We are happy to welcome another PULSE Pittsburgh fellow to our team at ELDI. PULSE is a community organization that invites talented, university graduates to partner with nonprofits for a year of service and leadership.
Holly Mangan is an Environmental Studies graduate from Allegheny College who will be serving with us for 11 months. Get to know more about Holly and what she will be working on in our Q&A with her below.
Where are you from and how did you find your way to PULSE?
I was born and raised in State College, PA. During my senior year of college, I decided I was going to do a year of service and started looking at different one-year programs for college grads, particularly in Pittsburgh. I was sitting at a soccer game at my college (Allegheny College) talking about my plans when the woman sitting in front of me turned around and said, “Have you heard about PULSE?” I was really interested in trying nonprofit work and I wanted to be in Pittsburgh, so it all fell into place after that.
What motivated you to become a PULSE fellow?
I really wanted to be a PULSE fellow because it offered me a way into the nonprofit world right out of college with guidance and support. PULSE provides its fellows with a year of nonprofit service, a house to live in with other fellows, and lots of opportunities for networking and professional and personal development along the way. For me, it seemed like the perfect way to make the transition out of college and into the Pittsburgh nonprofit community.
How were you placed with ELDI?
When I was earning my degree in Environmental Studies from Allegheny College, I learned how important our environment is to our wellbeing and quality of life, and that our environment is so much more than nature. Our buildings, our cities, and the people we interact with are all aspects of our environment. ELDI was a match for me because I’m really interested in exploring how community development nonprofits can have a hand in creating a healthy, functioning environment for the people it serves.
How long is your fellowship?
11 months. From September 2019 through July 2020.
How does PULSE support you throughout the placement?
PULSE placed me in a house with other fellows for the year and provides seminars every week as well as additional events throughout the year for networking, personal growth, and getting to know Pittsburgh.
ELDI was a match for me because I’m really interested in exploring how community development nonprofits can have a hand in creating a healthy, functioning environment for the people it serves.
Can you talk about your role within ELDI and what you will be working on?
I’m the Land Recycling Coordinator at ELDI, which means I help out with all kinds of land recycling projects. Usually, that involves helping with the process of acquiring vacant, abandoned properties so that ELDI can turn them into affordable options for lower-income homeowners. This year I’ll be working a lot on a project we’re starting on a neighborhood of townhomes in East Hills. ELDI and HELP Pittsburgh are working with community members to address the vacant and blighted homes in their neighborhood and figure out a revitalization plan.
What are you looking forward to learning?
I’ve been learning so much at ELDI. I’m looking forward to learning more about community development practices and the role that affordable homeownership has in a well-functioning community.
What are you looking forward to contributing?
I’m looking forward to working on our project in East Hills and learning from the community what we can do to help revitalize the neighborhood and improve the quality of housing. Getting to see the very beginning stages of a process like this and then where we are a year from now will be really interesting.
Do you hope to stay in Pittsburgh after this fellowship?
I want to stay in Pittsburgh for at least a couple years after PULSE.
What’s your favorite thing about East Liberty?
My favorite thing about East Liberty is that it’s a living case study. My best friend’s mom grew up in the area and I remember her talking about what East Liberty was like in the 80s. To hear and read about its past and see its transformation is really interesting. This is the perfect setting to be in while I’m learning about community development practices.