Our Board of Directors is made up of a group of 11 dedicated members who set the agenda for the redevelopment of East Liberty. While our staff serves on the front line, our Board works behind the scenes to establish policies, create programs, and provide leadership to not only the staff, but also to dozens of volunteers who serve on our six standing committees and countless ad-hoc initiatives. These members take pride in their work and take their commitment seriously.
Rev. Patrice Fowler-Searcy
The Reverend Patrice L. Fowler-Searcy is the Associate Pastor for Mission Ministries at the East Liberty Presbyterian Church. Patrice served 19+ years as the Director of Mission Ministries at East Liberty Presbyterian Church, and is the liaison to the East Liberty community. She currently serves as the Board President of the East Liberty Development, Inc. and Vice-President of the Board of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. Patrice is a member of the Pittsburgh Clergy Consortium and the newly formed Pittsburgh Unites. She has previously served on the Board of Directors of the East End Growth Fund, the Board of Directors of the Western Pennsylvania Support Association of Oikocredit and Oikocredit USA; as a charter board member of the Community Theater Project Corporation, Inc. (Kelly-Strayhorn Theater).
Patrice is grateful and acknowledges God for her many blessings and gifts. She was honored in 1999, by being accepted as one of 50 individuals from across the country to participate in the second annual Harvard Divinity School Summer Leadership Institute for Church-based Community and Economic Development; chosen as a result of her committed work in the East Liberty community.
Mr. Peterson has served on the board since 2010. He is currently an independent community development consultant, and has worked in the community development and community planning industry for over 30 years. He also serves as a program reader for the Community Development Financial Institution Fund.
Mr. Pelles has served on the board since 2004. He has vast knowledge and experience in retail and commercial deposits, investments and lending. Mr. Pelles is currently a senior banker at Citizens Bank. His broad knowledge of finance and marketing contribute greatly to East Liberty Development, Inc.
Ms. Sullivan has been a resident of East Liberty since 1975, and has served on the board since 2008. She holds a Bachelor of Science from Seton Hill University and a Master’s Equivalent from Duquesne University. Her passion for East Liberty has led her to be the founding member of the Negley Place Neighborhood Alliance. Ms. Sullivan has over 25 years of real estate experience with Northwood Realty.
Ms. Kluz has been a member of the board since 2009. Her background in architecture and community planning, previously with the City of Pittsburgh and Brean Associates and now with Loyson + Kreuthmeier Architects (a Garfield-based architecture firm), reflects her interests in the development and preservation of community spaces, ranging from housing to parks, open space to public institutions such as libraries and schools. She will continue to participate in the community’s development and growth while promoting the economic, social and racial diversity that are the heart of East Liberty. She holds a Carnegie Mellon University Bachelor of Architecture, minor in Art, along with numerous awards, exhibits and affiliations.
Ms. Wasler joined the board in 2012. She is currently the Mainstreets Development Specialist at the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh. Her work at the URA includes the marketing, promotion and implementation of façade improvement programs across the City of Pittsburgh.
Pamela Collier, founder of the Lord Marketing Group, is a tenured public relations and community development professional. With over a decade of experience, her firm offers strategic PR campaigns, communication planning, media outreach, event planning and community development services. She joined the ELDI board in 2003 after living in Philadelphia and DC. Witnessing the urban renewal occurring there, she was excited to become a part of an organization that actively makes a difference in the lives of the community.
Chris Gmiter is the Library Services Manager at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s East Liberty Branch and has been working in East Liberty for over a decade. Chris holds Bachelor Degrees in History and Anthropology and a Master of Library and Information Science from the University of Pittsburgh and has a keen interest in communities and urban studies. Chris has been a member of the ELDI Community Planning Committee since 2013, serving on the Board since 2014. Chris is also a USA Hockey Certified Ice Hockey Referee.
Marie Wilkerson is an administrative research assistant at the University of Pittsburgh. East Liberty has been her home since 1971, and she has been a home owner in East Liberty since 1995. After attending several public community meetings, Ms. Wilkerson desired to become a member of the ELDI Community Planning Committee in 2014, and then joined the board in 2016.
Donna M. Jackson is a resident of the Lincoln and Lemington area and a retired Telecommunications Officers for the City of Pittsburgh. She developed a passion for community engagement and revitalization after witnessing disinvestment in many low-income communities as well as the growing disparity of access to quality affordable housing, services, education, well-being and economic opportunities within her own neighborhood. As one of the leaders driving sustainable change in Larimer through the Larimer Consensus Group, she played a key role in in positioning the organization to win the Choice Neighborhoods $30-million-dollar competitive grant. She continues to work with the Larimer community to engage residents in a process to create a green, sustainable neighborhood where families can thrive while simultaneously serving on the ELDI board and sharing her expertise.