Bona Fide Believes in Bellevue

We’re a group of energetic community builders who want to see Bellevue as the best living environment we can all make it.  

This is Bona Fide Bellevue.

On behalf of our group of engaged citizens invested in bringing growth, business, and beauty to our borough, we invite you to come live, worship, and shop in Bona Fide Bellevue.

Bona Fide Bellevue is a registered 501c3 non-profit Community Development Corporation (CDC). Our focus is to bring growth, businesses, and beauty to our borough of Bellevue, Pennsylvania.  Bellevue Initiative for Growth & Revitalization is the original founding name of our organization.

The organization includes the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce and the Bellevue Farmers Market.

Want to know more about community development and CDC organizations? Check out the glossary below.

Community Development Glossary

501 (c)(3) Section of the Internal Revenue Code that designates an organization as charitable and tax-exempt. Organizations qualifying under this section include religious, educational, charitable, amateur athletic, scientific or literary groups, organizations testing for public safety, or organizations involved in the prevention of cruelty to children or animals. Most organizations seeking foundation or corporate contributions secure a Section 501(c)(3) classification from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Note: The tax code sets forth a list of sections-501(c)(4-26)-to identify other nonprofit organizations whose function is not solely charitable (e.g., professional or veterans organizations, chambers of commerce, fraternal societies, etc.).
Source: The Foundation for Enhancing Communities

Blight – per Pennsylvania’s Urban Redevelopment Law of 1945 (Act 385 of 1945), Section 12.1(c), the blighted property includes any property which has been declared a public nuisance, is considered an attractive nuisance, is unfit for human habitation, is a fire or safety hazard, has ineffective utilities, is a vacant or unimproved lot or parcel with trash accumulation or vermin, is vacant and not tax delinquent without rehabilitation within the past year after instruction to do so from the appropriate code enforcement authority, and any abandoned property (See Act 385 of 1945)

Bylaws – Rules governing the operation of a nonprofit corporation. Bylaws often provide the methods for the selection of directors, the creation of committees, and the conduct of meetings.
Source: The Foundation for Enhancing Communities

Capacity – As it is used in health promotion literature, capacity is the participatory leadership, skills, resources, knowledge, and tools of individuals in communities and organizations that enable them to address, and have greater control over, conditions, and factors that affect health.
Source: Alison Education Company

Code – a building, housing, property maintenance, fire, health, or other public safety ordinance enacted by a municipality.

Community Capacity – Capacity is the combination of assets such as leadership, skills, resources, knowledge, and tools of individuals and organizations within the community that enables them to address and have control over those conditions that affect community well-being. Communities with high capacity engage in participatory processes to develop a shared vision, leadership, resources, and skills and have strong linkages and networks in place.

Community Development – In 1948, the United Nations defined community development as “a process designed to create conditions of economic and social progress for the whole community with its active participation and fullest possible reliance upon the community initiative.”

Community Development Corporations (CDCs) – CDCs are 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations that are created to support and revitalize communities, especially those that are impoverished or struggling. CDCs often deal with the development of affordable housing. They can also be involved in a wide range of community services that meet local needs such as education, job training, healthcare, commercial development, and other social programs. While CDCs may work closely with a representative from the local government, they are not a government entity. CDCs follow a bottom-up approach; they are set up and run by community members or local groups like churches and civic associations. In fact, a key feature of CDCs is the inclusion of community representatives in their governing/advisory boards.
Source: National Alliance of Community Economic Development Associations

Displacement – a potential result of gentrification that indicates the removal or “forcing out” of existing residents due to various factors.

