SUPPORT OAKLAND SAFETY COMPLIANCE PROGRAM LAUNCHED

CONTACT: Georgia Petropoulos, Executive Director
PHONE: 412-327-9124
EMAIL: [email protected]

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Pittsburgh, PA & Boulder, CO July 30, 2020

The Oakland Business Improvement District (OBID) has partnered with Qualaris Healthcare Solutions to launch the Oakland Safety Compliance Program which introduces a new digital approach for safety and compliance to combat COVID-19 and accelerate business recovery.

The Program, funded with a grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation, will help businesses mitigate the spread of COVID-19 by implementing always-up-to-date CDC and Pennsylvania Department of Health guidelines. Guidelines were chosen in consultation with UPMC and PR&LA. Quality assurance will be measured with digital spot checks carried out by the businesses and by 3rd party secret shoppers. The rigorous quality data will be used in Safety Marketing Reports posted on-premise or on social media to help employees, customers and the community understand what businesses are doing to keep them safe.

“UPMC is honored to help partner with our local community businesses to ensure that best practices for infection prevention are upheld. After visiting a few of the participating businesses, it is heartwarming to see the passion they have to ensure that their facilities are safe for customers. They have been asking all the right questions needed to keep everyone safe,” said Ashley Ayres, Director Infection Prevention, UPMC, Presbyterian Shadyside.

It will be immensely beneficial to have effective single source of outreach to keep the public informed. Customers want to know that they will be safe shopping and dining with us, and we want to make sure they know we take that responsibility seriously and have the data to support it.” Maurry Mendelovich, co-owner, Oakland Restaurants Stack’d & CHiKN.

“We want Oakland to bring forth the model for safe shopping and dining which can be extended throughout Pittsburgh and even across Pennsylvania. The community has come together to do our part for safety compliance and will be publicly reporting and marketing compliance data to help consumers identify businesses that are rigorously adopting guidelines,” said Georgia Petropoulos, OBID Executive Director.

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ABOUT OBID
Formed in 1999, the Oakland Business Improvement District (OBID) is the region’s second largest place management organization in Pittsburgh, representing a diverse group of decision makers including property and business owners, universities, hospitals, city government, community and cultural non-profits. For additional information visit www.supportoakland.com.

ABOUT THE RICHARD KING MELLON FOUNDATION
Founded in 1947, the Richard King Mellon Foundation is the largest foundation in southwestern Pennsylvania. The Foundation’s 2019 endowment was $2.7 billion and its Trustees in 2019 awarded 172 grants totaling $129 million, focused on the Foundation’s strategic priorities: economic development, education, environmental conservation and human service.

ABOUT QUALARIS HEALTHCARE SOLUTIONS
Formed in 2011, and founded in Pittsburgh, Qualaris Healthcare Solutions empowers organizations to keep people safe by simplifying compliance with guidelines and best practices. Today, its infection prevention software is used by over 100 hospitals. Qualaris was part of the Boulder, CO Boomtown Accelerator’s 2020 cohort, and has received funding from Innovation Works. Qualaris credits local organizations in the Pittsburgh community with providing critical early support for the startup’s work including University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University, Healthcare Council of Western PA, and the Jewish Healthcare Foundation. For additional information visit https://oaklandsafety.qualaris.com.

OBID AWARDED RICHARD KING MELLON FOUNDATION GRANT TO HELP JUMP-START OAKLAND’S ECONOMIC RECOVERY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Pittsburgh, PA, July 7, 2020

The Oakland Business Improvement District (OBID) has received a $160,000 grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation to fund a multi prong effort to help Oakland businesses negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic: Oakland Safe & Strong and the Oakland Enhancements Project — includes one of the city’s first outdoor dining areas utilizing street and sidewalk space to accommodate social distancing safety needs.

The Richard King Mellon Foundation’s initiative is designed to support new ideas to spur economic recovery throughout Western Pennsylvania. Out of the 235 submissions received by the foundation, OBID’s proposal was one of 37 chosen for initial funding.

