“We believe answers are located in our communities.”Fred Brown, President and CEO of The Forbes Funds
On June 24th, The Forbes Funds brought together and facilitated the Sustainable Developers and Investors Roundtable. This forum brings together non-profit and for-profit developers, government entities and authorities, foundations, financial institutions, environmentalists, and other stakeholders committed to equitable, sustainable development across the Pittsburgh region.
Special guests gave presentations, Daniel Dickerman, Program Officer at the Institute For Sustainable Communities; Daniel Craddock, Entrepreneur and co-founder with Khalil Morris of Family Tree Markets; and Tracy Mack Parker, the Principal and Senior Philanthropy Advisor at Citizen Philanthropy. Collectively, they shared their project goals and advice on how best to effect systems-level change.
The Forbes Funds Update
Before the presentations began, Kellie Ware of The Forbes Funds gave brief updates about the goals of the Forbes Funds and various programs. She emphasized how The Forbes Funds acts as a catalyst for area nonprofits and supports thriving community ecosystems driven by a shared vision, catalytic activity, and collective impact. She also noted how the Forbes Funds is also optimizing global frameworks at the regional and local levels as the organization is aligned with the United Nations UNSDGs.
Among the initiatives she brought to attendees’ attention included the Black Equity Coalition (BEC), the Anti-Racism Cohort (ARC), the Commons, and the Innovation Lab. These are various enterprises meant to bridge the gap on equity issues, shift organizational culture, and create innovative spaces for social entrepreneurship.
Building Community Resiliency
In his informative talk, Daniel Dickerman spoke about the need to reduce toxic chemicals and agents in building materials. Moreover, this goal of healthy building materials is tied to creating a cancer-free economy, driving equitable economic transformation, and affordable housing.
Part of his work has been to conduct a landscape assessment to identify the barriers to healthy building material adoption from the financial to the practice and take this feedback to make a broader system-level intervention. For example, he discussed a possible product tool that would help builders and developers purchase healthier building materials.
Ending Food Deserts
In his illuminating talk, Daniel Craddock spoke about the burning need to end the food desert phenomenon and food insecurity in the United States, especially among communities of color. Daniel was keen to emphasize that this, not your average grocery store.
Family Tree Markets would not only provide healthy food to local communities but would ensure it would be affordable as well. He remarked how the company’s mission is aligned with UNSDGs. This includes promoting mental health and a livable wage. Moreover, Daniel promised that Family Tree Markets would provide a premier shopper experience to be propelled by technology at every touchpoint. For example, the company envisions having an in-house social worker who can advise customers what foods they should purchase based on their medical history.
Last but certainly not least was Tracy Mack Parker. In her edifying talk, Tracy discussed the transforming landscape of philanthropy, which she defined as private resources for public goods. Tracy first spoke about her work in the philanthropy space. Her work has spanned over fifteen years working with individual philanthropists and their families and organizations such as Women Moving Millions and Global Fund for Women.
She then mentioned how there had been self-critique and reflection within the philanthropy space. Such as around the issues of equity and climate change. This is has led to a new generation of innovative capital for nonprofits. Examples of these innovative institutions include the Just Transition Fund and Cynthia & George Mitchell Foundation, working with nonprofits and local communities to mitigate the environmental impact of climate change equitably.