Jefferson Forum

            3rd Annual Jefferson Forum:              Taking Action for Healthy Communities

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The annual gathering of 250 community and nonprofit leaders committed to change in the South Hills and lower Mon Valley was another rousing success filled with inspiration and positive energy. 

Check back soon for photos and more details.




2nd Annual Jefferson Forum: Opportunities for a Changing Community

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The 2nd Annual Jefferson Forum: Opportunities for a Changing Community, attracted 250 participants from 135 organizations on May 4, 2016 at the Crowne Plaza Pittsburgh South. The free daylong conference for community organizations and leaders was designed to build the capacity for increased community health in the South Hills and lower Mon Valley through education, networking and inspiration. Participants rated this event very highly as productive to attend with high-quality workshops, speakers, materials and networking and asked that the Forum be offered again.


See below for videos and a photo slide show of this year’s event.


The highly rated Forum included:

  • Issue based and skill-building Workshops on: Nonprofit Lessons: Scale and Support, Addressing the Opioid Threat, The Wealth of Health and Mental Health First Aid, Advocacy, Management Challenges, Leadership and Marketing.
  • the release of the Jefferson Community Directory: A Resource Guide for Connections, a partnership of the Jefferson Community Collaborative, Jefferson Hospital and the Jefferson Regional Foundation
  • a panel of local leaders from Jefferson Hospital, churches and community groups moderated by Tracy Soska of the University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work
  • the debut of a video Opportunities for a Changing Community” which highlights community health grants and Collaborative efforts in the Jefferson area.
  • Monique McIntosh speaking on Diversity & Inclusion: Transforming Community Relationships
  • Free individual mini-coaching sessions offered by Pittsburgh area nonprofit consultants including Chris Hays of Blender Advertising, Leslie Bonner of Bonner Consulting, Don Goughler of the Forbes Fund Executive in Residence Program, Dave Coplan of the Human Services Center, Susie Chase of Open Minds, Liz Monk of Pitt’s University Center for Social and Urban Research, Mila Yochum of United Way’s APOST program, and Alisa Spector Collins of Compass Business HR Solutions.
  • the launch of Community Snapshot one-page data sheets for local communities developed by the Pitt University Center for Social and Urban Research (UCSUR)
  • an onsite Big Idea Video Booth in which participants taped their ideas for community improvements and which was shown at the closing session
  • A mini-performance of a new play, Off’Script about overdose deaths by Saltworks Theatre Company


Based upon the success and interest generated by last year’s initial Jefferson Forum: Collaborating for a Changing Community, held in June 2015, the Board of the Jefferson Regional Foundation was prompted to make the Forum an annual gathering for community organizations and leaders working on community health in the South Hills and lower Mon Valley area.  The Jefferson Regional Foundation also supports an ongoing effort called the Jefferson Community Collaborative—in which 55 local community organizations gather monthly in three teams (Healthy Residents, Strong Families, Thriving Communities) to explore joint opportunities for community health impact.


Opportunities for a Changing Community


Big Ideas


Forum Photos


First Annual Jefferson Forum: Collaborating for a Changing Community

Full speaker tableOn Thursday, June 11, 2015, Jefferson Regional Foundation hosted over 240 people representing over 130 organizations at the “JEFFERSON FORUM: Collaborating for a Changing Community,” a networking and learning event at the Crowne Plaza Pittsburgh South in Upper St. Clair.  The audience included superintendents, churches, libraries, borough officials, educational institutions, government organizations and nonprofit organizations.  Every participant had wonderful opportunities to network as assigned seating assured that each table (labeled with the name of a Jefferson area community) included folks from a variety of organizations.

Highlights of the day included a Keynote address from Allegheny County Health Department  Director Dr. Karen Hacker on the current state of health in the South Hills region; an overview of the Jefferson Regional Foundation as a new community partner by Mary Phan-Gruber, a presentation on suburban poverty by Allegheny County Department of Services Deputy Director Erin Dalton; and a panel presentation on Refugee and Immigrant populations in the Pittsburgh area from Rosamaria Cristello, Director of the Latino Family Center, Upendra Dahal, Project Director of the Bhutanese Community Association of Pittsburgh, and Kheir Mugwaneza, Director of the Refugee Resettlement Program at the Northern Area Multi-Service Center.

Jefferson Regional Foundation Executive Director Mary Phan-Gruber moderated a discussion of the impact and opportunities these issues present in the communities of the South Hills and Lower Mon Valley. The discussion featured panelists Susan Friedberg Kalson, CEO of the Squirrel Hill Health Center Community College South Campus President Charlene Newkirk, Greg Jones, Executive Director of Economic Development South, Dr. Chong Park, Chief Medical Officer of Jefferson Hospital, Allegheny Health Network, PA State Senator Matt Smith, and Cindy Moore, Chief Outreach Officer at the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.

A networking lunch was followed by an interactive session where participants visited issue and vision stations and posted hundreds of notes to include their ideas about their vision as well as assets, challenges and opportunities in the region on key issues.  After a quick summary of these ideas, participants revisited the stations to mark promising ideas and priorities.

At the end of the day, the participants left with a better understanding of the social determinants of health and their effect on communities, the impacts of suburban poverty on the South Hills and lower Mon Valley, the refugee, immigrant, and international population, and key groups operating in the South Hills and lower Mon Valley, with over 100 individuals committed to participating in issue-focused workgroups.  Evaluations of the event were extremely positive—with 100% of the (150) respondents indicating the day was valuable and that the Forum should be an annual event.

See the presentations given by Forum guests below the photo album.

Guest Presentations