“The Foundation has a long history of supporting creative projects in Oakland, and with good cause,” said Sam Reiman, Director of the Foundation. “Oakland is one of the economic and cultural epicenters of Southwestern Pennsylvania, so initiatives such as this have positive impacts that reach well beyond Oakland’s borders. We applaud OBID for its efforts to help lead the way in safely recovering from the economic impacts of this pandemic.”

OBID will collaborate with many partners including the City of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Parking Authority, Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, the University of Pittsburgh, UPMC, the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership and Qualaris Healthcare Solutions, Inc. Grant funds will be used for a Shop Safety business compliance program, a Gift Card incentive program and amenities for expanding outdoor dining areas such as tables, chairs and street barriers.

“We were absolutely thrilled to have been selected by the Foundation and we are ever grateful for their support” said Georgia Petropoulos, OBID Executive Director. “These unprecedented times call for innovative and out of the box solutions and we could not have brought our ideas to fruition without the support of our Foundation champion.”

Georgia Petropoulos is also a member of the City of Pittsburgh’s COVID-19 Department of Mobility and Infrastructure (DOMI) Task Force on Streets and Mobility that developed recommendations to support the reopening of Pittsburgh during the Covid-19 health crisis.

For additional information about the Oakland Business Improvement District, or any ongoing projects, visit www.onlyinoakland.org.

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ABOUT OBID
Formed in 1999, the Oakland Business Improvement District (OBID) is the region’s second largest place management organization in Pittsburgh, representing a diverse group of decision makers including property and business owners, universities, hospitals, city government, community and cultural non-profits.

ABOUT THE RICHARD KING MELLON FOUNDATION
Founded in 1947, the Richard King Mellon Foundation is the largest foundation in southwestern Pennsylvania. The Foundation’s 2019 endowment was $2.7 billion and its Trustees in 2019 awarded 172 grants totaling $129 million, focused on the Foundation’s strategic priorities: economic development, education, environmental conservation and human services.

Sciulli’s Pizza Forty Year Anniversary

Sciulli’s Pizza Celebrates Forty-Year Anniversary Amidst COVID Hardships

“We go together like pepperoni and pizza or spaghetti and meatballs. We have fun, we are family, there is nothing like it,” says Tim Sciulli, co-owner of Sciulli’s Pizza. Alongside brother Luciano and Uncle Oriente, Sciulli’s has been serving up pies, hoagies, and appetizers to Oakland residents students, workers, and neighborhood friends for four decades. Tim reminisces, “Luciano and I probably started working here at about six years old, making pizza boxes, taking orders, and running the cash register.” Their family is still happily serving the Oakland community to this day.

Located at the corner of Fifth and Halket, Sciulli’s was founded in 1980 by three brothers: Gabrielle, Antonio, and Oriente. Coming from the small village of Gamberale in Abruzzo, Italy in 1965, Oakland has remained their family’s home in residence and in business. “Oakland is where many Italians settled and made their home. We loved hangouts like Forbes Field, Pitt Stadium, St. Lorenzo Italian Social Club, George Aiken’s, Isaly’s,…” Tim says the list could go on and on.

Over the years, Sciulli’s has established catering relationships with its neighbors at UPMC, Carlow University, and The University of Pittsburgh. “It was an amazing feeling to make 120 pizzas for Pitt’s Homecoming game and deliver them to Heinz Field. There have been times we’ve delivered hundreds of pizzas to UPMC Presbyterian, and the staff seem to look at us thinking, ‘How in the world did two brothers just knock out this many pizzas?’”

With deep ties to the local community, the Sciulli’s have done everything they could to continue feeding the patrons they love through takeout and delivery amidst the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions that have hit the restaurant industry particularly hard. “We received multiple large orders for our frontline care workers, and are very grateful to still be able to serve our neighbors.”

Recently, Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Joe Haden purchased 600 pizzas for local UPMC employees. “It was incredible to make so many pizzas for our heroes. We are beyond thankful for Joe and everyone who has placed orders to support healthcare workers and support our business during this pandemic.”

