Breathe Project Leadership Group Formed
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Heinz Endowments Contact: Douglas Root, 412-338-2657
Industry, Government, Environmental Nonprofits, Public Health, Academia Among Sectors Guiding Air-Improvement Quest
Pittsburgh, July 12, 2012 – The coalition of 85 organizations and 1,000 individuals who have joined together to make significant improvements to air quality in southwestern Pennsylvania has formed a leadership group committed to encouraging individual and corporate actions, commissioning research and setting goals that will define future success.
The 23 members – ranging from Rachel Filippini, executive director of the Group Against Smog and Pollution, to David Porges, chairman, president and CEO of EQT Corp., to the Rev. Judith Moore of Clairton to Sean Jones, music professor and professional trumpeter – met for the first time Wednesday to begin charting the future course of the project.
The leadership group also heard the inspiring story of air quality-improvement success in Houston, Texas, from William White, the city’s mayor from 2003-2009.
“We are grateful beyond measure for the time and expertise that these very busy people will be bringing to this initiative by agreeing to step into leadership roles,” Robert Vagt, president of The Heinz Endowments, the convening foundation for the Breathe Project, said following the meeting. “What is most heartening is the determination and passion that was flowing through this group from the first moments of the session,” said Vagt, “and it gives us great confidence that the region will meet this challenge.”
The Endowments, which began the project two years ago as a philanthropic initiative, has now turned over broad guidance of the work to the leadership group.
Members heard about Houston’s successful clean-air campaign from White, who served as mayor for three terms. The city is widely recognized for having made significant strides in reducing air pollution, primarily through the actions of its business community.
“I look around this room – and I see you linking goals to actions of particular constituents,” White told the leaders. “You have business, political, faith-based, health and many more. If you agree on a goal, you can do whatever you want to do. You have everyone you need in place to make significant improvements.”
Members of the Breathe Project Leadership Group are:
Dr. Joseph Ahearn, Chief Scientific Officer and Vice President, Allegheny Singer Research Institute, and Director, Lupus Center of Excellence, West Penn Allegheny Health System
Aaron Bisno, Senior Rabbi, Rodef Shalom Congregation
Dr. Donald Burke, Dean, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh
Jared Cohon, President, Carnegie Mellon University
Maryann Donovan, Associate Director, Research Administration, University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute
Rachel Filippini, Executive Director, Group Against Smog & Pollution
Rich Fitzgerald, County Executive, Allegheny County
Dr. Deborah Ann Gentile, Director of Research, Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, Allegheny General Hospital
Leo Gerard, International President, United Steelworkers
Franco Harris, Super Bakery
Thomas Hoffman, Western Pennsylvania Director, Clean Water Action
Alex Johnson, President, Community College of Allegheny County
Sean Jones, Trumpeter, Composer, Educator
Linda Lane, Superintendent, Pittsburgh Public Schools
Rev. Judith Moore, Pastor, First AME Church, Clairton
Troy Miller, Graduate, Schenley High School
Andrew Moore, Vice President of Engineering, Google Pittsburgh
Grant Oliphant, President and CEO, The Pittsburgh Foundation
David Porges, Chairman, President and CEO, EQT Corporation
Luke Ravenstahl, Mayor, City of Pittsburgh
Allen Robinson, Professor, Mechanical Engineering, Engineering & Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon University
James Rohr, Chairman & CEO, PNC Financial Services Group
John Surma, Chairman & CEO, United States Steel Corporation
Dennis Yablonsky, CEO, Allegheny Conference on Community Development
Robert Vagt, President, The Heinz Endowments
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