As East Liberty’s community plans near full realization, we have recognized that ELDI’s expertise and energy is best focused on making more homes in the area available for homeownership and by sharing our lessons learned with other Pittsburgh neighborhoods—so that they too can realize their visions of community justice. To facilitate this, we have transitioned some of our community planning and development duties to an organization called the Village Collaborative of East Liberty.
About The Village Collaborative of East Liberty
The Village Collaborative was founded in 2018 by representatives from three East Liberty churches—Pentecostal Temple Church of God in Christ, Rodman Street Missionary Baptist Church, and Kingdom Light Ministries International—with support from the HELP Initiative, a multi-stakeholder group advocating for mixed-use, resident-driven development in the East End.
The Village Collaborative was created to engage more community members, particularly East Liberty’s faith-based community, in the equitable development of the neighborhood.
As of November 2021, the collaborative was designated as the Registered Community Organization (RCO) for East Liberty. RCOs are an official designation granted by the City of Pittsburgh to community groups that ensures their formal role in current development projects and neighborhood planning processes. As such, the Village Collaborative will take a leading role in guiding and shaping the future of the neighborhood.
That doesn’t mean we are going anywhere at ELDI. We will still be as busy as ever serving the needs of East Liberty and surrounding areas, but it does mean that, over time, the Village Collaborative will assume the duties of East Liberty’s Community Planning Committee, counseling developers, businesses, and individuals who want to come into the neighborhood on their plans. They will also create strategic community planning documents in partnership with residents, community groups, and the business community to outline new visions for the neighborhood. For the time being, ELDI will serve as the collaborative’s partner, helping them learn the ropes and ensuring they have everything they need to succeed.
Village Collaborative Staff
Valerie Parm holds a Master of Divinity in Urban Studies from the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary’s Metro-Urban Institute. During her studies, Valerie served as an assistant to the Metro-Urban Institute director and aided in building collaborative relationships within the community. After graduation, Valerie was accepted into Princeton Theological Seminary’s Black Theology and Leadership Fellowship program in Princeton New Jersey, becoming an inaugural fellow for 2013.
Valerie’s ministry experience is strongly rooted in community organizing, having received training from The Gamaliel National Network, a grassroots community organizing network. She also serves on the Sts. Peter and Paul Reuse Committee and is a board member of the St. James Church IMPACT group. She loves helping others and having a positive impact on communities and people in need.
Pastor Keith Moncrief
Pastor Keith Moncrief has been the Senior Pastor of Kingdom Light Ministries International in East Liberty since 2010. Prior to that, he served as Senior Pastor of Powerhouse of Deliverance Church #5 in Westover, West Virginia and as Minister of Music of the Greater Pittsburgh Christian Temple where he was privileged to lead as many as 200 singers and musicians in the music and arts department. In that role, he traveled both nationally and internationally spreading the Good News in song. He also pursued vocal training and studied jazz under Dr. James Johnson, the distinguished founder of the African-American Music Institute of Pittsburgh.
Pastor Keith’s greatest joy is his family. In 1981, he was united in a blessed union with his beautiful wife Deborah, his partner in life and ministry. He is the proud father of Krystyn, Aryka, Lanelle, and Charles.
Arthur G. Campbell
Arthur G. Campbell has been an East Liberty resident and member of the Kingdom Light Ministries International church since 1985 where he currently serves as an ordained Elder under Senior Pastor E. Keith Moncrief.
He was involved as a resident stakeholder during the late 1990s in helping to develop the community plan for the revitalization of East Liberty. His educational background includes associate degrees in architectural drafting and design and the culinary arts. He is currently the senior estimator at the manufacturing company Exterior Technologies in the Etna area where he started in 1989. Over the years, he has served in the areas of drafting, sales, purchasing, and as a project manager. Campbell’s underlying passion has always been to help others in any way that he is able.
Charles J. Franklin IV
Charles J. Franklin IV is the owner and operator of C Franklin Insurance in Pittsburgh where he serves over 400 clients who count on his leadership and financial guidance. He has over 20 years of experience in the insurance industry, specializing in health, life, annuities, and group plans.
Franklin is also the sole owner of Uptown Fashions, which is a clothing line that he has been running for the last 17 years. He holds a degree in business administration from Bethune Cookman University and is actively involved in his community, serving as a member of Wesley Center AME Zion Church, Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, The FROGS organization, Omega Psi Phi Inc., and on the board of the Bethany House Academy.
Rev. Dr. Darryl T. Canady
Dr. Canady received his Master of Divinity degree from Emory University Candler School of Theology in Atlanta, Georgia and his Doctor of Ministry degree from the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University in Richmond, Virginia. In February 2010, Dr. Canady accepted the call to Pastor Rodman Street Missionary Baptist Church in Pittsburgh. He offers a fresh perspective for revitalization inside the church and outside in the local and global community.
Dr. Canady is married to the former Reverend Taleeta LaTreena Smith, and they are the proud parents of one son Major Alexander and one daughter Essence Cary. Together, Dr. Canady and his wife founded the LIFE Male Science Technology Engineering Arts and Math Academy, the only K-12 male academy with a STEAM-focused course of study in the region.
Juel Thomas-Smith is an educator, mentor, community advocate, and ordained minister who works as the Interim Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Professor of Natural Sciences at CCAC Boyce Campus. Holding a bachelor’s and master’s in biology, she is also currently pursuing a doctorate from Duquesne University in Instructional Technology and Leadership.
For over 20 years, Smith has actively promoted STEM education for minorities throughout the Pittsburgh region and beyond through various initiatives, including CampBioE, a bioengineering and regenerative medicine summer camp sponsored by The University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Bioengineering. She’s a recipient of several awards, including the “Change Maker” award for the 2019 YWCA Racial Justice Awards. Reverend Smith also serves as an Associate Minister at the Union Baptist Church in Swissvale. She is as passionate about her work in education as she is about her ministry, as she believes that both afford her the opportunity to make a significant impact in the lives of others.
Zainab Smith currently works as an access lead at UPMC, assisting patients with billing questions and providing direction and support to staff. Before that, she worked as a patient information coordinator at UPMC.
The Hound Haus Community Meeting
Info: August 14, 2023 | 6 pm
The Kingsley Association
Links: Event info
Bakery Square Expansion Meeting
Info: August 7, 2023 | 6-8 pm
The Kingsley Association
Giant Eagle Community Meeting
Info: January 25, 2023 | 6-8 pm
Rodman Street Missionary Baptist Church
Links: Meeting recording
East Liberty Priority Corridors
Pedestrian & Traffic Safety Plan Meeting
Info: May 2, 2023 | 6 pm
Kingdom Light Ministries
This was a Development Activities Meeting held by the Village Collaborative with the City of Pittsburgh’s Department of Mobility and Infrastructure to explain proposed changes to five major East Liberty corridors.
Links: Coming soon