Now operating in the Green Phase, Sciulli’s Pizza is open for dine-in at 50% capacity and continues to offer takeout and delivery. As the fall semester approaches, Tim is hopeful that students will be back on campus, hospitals will be running smoothly, and the streets of Oakland will feel normal again.

“As a small business, we love our neighbors and our community. We are an Oakland staple, and there is nothing we are more passionate about than our history and our pizza.”

Sciulli’s is, and always will be, focused on providing delicious Italian fare for the neighborhood they call home. Today, you can easily find them through their website at sciullispizza.com, order online through Slice or Grubhub, find them on Facebook or Instagram, or simply stop in or give them a call at 412-687-9287.

Tim remains positive in his outlook for Sciulli’s future. “Things are changing quickly in Oakland, but who’s to say Sciulli’s Pizza can’t be in the same location for another forty years?”

OBID is listening.

OBID is listening.

The Oakland Business Improvement District (OBID) believes that it is our moral obligation and duty to acknowledge and stand against the systemic racism and inequality that is, and always has been, affecting our country. We believe that Black Lives Matter and that we are responsible for creating a space that cultivates and recognizes diversity.

We mourn the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Antwon Rose II, Tony McDade, Sean Reed, and the countless other lives that were lost before them.

As an organization, as a community, as a country, we must do better.

We must stand together with those who have been victims of marginalization and repression due to their skin color.

At OBID we will work to ensure that our actions, principles, and values stand in solidarity against racial injustice. We will work to acknowledge and counteract our own internalized racism and prejudices as human beings and an organization. It is not enough to not be racist; we must work to become actively anti-racist in our daily lives. Our Board of Directors are in the midst of a Strategic Plan process and we will continue to listen, to learn, to reflect, to plan, and to take action. 

Over the past few weeks we’ve been listening and educating ourselves to the Black voices in our community and throughout America and educating ourselves in ways that we can help.

We have learned of many local organizations that help to support and to empower the Black community in Pittsburgh. We are proud to support these three local organizations; 1Hood Media, SisTers PGH, and Melanin Mommies Pgh. We encourage support of these brave advocates along with the additional organizations that we found in our search.

Together we stand in solidarity with the Black community, in Oakland, in Pittsburgh, and throughout the world.

#Blacklivesmatter

Please see the links below for additional resources and information.

Ways You Can Help: https://blacklivesmatters.carrd.co/?fbclid=IwAR2na0YuM8aA4ZqiRpH8sCseZNmlVBrSk5kdX52Ks78TAiDPH8CH_K6qdG4

Pittsburgh Community Projects:

1Hood Media https://www.1hood.org/

The mission of 1Hood Media is to build liberated communities through art, education, and social justice.

SisTers PGHhttps://www.sisterspgh.org/

SisTers PGH is a transgender centered drop-in space, resource provider, and shelter transitioning program based in Pittsburgh, PA

Melanin Mommies Pgh –  https://melaninmommiespgh.org/

Melanin Mommies PGH is a program that provides mentors to organizations that serve ‘At Risk’ African American mothers age 14-21. Their mission is to provide pregnant or parenting mothers the tools they need to become the best women and best mothers they can be. Their program assists them in overcoming inter-generational trauma and combating negative family cycles through mentorship.

The Pittsburgh Spot – https://pghspot.com/

The PghSpot is an online web show that aims to tell the positive stories of Pittsburgh’s Innovators, Entrepreneurs, and Philanthropists in a visual and creative manner in order to connect and energize diverse communities throughout the Greater Pittsburgh region; often dispelling negative media narratives. The show uses various interactive platforms to highlight featured guest including produced and live shows. In addition, PghSpot hosts a live Neighborhood Conversation Series that takes place on a live platform in Homewood and in the Hill District, featuring entrepreneurs, innovators and philanthropists from these neighborhoods. PghSpot also coordinates various volunteer opportunities through its Neighborhood Conversation Series, which aims to support and promote business owners in lower income neighborhoods.

