ReClaim Northside Ambassadors ’13

GTECH hosts its first set of ReClaim Ambassadors on the Northside. Developing a program that has the following goals:

1. Engage, equip and empower 10-13 Northside residents
2. Reclaim up to 13 places in the Northside utilizing a range of green strategies
3. Maximize investments leveraged by aligning with relevant funding streams

Recruitment: GTECH staff applied a multi-level approach to outreach and recruitment for the ReClaim Northside program. Both Councilmen Lavelle and Harris’ offices were contacted and encouraged to suggest residents they felt would be good candidates as well as the Northside Leadership Conference. GTECH’s Outreach Specialist attended several community meetings, announcing the program to attendees and leaving flyers with local businesses. An article was published in the Northside Chronicle was published and email blasts were set to partners organizations and individuals in GTECH’s network. We received 40 applications, interviewed top candidates and selected 10 of residents to serve as Ambassadors, as well as including a graduate from GTECH’s previous Ambassador cohort.

Vacant Land Education: An in-depth vacant land curriculum was developed and administered over the course of nine months. Topics addressed included land banking, volunteer management, design, Openspace Plan Pgh overview, partnerships and project management.

Project Implementation: Each Ambassador was allocated $4000 to put toward their own vacant lot project using the steps and lessons learned during the educational phase. These projects included gateways, food gardens, and corridor improvements. Each Ambassador worked with their local networks for volunteers and sponsorship of their projects.

Evaluation: This year we partnered with a PhD student from the University of Pittsburgh whose dissertation concentrates on the social implications of vacancy. Each Ambassador completed an initial survey and video interview to gauge their knowledge base on the topic of vacancy in their neighborhood and then again on how this program has impacted their perception. The survey was also administered within 2 blocks of each project to collect input from adjacent residents. Additionally, we provided surveys at the start of each class to measure knowledge gained from each session in order to help refine the curriculum during the life of the program.

Network Building: Each Ambassador gained a great awareness of how to communicate with their networks, over all engaging over 200 residents participating in the volunteer and celebration events.


  • Partnering Organizations: 11, including Community Based Organizations, After school Programs, and others
  • Vacant Lots Reclaimed: 9
  • Empower residents: 10 Northside Ambassadors
  • VolunteersEngaged/VolunteerHours: 95 volunteers for 175 volunteer hours
  • Raise an additional $40,000 leveraging Buhl Foundation’s contribution and meet our goals