Wellness and Work: A Talk with Selena Schmidt & Sarah Boal of Coro Pittsburgh

by | August 9, 2021 | Past Events, Community Resources | 1 comment

The Forbes Funds was joined today by special guest Selena Schmidt the Executive Director of Coro Center For Civic Leadership Pittsburgh and Sarah Boal, a crisis navigator and founder of SBGlobal Consulting. Coro is an organization dedicated to advancing leadership in the Pittsburgh area through community building. Their mission is to advance ethical leaders and build leadership capacity in order to create a more connected and inclusive community. The latter organization, SBGlobal, is a company that helps companies and organizations navigate and thrive in uncertain environments. Access the recording of this community call here.

Wellness and the Nonprofit Sector

In this exceptional talk, Selena Schmidt and Sarah Boal discussed the impact of Covid-19 on the nonprofit sector’s (i.e., organizational) and personal wellness and resilience. As Sarah Boal pointed out, the pandemic had organizational implications such as programmatic execution impacts and infrastructure/space limitations noting that they add a layer of stress on already existing problems that nonprofit leaders have to deal with.

On a personal level, the pandemic has affected community dynamics, for example, living with indefinite uncertainty, and financial issues. They also brought into focus the “persistent racial and ethnic disparities” between different communities regarding mental health. A Harvard study about stress, anxiety, and depression revealed the gendered nature of mental health. Here “4 out of 10 women are reporting high rates of depression and anxiety.”

Stress Continuum Slide

Sarah noted that stress is not an on or off button but rather a continuum that continuously shifts depending on material context and social responsibility, which segued into a discussion on cycles of hope that help reduces stress:

Cycle of Support Slide

The Cycles of Hope is a strategy of retaining hope either at a personal or organizational level on how to reduce stress. It could be as simple as asking a colleague about their day or as a supervisor giving an employee a smaller project to help them manage their stress.

Sarah also discussed wellness steps to consider such as working with an expert to get the help one need, taking baby steps in completing tasks, or asking help from family, friends, and colleagues.

Sarah Boal then highlighted the work of Coro Pittsburgh that could help nonprofits, especially with regards to capacity building through hiring a Public Ally for 10 months, for a six-week project, or to schedule a presentation with their C5 Coronavirus Corp. These help to build capacity for nonprofits and gain tools & knowledge for mental health knowledge. Get in touch withSelena Schmidt or Sarah Boal to learn more about a possible capacity-building pathway with Coro Pittsburgh.

GPNP Updates with Colleen Young


The CDC has announced a new federal eviction moratorium after the federal ban lapsed. The new moratorium bans evictions in areas of “substantial or high” levels of covid-19 transmission, which applies to 80% of US counties and expires October 3rd.

27% of Pennsylvania renters have said they would be unable to pay rent on time for next month. Hence, the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) is there to help assist distressed renters with getting the relief they need.


The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) Revenue Options Commission is experimenting with new forms of revenue collection. Some of the proposed ideas include mileage-based usage fees, increasing vehicle registration, and adding a surcharge to deliveries and rideshare apps.

Pennsylvania has the 2nd highest gas tax in the United States, which supports 75% of transportation funds. The secretary of PennDOT has proposed switching the taxes for mileage-based user fees.

The bipartisan infrastructure bill has passed the Senate and now heads towards the House for a vote.

Military and Veteran Support

Military Veterans Support Slide

Military veterans and their children have access to the Educational Gratuity Program, which provides financial assistance for those attending post-high school education and training in Pennsylvania.

Maternal and Childcare Support

Pennsylvania has extended postpartum Medicaid coverage for mothers from 60 days to 1 year starting April 2022 per new ARPA guidelines.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health has announced $1.2 million in federal funding to support long-term outcomes for pregnant and parenting families through a spectrum of services. The program is slated to last five years.

Opioid Epidemic

Governor Tom Wolf has signed the 15th renewal of the 2018 Disaster Declaration to fight the opioid epidemic in Pennsylvania.

The Republicans have declined to support the renewal but indicated that tackling the opioid crisis through legislation would be among their top priorities in the fall.

Among the successes of the program Life Unite Anti-Stiga Campaign increased availability of naloxone, Get Help Now Hot Line, improved first responder training, and evidence based-treatment through Pennsylvania Coordinated Medical Assistance Treatment programs or PacMAT.


President Biden has extended the student loan moratorium to 31 January 2022 where interest rates will remain at 0%.

