A student’s opportunity is too often limited by their zip code, race and class.
the build story
In 2020, BUILD began exploring the feasibility of bringing our entrepreneurship education programming to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Through the support of the Richard King Mellon Foundation (RKMF), BUILD conducted a comprehensive Landscape Analysis Study (Study). The Study found a need, and opportunity, for youth entrepreneurship education in Allegheny and Westmoreland Counties. With the support of a four-year RKMF grant (2021-2025), BUILD has two full-time staff located in PA who are working with schools, community-based organizations (CBOs), out-of-school-time providers (OSTPs), and the community-at-large to establish a sustainable presence of BUILD in Allegheny and Westmoreland counties.
BUILD Pennsylvania showcases that dreaming big, working hard, and persistence is in all of us. As we move forward, we will continue to inspire and empower under-resourced students across the Greater Pittsburgh Area to achieve their full potential and help build a brighter, more equitable, and interconnected society.
Feasibility StudyIn 2020, BUILD began exploring the feasibility of bringing our entrepreneurship education programming to Pittsburgh. Through the support of the Richard King Mellon Foundation (RKMF), BUILD conducted a comprehensive Landscape Analysis Study (Study). The Study found that there was a need, and opportunity, for youth entrepreneurship education.
BUILD Pittsburgh was launched!In 2021, the Richard King Mellon Foundation awarded BUILD with a grant to implement BUILD in partnership with schools in Allegheny and Westmoreland Counties. BUILD Pittsburgh launched its first pilot school, McKeesport Area Senior High School.
Spreading the WordIn May 2022, BUILD Pittsburgh hosted the first annual Southwestern Pennsylvania Youth Pitch Competition to for all educators and high school students to have the chance to compete in teams for prizes while experiencing Project-Based Learning in Entrepreneurship through the BUILD Design Challenge.
Growth and OpportunitySince 2022, BUILD Pittsburgh has grown to serve more than 300 students with our year-long curriculum in six full-time partner schools, as well as 150 students in our yearly Youth Pitch Competitions.
Aaliyah Taylor & Sierra Fisher
Aaliyah Taylor and Sierra Fisher are both 8th graders at Penn Hills Charter School of Entrepreneurship. On Saturday Light Brigade Radio, they share their BUILD experience as the 1st Place Winners of the 2022 Southwestern PA Youth Pitch Competition.
Team Next Step Generation Representation
Team Next Step Generation Representation from McKeesport High School takes second place at the SWPA Youth Pitch Competition (2022) with their idea for a multi-media campaign for minorities in the fashion industry.
McKeesport Area High Schoolers
BUILD Students Amyca Wilson, Colin Scharritter, and Aliyah McClung are high school students from McKeesport who were featured in RK Mellon Foundation’s 2021 Annual Report. Together, the three students came up with entrepreneurial solutions to bring attention to their home city.
updates & events.
Announcing the 3rd Annual Southwestern PA Youth Pitch CompetitionIn honor of BUILD’s 25th Anniversary, schools from across the Greater Pittsburgh Area are invited to join the 3rd annual Southwestern PA Youth Pitch Competition! Launching in January 2024, the competition […]
BUILD’s Teacher Fellowship Aims to Ignite Youth EntrepreneurshipIn August, BUILD launched the Southwestern PA Teacher Fellowship Pilot for middle and high school educators who are interested in developing their students’ 21st-century skills. Fellows receive professional development on critical […]
BUILD Pittsburgh Announces 2023-2024 School PartnersClasses are in full swing. We wanted to take a moment to shoutout our amazing school partners and teachers for the 2023-2024 academic year. Welcome Back! McKeesport Area High School Teacher: Jill […]
BUILD.org Announces The Winning Team of the Second Annual SWPA Youth Pitch CompetitionPittsburgh, PA – April 27, 2023 – BUILD.org declared the winning high school team, Notable Apparel from Northgate Senior High School, as the first place winner of the 2023 Southwestern […]
BUILD Showcases Youth Entrepreneurship Competitions Across The Nation For Cash Prizes and Start-Up FundsOfficial Press Release Redwood City, CA – April 19, 2023 – BUILD.org showcases the next generation of entrepreneurial student leaders and changemakers through its innovative BUILDFest events around the Nation […]
the build greater Pittsburgh team.
