the community, touching the lives of thousands of people in the process.

A graduate of Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College, John has garnered his skills through a unique combination of professional endeavors, ranging from corporate communications to grant-making in the Pittsburgh foundation and nonprofit communities. With threefold expertise from corporate, political, and nonprofit work, Denny understands the needs, strengths and challenges each party brings to the table and can balance those needs toward positive outcomes. In addition, Denny understands local and statewide government because he lives it; as a local elected official, John brings the understanding of the public sector to the forefront of his endeavors.

John Denny has been honored with Robert Morris University’s Alumni Achievement Award, Pittsburgh Magazine’s 40 under 40, The Pittsburgh Business Times’ Changemakers of the Year, and Pittsburgh Magazine’s Pittsburghers of the Year 2002. He is a contributing columnist to Pittsburgh’s Pop City. He is a committed member of the Board of Trustees for Carlow University, the Children’s Institute, the Pennsylvania Economy League, the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Pittsburgh Regional Advocacy Coalition of Chambers, the Allegheny Regional Asset District’s Citizen’s Advisory Board, Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children, the Greater Pittsburgh Metropolitan YMCA, and the YWCA’s Center for Race and Gender Equity.


charlie-lotz-headshotAbout Charlie Lotz

Associate Director 

Charlie has been with Denny Civic Solutions since 2012, initially serving as social media and web content director.  But the arrangement wasn’t exactly conventional.  After initially meeting and working with John on the Campaign for What Works while with United Way of Allegheny County, in 2012 Charlie and his wife moved to Seville, Spain, where he began his role with Denny Civic Solutions remotely, splitting his time between his online DCS responsibilities and teaching English as a second language.

When Charlie and his wife moved back to Pittsburgh in 2016, he began working as associate director, granting him the opportunity to work as a truly hands-on member of the DCS team and join in our mission of championing the underdogs of the world.

Originally from northern Kentucky, Charlie graduated from the University of Pittsburgh and worked in broadcast media before entering the nonprofit and public policy worlds.

About Traci Johnson


Traci comes to DCS with a wide variety of nonprofit and research experience, fueled by her strong passion for public policy and advocacy.

Traci hopes this opportunity will allow her to deepen her knowledge of the public policy and advocacy world, while gaining firsthand experience in the elements involved in conducting a successful civic campaign. She is excited to learn, grow and be a strong contributing member of the DCS team – and she’s no stranger to our mission of “helping make the communities for which we work a far better place for all.”

About Olivia (Liv) Bennett

Public Policy Intern

Olivia is an undergraduate student at Carlow University, where she majors in Business Management and minors in Information Technology and Pre-Law. She is currently studying for the LSAT with the hope of attending law school. She worked for the Obama campaign in 2008, canvassing and getting people out to vote. She has long been passionate about politics, and is a true advocate who believes in actively engaging with lawmakers on behalf of vital causes and social justice campaigns.
Olivia is at DCS to not only get hands-on experience, but also to contribute in a tangible way towards making change in the community. She fully believes in being the change she wants to see.