This year was remarkable for many reasons, and we’re happy to let other outlets cover some of the more, shall we say, obvious examples. But here at Denny Civic Solutions, we always prefer to end the year with a look at the victories, both large and small, earned by our clients. And by that measure, 2016 was a doozy.
- Governor Wolf signs #IWantToWork legislation helping young people with disabilities: In May, Governor Tom Wolf signed #IWantToWork’s HB 400 into law, directing Pennsylvania’s Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) to begin working with students with disabilities early in their high school careers in order to help them secure internships and summer jobs. On top of that, #IWantToWork helped earn $7 million in state funding for the effort, drawing a federal match of $28 million in the process.
- Amachi Pittsburgh’s executive director appointed to key statewide committee: We’re thrilled that Amachi Pittsburgh’s ED, Anna Hollis, has been recognized for her tireless work on behalf of the children of incarcerated parents by being named to the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency’s (PCCD) Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention Committee in December. That announcement capped off a year full of wins for Amachi and the families they serve.
- PCAR and Governor Wolf usher in It’s On Us PA campaign: In addition to overseeing the Commonwealth’s 59 rape crisis centers, the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape is educating the next generation of Pennsylvanians on how to prevent future sexual assaults. A key component of those efforts is the It’s On Us campaign, a national effort now being launched in Pennsylvania accompanied by a $1 million grant for universities statewide.
- Bill backed by #StrongMomStrongBaby clears Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee: Paving the way for its advancement in the next legislative session, SB 1269 was unanimously approved by the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee in September. The bill is backed by the #StrongMomStrongBaby campaign and is designed to automatically qualify infants whose mothers who screen at high risk for postpartum depression for Early Intervention tracking and screening.
- Pittsburgh Skycar takes a step forward: A proposed system of hanging gondolas known as the Pittsburgh Skycar took an important, strategic step with the project’s submission to Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College School of Public Policy and Management for a potential feasibility study in 2017. A skycar would connect underserved and economically isolated Pittsburgh neighborhoods, reduce the burden cars place on our infrastructure, alleviate parking woes, and provide a green alternative to harmful vehicle emissions.
- Three Rivers Mothers’ Milk Bank cuts ribbon. In March, the Three Rivers Mothers’ Milk Bank opened its Strip District headquarters. The opening was the culmination of more than two years of planning, fundraising, and collecting donations of human breast milk to be pasteurized, processed, and distributed to fragile infants in need.
- United for Caregivers sees passage of CARE Act: Working closely with the AARP of Pennsylvania, United Way of Southwest Pennsylvania’s United for Caregivers Program helped develop the Caregivers Advise, Record, Enable (CARE) Act to ensure that upon release, hospital patients’ families are informed and prepared for the transition back into the home. The CARE Act was signed into law by Governor Wolf in April. United for Caregivers is also gearing up to host a community discussion on family caregivers with Secretary of Labor and Industry Katherine Manderino in the new year.
- The Pittsburgh Foundation tackles Pennsylvania’s opioid crisis. Working closely with Director of Public Policy and Advocacy Khalif Ali, the Pittsburgh Foundation hosted its first cabinet series with Secretary of Drug and Alcohol Gary Tennis. Public health, law enforcement, providers, civic leaders, and funders came together with the Secretary to address Pennsylvania’s devastating opioid crisis.
- The Center for Responsible Shale Development launches new name and branding campaign: CRSD’s efforts included extensive coalition outreach to ensure that our region’s growing energy sector and important environmental leaders work together for a better future for Pennsylvania and its communities.
- La Dorita Cooks gets cooking. La Dorita Cooks, a kitchen incubator located in Sharpsburg, successfully acquired all necessary kitchen equipment, officially became a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, built a strong board of directors, and has already helped dozens of food startup entrepreneurs.
Here at Denny Civic Solutions, our success is measured by making the community in which we live and work a better place for all. Our clients make that community better every day. And while we’re thrilled with all the 2016 accomplishments of these dynamic, forward-thinking organizations that we’re lucky enough to call clients, we’ve got a simple message for what lies ahead in 2017.