POISE Foundationhttps://www.poisefoundation.org/

The POISE Foundation works to assist the Pittsburgh Region’s Black community in achieving self-sustaining practices, through strategic leadership, collective giving, grantmaking and advocacy. Created in the format of a Community Foundation, POISE receives funds from a variety of donors. These funds may be unrestricted, and used to support our grantmaking strategy, or donor-directed for specific charitable purposes.

African American Chamber of Commerce of Western Pennsylvaniahttps://aaccwp.com/

The African American Chamber of Commerce of Western Pennsylvania is a full-service organization that continuously provides access and opportunity to over 500 African American business owners and professionals. Additionally, the Chamber’s membership includes other minority groups, over 60 non-profit organizations, and over 50 majority businesses. Their boundaries extend from Cambria County, up to Erie, PA over to the Ohio border, and down to West Virginia.

Urban League of Greater Pittsburghhttp://ulpgh.org/#

The Mission of the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh is to enable African Americans to secure economic self-reliance, parity and power, and civil rights.

Circles Greater Pittsburgh – http://circlespgh.org/

Circles Greater Pittsburgh’s mission is to inspire and equip Pittsburgh area families and communities to resolve poverty and thrive. They believe no one should live in poverty. Families and communities can take charge of their destinies. And if given the right tools and support, economic stability can be achieved.

New Voices Pittsburghhttp://www.newvoicespittsburgh.org/sistahspeak/

New Voices is developing the next generation of Reproductive Justice leaders through the SistahSpeak! Youth Project™!

The SistahSpeak! Youth Project™ (SYP!) is a sexual & reproductive health, mentoring and community organizing program for Black girls, femmes and young Black women ages 12-24. This program year, we will focus on high school students in grades 9-12. SYP! Participants learn life skills, engage in arts and cultural activities, partner with mentors and educate young Black women about Reproductive Justice and Human Rights!

The August Wilson African American Cultural Centerhttps://aacc-awc.org/

The August Wilson African American Cultural Center is a U.S. nonprofit arts organization based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania that presents performing and visual arts programs that celebrate the contributions of African Americans not only in Western Pennsylvania, but nationally and internationally. 

Black Tech Nation – https://blacktechnation.com/

Black Tech Nation (BTN) is the first and only social good organization dedicated to growing a black tech ecosystem within Pittsburgh’s rapidly growing tech economy. They pride themselves on being an informative, engaging safe space for their “black unicorns” – black tech professionals, black entrepreneurs, parents of black students interest in STEM, and black tech enthusiasts – to build connections, share opportunities, and exchange resources. Through their strategy, “Gather. Connect. Affect.”, they plan to make Pittsburgh the model city for true tech inclusion.

Currently trying to raise $10,000 – https://www.newsunrising.org/project/black-tech-nation/

Black Unicorn Library and Archives Project https://www.newsunrising.org/project/the-black-unicorn-library-archives-project/

The Black Unicorn Library & Archives Project is a library & archive meeting at the intersection of literacy, art & history, focusing on the contributions of Black women, queer & trans people of color. The project was founded by Bekezela Mguni, who holds a Masters in Library & Information Science from the University of Pittsburgh and was named an Emerging Artist & Judge’s Choice in the 2016 Three Rivers Arts Festival.

Project Silk/ Community Human Services – https://chscorp.org/service-area/program/project-silk

Project Silk is committed to member driven structures and offers unique pathways to service delivery on site at our youth drop- in center. Project Silk provides STI/HIV testing on-site to increase knowledge of undiagnosed infections; implements behavioral interventions related to positive adult identity development and sexual health education; skills-based programming for youth to actualize their goals; and linkage to medical care and ancillary services to promote overall wellness within HIV-positive as well as high-risk negative communities.

Lists of Local Black-Owned Businesses:

OBID Featured on KDKA and WTAE

OBID Featured on KDKA and WTAE

Last night and last week, OBID Executive Director Georgia Petropoulos was featured on KDKA and WTAE to discuss the future of Oakland in the rebuilding from COVID-19. Click any of the links below to watch!

App Hopes To Make Parking Easier, Help Local Businesses

Pittsburgh neighborhoods forging ahead with outdoor dining plans to help restaurants in yellow phase