2018 Award Winners

Recipients

TreeVitalize Pittsburgh, 2018 Community Development Award
Sadik Roberts, 2018 Neighborhood Leader Award
NexTier Bank, 2018 Community Banking Award
Slovak Savings Bank, 2018 Community Banking Award
WesBanco, 2018 Community Banking Award
Lynda Wargo, 2018 Community Reinvestment Act Award
Misty Harrah, 2018 Community Reinvestment Act Award

 

2018 Community Development Award :
TreeVitalize Pittsburgh

 

2018 Neighborhood Leader Award:
Sadik Roberts

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TreeVitalize Pittsburgh partners with committed community groups and nonprofits to plant street and riverfront trees. Each of the four lead project partners has pledged to use its resources to achieve success for the program. The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy (WPC) coordinates the efforts of each of the TreeVitalize partners and provides staff for community outreach, volunteer support, media relations, planting logistics, and fundraising for the project. The City of Pittsburgh coordinates TreeVitalize tree plantings and provides technical support to local groups hosting planting events. Allegheny County Parks Department implements planting projects in County Parks and provides technical assistance. The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, in addition to being a primary funder and convener of the project through the Bureau of Conservation and Recreation, provides technical assistance through the Bureau of Forestry for site assessments and species selection. This urban forestry program utilizes organized leadership, comprehensive baseline studies, dedicated personnel, effective community involvement, adequate funding, and a coordinated planning effort to protect, manage, and grow the urban forest. With this combination of factors, TreeVitalize Pittsburgh has resulted in a successful and replicable community forestry model with high tree survival rate.

The community component of “community forestry” is central to its success. More than 12,000 volunteers have participated in TreeVitalize Pittsburgh tree plantings which have taken place in 57 Allegheny County municipalities and 73 Pittsburgh neighborhoods. Community engagement helps ensure the sustainability of the project and promotes the long term care of the trees through engendering an understanding of the value of community trees, providing opportunities for participation and a sense of ownership, and creating access to resources for ongoing stewardship. From the beginning, TreeVitalize Pittsburgh utilized an application process to engage communities interested in trees. The process was designed to fully engage community members in the tree planting plan and tree care, while providing forestry and project management expertise, the highest quality local materials, and ongoing outreach, communication, and stewardship support. This combination of factors has resulted in a successful and replicable community forestry model with high tree survival rate.

Since the program began in 2008, over 28,000 trees have been planted throughout Pittsburgh and Allegheny County in order to improve the quality of life and the environment. Since the beginning of the program, we have seen a 10% increase in city street trees overall, and a 45% increase in our street tree diversity. According to the analysis of the 2014 street tree inventory Pittsburgh’s street trees provide $1.51 in services for every $1 invested in their care. As they continue to grow, the trees planted through TreeVitalize will contribute to the environmental and economic improvement of our region, creating healthier and more beautiful communities for our residents.

 
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Sadik Roberts is a young Pittsburgher who has overcome turmoil, adversity, and rejection to foster growth for those who have come after him. During his senior year at Barack Obama Academy, he established a community pot of perpetual resources for prom and graduation. What started as a “loose change” campaign quickly grew into a fund of over $5,000, to be reinvested into fundraising efforts. He was also appointed as the President of the African American Centers for Advanced Studies, a Pittsburghwide effort to support and encourage African students to strive for excellence, where he organized a number of symposiums.

Sadik went onto Duquesne University, where he was elected as President of his residence hall, was elected president of the Duquesne chapter of the NAACP, and was awarded a scholarship of the National Black M.B.A. Association. In an effort to spread social justice and understanding among a predominantly white university, Sadik organized socials, poetry and open mic showcases, as well as rallies through downtown Pittsburgh and the Hill District to highlight the community and love that could be built through empathy and positivity. Inspired by the success of these events, he founded Pyramid Pgh, LLC, a movement to integrate newly arrived college students with native Pittsburghers. The parties, poetry, art, and music displays that have emerged from these efforts have touched the lives of thousands of students.

During his time at college, Sadik was diagnosed with Stage 4 Lymphoma Cancer and began to undergo treatment. Sadik continued to host weekly events for his fellow college students. By the end of his junior year, his doctors were able to clear him of his diagnosis and he entered into remission. He was invited to return to the AACAS Symposium to lead sessions on small business and branding or students, and was brought on by the Pittsburgh Promise to aid in their marketing efforts and invite all Pittsburgh

Promise scholars to take an active role in planning their futures. Sadik has since been decorated as a Distinguished Alumni of Duquesne University. He has spoken at Penn State’s CITY Program, and at NAACP’s college voter registration seminar. He recently served as the keynote speaker for the Pittsburgh Public Schools “We Promise Summit,” where he told his rich story of perseverance and faith to underperforming African-American male students, encouraging them to be the best versions of themselves at every stage. Currently, Sadik is continuing to build his business, realizing the potential for marketing services for budding enterprises in the City of Pittsburgh. He also offers internships and course credit to students looking to hone their craft while developing community programs and businesses. He currently works recruiting at the University of Pittsburgh, where he devises innovative ways to reach and prepare Pittsburgh’s young adults for college. He is a leader, philanthropist, and professional, with decades of service left to give, and many thanks already deserved.