Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership names new director

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As the new executive director of the Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership, Samantha Balbier wants to unite her members around the key policy issues of health care, taxes and transportation.

Overall, she said, her mission is to "strengthen the voice of the nonprofit sector ... and help Pittsburgh and leaders of the region understand the important economic impact the nonprofit sector has in southwest Pennsylvania."

Ms. Balbier became executive director of GPNP on Feb. 3, although the appointment was announced Monday. She succeeds Betty Cruz, who left to join the city of Pittsburgh administration as nonprofit and faith-based manager in the office of new Mayor Bill Peduto.

The Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership is a coalition of about 350 nonprofit agencies that operates out of The Forbes Funds, Downtown. There's a "natural alignment" between the partnership and the funds, Ms. Balbier said, because the funds' directive is to assist nonprofits with management and organizational issues.

Ms. Balbier, 44, said her long history of jobs in the nonprofit sector -- including working as a staff member at government and nonprofit agencies, and as a funder on the foundation side -- should serve her well. "It helps me understand the nonprofit community. I can identify with them and have touched on and experienced the daily challenges nonprofits face."

Prior to joining GPNP, she was lead consultant to the Pennsylvania Early Childhood Education Healthy and Green Initiative. In that role, she worked with government offices -- including the state departments of education, health and environmental protection -- to develop a statewide initiative to make early childhood learning facilities safer. Improvements that were implemented, she said, ranged from better ventilation to reduced use of pesticides and green cleaning practices.

Before that, she was director of development at Carriage House Children's Center, executive director of Healthy Home Resources, and a program associate at the Heinz Endowments where she handled grants in the children, youth and families program.

On the government side, she served as a consultant to the Allegheny County Department of Human Services and as a caseworker for the Erie County Office of Children & Youth.

An Erie native, Ms. Balbier moved to Pittsburgh in 1997 to obtain a master's in social work and public policy from the University of Pittsburgh.

Joyce Gannon: or 412-263-1580. First Published February 24, 2014 11:50 AM

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