The administration of Governor Tom Wolf has announced a $1.6 billion in one-time federal relief to support and sustained an in-person learning environment. Moreover, the funds will be used to support expanded learning opportunities for students who have been most impacted by Covid-19 such as remote learning equity.

Pandemic professional waivers will end starting on 30 September 2021.

Arts and Culture

BIPOC cultural organizations interested in participating in the Heinz Foundation’s Pittsburgh Cultural Treasures grant program may apply here.

Covid-19 and Vaccine & Mask Rules

Racial disparities still remain between the different racial groups when it comes to vaccine distribution and infections rates have climbed in areas with low vaccination rates.

The CDC has updated its guidelines to recommend masking in areas of high community transmission. Mask wearings protect the most vulnerable including the immunocompromised and children.

In Pittsburgh, the local government has announced that vaccinations will be required for new hires starting on Friday–following the example of Allegheny County. It should be noted only two-thirds of nearly 6,000 county employees have been vaccinated.

Heal, Connect, and Co-create at the 2021 Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership (GPNP) Summit!

2021 GPNP Summit call for speakers and presenters

Call for Presenters: What Innovative Ideas Do You Have to Share With the Nonprofit Industry?

Colleen reminded everyone of the opportunity to help design innovative and essential content that will inspire action in one or more of the three areas: Heal, Connect, and Co-create in the upcoming biennial GPNP Summit (October 13, 14, 15). The long-awaited Summit brings together over 1,000 leaders across sectors every two years, with ongoing learning and networking opportunities available in between the conferences to maximize impact.

GPNP invites funders, nonprofits, students and academia, the business community, and government/public sector officials to serve as conference speakers, panelists, and presenters. Let your voice be heard at the biennial GPNP Summit. If you have a workshop, success story, a cautionary tale, innovation, panel presentation/discussion or point of view to share, submit your idea to present at the hybrid GPNP Summit or forward over this opportunity with colleagues who may be interested.

To review a copy of the questions included in the Presentation Request for Proposals (RFP) and learn more about anticipated presentation topics based on the most pressing needs in the Greater Pittsburgh region’s nonprofit sector, download the 2021 GPNP Summit RFP for Speakers and Workshops document and be sure to submit your presentation idea here before Friday, 13 August.

Note: coaching and support are available to flesh out submissions and ideas, and you can get in touch with Colleen Young or Emily Francis with any questions.

Black Equity Coaltion

The HillTop Urban Farm Farmer's Market Slide

Alissa Monette of the Black Equity Coalition (BEC) presented several announcements and updates. The Pennsylvania Department of Health announced that over 11.7 million vaccines had been distributed, of which 63.4% are over the age of 18.

Alissa shared a link for a newsletter from the Pennsylvania Department of Health that shares the latest news about Covid-19, practical advice, and information regarding Covid-19.

Alissa Monette asks anyone who requires emotional support to please sign up for the Black Women’s Policy Center event on Black Women Overcoming Grief.

The BEC was prominently featured nationally on the Rand Blog for equitable data analysis around Covid-19.

On 11 August 2021, from 5 pm to 8 pm, there will be an urban farmers market sponsored by the Hilltop Urban Alliance and Hilltop Urban Farm. The event features locally grown organic food.

You can follow the Black Equity Coalition on social media here:

Community Wealth Impact Notes

Community Wealth impact and building slide

Olivia Benson announced an information session for 16 August at 2 pm for individuals and organizations interested in learning more about investment as a tool for social good. Those who are interested can sign up with this link for the event.

2021 Annual Pittsburgh Leaders’ Well-Being Survey

The Forbes Funds and GPNP are currently surveying nonprofit leaders and social innovators in the Greater Pittsburgh Region and The Forbes Funds’ ecosystem regarding their well-being. Please consider participating by filling out the form here, and sharing it with your colleagues. Your answers are confidential and will be used in the inaugural 2021 Annual Pittsburgh Leaders’ Well-Being Index.

Adult Well-Being Survey for Pittsburgh Leaders and Professionals

Future Events

Be sure to register for future Community Solutions Calls here. See you at the next Community Solutions Call or a number of our upcoming events here!

1 Comment
  1. Ali Jaffar

    Hi Emily, thanks for the information. I had a great time during this call learning all about Coro and well-being at work. I took that well-being survey and look forward to seeing the results and findings, and I look forward to submitting an idea to present at the GPNP Summit — which is my first — and I’m super excited for it!

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