Emily joins BUILD with experience as Manager of Career Development Programs at Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania and a former Career Coach serving high school students placed in corporate internships in the greater Pittsburgh area. With expertise in personalized learning, program development, and youth and volunteer recruitment, Emily’s tools workforce development includes Project Based Learning and Human Centered Design. Emily is an AmeriCorps Public Ally Pittsburgh Alum and a yoga instructor. She received her RYT-200 Certification from YogaRoots on Location’s Anti-Racist Yoga Teacher Training in 2018. Emily’s yoga and career-mentorship practices utilize trauma-informed care and restorative practices.
Emily believes that engaging, real-world workforce development training for young people is the key to social, economic, and educational equity. For fun she enjoys travel, food, music, reading, playing with dogs, laughing with friends, and encouraging self-compassion and accountability. Emily holds a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and Theatre Dance from the College of Wooster.
As a former Political candidate, Criminal Justice Reform Program Director & CEO, Educational Administrator, and also an established transformational leader in both the private and public sector, Lamar Blackwell joins BUILD as the Founding Director with a plethora of relevant relationships and invaluable experience. Lamar has had an amazing track record of reforming broken communities through administrative duties. He attended the 9th-ranked dual-degree graduate and law school program in the United States, Georgia State University. Lamar also received his undergraduate degree from Morehouse College in 2016. Lamar has mastered the ability to maximize equity through creating, influencing, and operating policy that justly allocates resources to under-served residents, students, and communities. He is an accomplished professional with extensive experience advocating and campaigning to mitigate injustice for individuals by leading social justice organizations, schools, and social service agencies. The unmatched ability to connect community partners, potential funders, and regular people to a product has helped Lamar Blackwell establish himself as a “widely-recognized” dynamic leader throughout the region.
Mr. Blackwell was born and raised in one of the most impoverished neighborhoods in the Northeast; at one point he attended one of the lowest-performing schools in Pennsylvania, Peabody High School. He states “of all the friends I grew up around, I’m the only one who is currently walking the streets free. Half are dead, half are incarcerated, but it started from the time we were students.” Lamar realized that being born into an unsatisfactory environment, with little resources would lead many to a life of self-destruction. He noticed that many of the friends he grew up with were struggling due to the fact that they were not connected to the work they were doing and didn’t have a chance to create opportunities for themselves. At that point, Lamar dedicated himself to fighting for equity and opportunity for those who are unable to fight for themselves.
Lamar has served numerous low-income communities and transformed the minds of many speaking professionally to over 900,000 people and raising millions of dollars for low-income residents and nonprofit organizations. Lamar has created strong networks, working alongside diverse groups of people, ranging from troubled minority students to formerly incarcerated individuals. Lamar looks forward to serving BUILD and helping change the trajectory of the lives of students through informal education.
Manar Marini is from Rochester, NY, and is the daughter of Palestinian immigrants. She graduated from SUNY Brockport with a degree in English. She is the first in her family to graduate from college. Manar now resides in Pittsburgh, PA with her husband and two children. She has former experience as a career coach, mentoring high school students to have positive and successful experiences at their corporate internships within the Greater Pittsburgh Area.
She has a passion for serving underserved communities and believes in offering real-world workforce development training for students, especially in underfunded high school settings. She believes this is a crucial opportunity to offer to young people because it allows them to explore different career paths, and gain experiences, as well as a myriad of skillsets that cannot be taught in a classroom setting that they can carry on with them in their future careers and become successful.
With experience in working in the airline industry as well, Manar has had the privilege to travel and immerse herself in different cultures and make friends from all around the world. In her downtime, she enjoys meeting new people, going to the movies, and spending time at home with her husband and two little ones.
P.O. Box 3316
Redwood City, CA 94064
Phone (510) 271-8244