"We work with community-based organizations to improve their ability to serve constituents by bringing community voices into the decision-making processes"
Dr. Jamil Bey grew up in the Pittsburgh neighborhood of Beltzhoover. From his childhood until today, he and his family have been active members of the community. Throughout his life, Jamil has seen his neighborhood and community transform - and not always for the better. Jamil's concern for the health and well-being of his neighbors drove him to dedicate his professional life to helping his community and other groups that largely have been excluded from the benefits of economic growth.
For several years, Jamil worked as an independent consultant on political, economic, and neighborhood development issues and volunteered on numerous non-profit boards in Pittsburgh. Through this work, he recognized that the way many individuals in positions of power understood the neighborhoods, communities, and groups they represent did not always reflect the on-the-ground realities. Additionally, he saw how community interests were frequently prioritized lower than other interests. From this, he recognized the need for an organization dedicated to conducting critical policy analysis and promoting community-centered development.
And so to fill this need, Jamil founded UrbanKind Institute in January of 2016. Since then, UrbanKind has grown substantially. We have been active in conversations around creating and implementing an equitable development agenda throughout Pittsburgh. We have engaged community leaders and young people in discussions about the challenges and opportunities they face. In our most prominent role so far, Jamil and the UrbanKind team took center stage at the Heinz Endowments and City of Pittsburgh's p4 Conference in October 2016. There we challenged the 600 participants to think critically about how they can promote inclusion, justice, and equity through their work and in their private lives in order to build a city for all residents.
As changes come to our city, country, and planet over the next years and decades, UrbanKind stands ready to critically understand and analyze the problems and obstacles that individuals, communities, and cities face. We want to help residents build their capacity to determine what happens in their communities and neighborhoods. We want to support programs and opportunities for youth and to promote their participation in community discussions. Please check out the rest of our website for more information about our past, present, and future work.