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  1. Meet MBC Board Chair Greg Jordan

    Gregory B. Jordan, MBC Board Chair

    Gregory B. Jordan, MBC Board Chair

    MBC started the new year with a new board of directors chair, Gregory B. Jordan. Jordan, who has served on the board for four years, is general counsel and chief administrative officer of The PNC Financial Services Group.

    “It’s an honor to be the board chair of a wonderful organization like Manchester Bidwell—especially in its 50th year,” Jordan said. “We have launched a year-long celebration of Bill Strickland’s vision to help give people job skills and hope. Thousands of people have had their lives changed for the better through the work of Bill and his outstanding team, and we intend to keep that going long into the future.”

    In his role at PNC, Jordan is responsible for overseeing all legal functions for the corporation and leads PNC’s relationship with the government. Additionally, he oversees PNC’s Corporate Ethics Office, The PNC Foundation, Community Affairs, the Office of the Regional Presidents, and Corporate Communications.

    “I am very proud to have Greg as our chair,” said MBC President and CEO Bill Strickland. “His leadership, energy, and genuine commitment to our mission are a tremendous asset to MBC.”

    Jordan succeeds Scott M. Lammie, senior vice president of UPMC Insurance Services and chief financial officer of UMPC Health Plan. Lammie served nine years on MBC’s board and remains committed to the organization as an emeritus member and chair of the NCAT Advisory Board.

  2. MCG Creativity Continues at Harvard University

    Cynthia Gu’s Recycled Tinkerbell Dress

    Cynthia Gu’s Recycled Tinkerbell Dress, 2014. Photograph by Richena
    Brockinson.

    On the surface MCG Youth & Arts (MCG), an affiliate of Manchester Bidwell Corporation, gives Pittsburgh students the rare opportunity to explore their artistic side. However, it also gives students the confidence and skills to succeed in school and reach new heights. Harvard University junior Cynthia Gu is the epitome of that success.

    Stepping into the design studio classroom at (MCG) was an influential moment for Cynthia Gu. A Pittsburgh Taylor Allderdice student at the time, Cynthia would spend the next four years of her high school career designing and constructing dresses out of reclaimed materials every day at MCG. The components of Cynthia’s designs ranged from ordinary garbage bags to recycled homework assignment papers. Cynthia loved the idea of upcycling—taking what most would consider trash and transforming it into something beautiful and wearable. The MCG teaching artists worked with Cynthia on her sewing and design skills as she created more stunning dresses. Cynthia’s time at MCG culminated in a fashion show at The Andy Warhol Museum showcasing her unique dresses constructed out of upcycled materials.

    Cynthia had already built a lengthy portfolio showcasing her designs from MCG when the time came to think about colleges. Working with MCG’s teaching artists, Cynthia submitted applications to several prestigious universities. She chose to write her entrance essays on a topic close to her heart: her time spent at MCG and its impact on her education.

    “I believe the process of making art is such an undervalued skill and activity,” wrote Cynthia in her applications. “It helped me to develop skills that are not reflected in the regular school curriculum.”

    Cynthia Gu

    Cynthia Gu modeling her Recycled Tinkerbell Dress. Photograph by Richena Brockinson.

    Cynthia’s essay clearly made an impact. She is currently a junior at Harvard where she is studying applied mathematics. Even with a heavy course load, Cynthia remains dedicated to incorporating her art into her busy schedule. She has been featured in several fashion shows at Harvard and MIT and has already completed several courses in the visual arts department of her university. There is even a ceramics studio right inside of Cynthia’s dormitory where she is able to continue her passion of creating things from recycled materials.

    When asked about what she learned in her time at MCG that she carries with her today, Cynthia has a simple reply: “I learned to not be afraid of leaving my comfort zone. To this day, I have used artistic skills from MCG to form innovative solutions to problems in school and in life.”

    See more of Cynthia’s work at cynthia-gu.com.

  3. MCG Youth & Arts’ New Exhibit: “Mad House”

    Adhemas Batista

    Illustration by Adhemas Batista created for Brazil’s Allegra Bitter Beer.

    MCG Youth & Arts’ next visiting artist, Adhemas Batista, is a designer, illustrator, and animation director working in Los Angeles. His vast client list includes Adidas, Asics, Beats, Coca-Cola, Gatorade, Microsoft, PepsiCo, Unilever, and more. The hallmark of his work is bright, vivid imagery.

    Born in San Paulo, Brazil, Batista draws inspiration from urban art and pop culture and influences of Brazilian tropical culture. A self-taught digital artist, his work includes a variety of design, illustration, typography and animation.

    He co-created an animated short for Unicef titled “Malak and the Boat,” which drew attention to the plight of Syrian children. The short won a Grand Prix for Good at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in 2016. Batista’s other awards include nine Lions at the Cannes Festival, a Brazilian Young Creative award at the
    Cannes Festival in 2003, and three Golden Statues at the London International Awards.

    “Mad House” runs through Jan. 5, with a public reception on Nov. 16. He will also conduct a workshop with MCG Youth & Arts high school students in November. Visit mcgyouthandarts.org for more information.