Direct Displacement – Direct displacement of current residents occurs when (1) residents can no longer afford to remain in their homes due to rising housing bills (rents or property taxes), or (2) residents are forced out due to causes such as eminent domain, lease non-renewals, and evictions to make way for new development, or physical conditions that render their homes uninhabitable. (see Indirect Displacement)
Source: The Uprooted Project

Diversity – refers to both an obvious fact of human life—namely, that there are many different kinds of people—and the idea that this diversity drives cultural, economic, and social vitality and innovation. In North America, the word “diversity” is strongly associated with racial diversity. However, that is just one dimension of the human reality. We also differ in gender, language, manners, and culture, social roles, sexual orientation, education, skills, income, and countless other domains. In recent years, some advocates have even argued for the recognition of “neurodiversity,” which refers to the range of differences in brain function.
Source: The Greater Good Science Center of UC Berkeley

Equity – refers to the right of the individual to a fair share of the goods and services in society. However, equal treatment will not necessarily guarantee equal results. Creating equity sometimes required training people differently from each other; e.g. providing additional resources to some individuals so they are better able to compete for jobs, obtain education, or access to other programs and services.
Source: Alison Education Company

Gentrification – a process of changing the character of a neighborhood through the influx of more affluent residents and businesses. This is a common and controversial topic in politics and urban planning.

Grants – An award of funds to an organization or individual to undertake charitable activities.
Source: The Foundation for Enhancing Communities

Historic Preservation – Our nation’s history has many facets, and historic preservation helps tell these stories. Sometimes historic preservation involves celebrating events, people, places, and ideas that we are proud of; other times it involves recognizing moments in our history that can be painful or uncomfortable to remember.
Source: The National Park Service

Housing Authority – an independently run and autonomous, not-for-profit public corporation. which works in conjunction with local governments and agencies to develop long-term housing strategies for communities.

Indirect Displacement – refers to changes in who is moving into the neighborhood as low-income residents move out, and occurs when units being vacated by low-income residents are no longer affordable to other low-income households. This is also called exclusionary displacement since future low-income residents are excluded from moving into the neighborhood.
Source: The Uprooted Project

Inclusion – an organizational effort and practices in which different groups or individuals having different backgrounds are culturally and socially accepted and welcomed, and equally treated. These differences could be self-evident, such as national origin, age, race and ethnicity, religion/belief, gender, marital status, and socioeconomic status or they could be more inherent, such as educational background, training, sector experience, organizational tenure, even personality, such as introverts and extroverts.
Source: Global Diversity Practice

Income Inequality – the extent to which income is distributed unevenly among a population.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Lobbying vs. Advocacy – Advocacy is when nonprofit organizations advise stakeholders, legislators, or citizens on their own behalf to affect some aspect of society integral to the nonprofit’s mission. All nonprofits can advocate for measures that will affect their mission or the health and well-being of their clients. Lobbying is when one seeks to influence legislation.
Source: The Foundation for Enhancing Communities

Resources – Resources can be tangible (e.g., money, computers, staff, volunteers) or intangible (e.g., motivation, in-kind services, actions).
Source: Alison Education Company

Revitalization – The goal of neighborhood revitalization is to improve communities in a way that makes a lasting impact on the quality of life of its residents.
Source: Habitat for Humanity

History

In 2008, a group of enthusiastic citizens began meeting to envision how they could reinvigorate Bellevue and make it one of the most sought-after neighborhoods in Pittsburgh. In 2009 the group completed a strategic plan of how they could facilitate community involvement and begin the process of revitalization.  Thus, Bona Fide Bellevue was conceived!

The organization’s first project in 2010, Improve the Vue, focused on volunteer-led projects to enhance the borough’s overall image and safety. In the subsequent years Improve the Vue continues to lead projects that impact Bellevue’s growth and redevelopment. Most notably, Improve the Vue lead the development of The Memorial Park Bike & Hike Trail, which boasts two miles of trails along the Rails to Trails Network.

In 2014, the Bona Fide Bellevue was accepted into the Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group (PCRG) and continues to collaborate with other Allegheny County CDCs to work on projects for economic development, business district restoration and land banking.

In 2020 the North Boros Suburban Chamber of Commerce became part of Bona Fide Bellevue. The original Bellevue Chamber of Commerce was started in 1916.

Board of Directors

Susan Stabnau (Chair)

Leann Chaney (Secretary)

Julie Helbling (Treasurer)

Katie Damico

Scott Heberling

Becky Smolens

Cindy West

Board Member Emeriti:
Kathy Coder
Grant Saylor

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