  4. NCAT Welcomes New Project Manager

    Jeffrey Morris, NCAT project manager

    Jeffrey Morris, NCAT project manager

    NCAT is excited to introduce the newest member of its team, Jeffrey Morris.

    Prior to joining NCAT, Morris worked in performing arts production, management, and operations for a variety of nonprofit organizations in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, and Washington D.C. Notable companies include Actors’ Equity Association (labor relations), ODC Theater (dance presenting), Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles (community choral organization), the San Francisco Mime Troupe (political musical theater), The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust (arts presenter), and Woolly Mammoth Theater Company (new works) to name a few.

    Morris holds a Master of Arts Management degree from Carnegie Mellon University as well as a Bachelor’s in Playwriting and Performing Arts from the University of California at Santa Cruz. He enjoys spending as much time as possible traveling, exploring nature, and consuming art.

  5. NCAT Launches Replication Efforts in West Palm Beach

    Local leaders in West Palm Beach, FL are interested in bringing the Manchester Bidwell Education Model to their community in the form of a new Center for Arts & Technology (CAT).

    To help achieve that goal, the City of West Palm Beach has engaged NCAT to conduct a feasibility study to determine how best to position a local CAT for success. The 12-month study, which looks at employment needs, academic achievement, current service providers, potential sites, sources of funding, and local leadership, is scheduled to conclude by May 2018.

    Replication efforts are being coordinated by the West Palm Beach Community Redevelopment Agency and guided by a steering committee comprised of local education, workforce development, philanthropy, and industry leaders.

    NCAT will meet with community members throughout the feasibility study to understand the dynamics of the local landscape and to share information about the Manchester Bidwell Education Model.

    The replication process includes three phases of work, which are initiated by community leadership and result in the creation of a CAT based on the Manchester Bidwell Education Model. The three phases are:

    1. Feasibility
    2. Planning
    3. Implementation.

    West Palm Beach joins an expanding group of communities dedicated to improving lifelong outcomes of local residents through the Manchester Bidwell Education Model. The NCAT network currently includes 10 open and operating centers, six centers that are planning to open, and three communities undergoing feasibility studies.

  6. Transformative Teaching Artist Richena Brockinson

    Richena Brockinson, MCG Youth & Arts teaching artist

    Richena Brockinson, MCG Youth & Arts teaching artist

     

    MCG Youth & Arts teaching artist Richena Brockinson was selected as one of ten Pittsburgh-area arts educators to receive the New Sun Rising Transformative Teaching Artist Award. Brockinson was once a student at MCG and returned years later to teach in the photography department where she imbues her classes with a special blend of kindness, caring, and tough love.

    With the support of the Heinz Endowments, New Sun Rising awarded the 10 finalists $5,000 each and recognized their work with youth from African American and distressed communities.

    “I am honored to be a part of a group of such outstanding teaching artists; such beautiful and inspiring people,” said Brockinson.

    The Transformative Teaching Artist Award not only shines a light on the exceptional educators who won the award, but on the important role of all teaching artists. According to a statement released by New Sun Rising, “Teaching artists play critical roles in the lives of the youth they serve, providing not only artistic skill building, but caring, support, and mentorship. Yet those teaching artists who have chosen this as their life’s work face great challenges in building teaching artist careers.”

    For more than 10 years, New Sun Rising has supported innovative organizations that create economic opportunity and solve social challenges.

    The Heinz Endowments focuses on stirring creativity, learning, and environmental, economic, and social sustainability in the region.

    In addition to Brockinson, winners included Alisha Wormsley, Kim El, Celeta Hickman, Jordan Taylor, Shimira Williams, Akil Esoon, Mario Quinn Lyles, Bekezela Mguni, and Thomas Chatman.

  7. Establishing the 1968 Founders Circle

    As we look ahead to our 50th year, it is important to remember the elements that have come together to get us to this point. Every year 45,000–65,000 new nonprofit organizations are started, according to IRS data. Nearly the same amount go out of business each year. Clearly, 50 years is an achievement.

    What does it take to keep an organization sustainable, relevant, and growing? It must stay true to its founder’s vision, even as programs and services change over time. To ensure this happens, you need to have the right leadership on your board and committed staff. To allow all these elements to thrive, you need a strong base of donors—individuals, foundations, and corporate friends—who are committed to the vision and moved by the outcomes.

    Our donors have been partners in that success every year—you are a part of history. As we mark our first 50 years, we want to celebrate our individual leadership donors by officially recognizing them as members of our 1968 Founders Circle. As the name implies, these donors give at the $1,968 level or higher annually. They provide the philanthropic leadership that allows MBC and its programming to thrive by remaining operationally strong. As we celebrate half a century of making people whole, we hope you will continue to support our programming and consider joining the 1968 Founders Circle this year. For more information about the 1968 Founders Circle, please contact senior director of development Karen Linscott at 412-323-4000 ext. 264 or at klinscott@manchesterbidwell.org.

    With your support, we will continue to provide pathways out of poverty for individuals in need into the next 50 years.

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