Diana Bucco is vice president of the Buhl Foundation, which focuses its grantmaking on the Northside. She previously served as President of The Forbes Funds, and also launched the Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership. Diana lives in Ross Township with her husband, Mark Chutko, and their three children, Michael (19), Luke (17) and Maria (11). Diana’s favorite thing about the Northside? “The residents! They are the most diverse, passionate and committed. I am inspired and humbled every day,” she says.
Monday, December 14
I begin the day at 5 a.m. on the treadmill, throw in a load of wash, feed our cats Midnight and Sage, and pack lunch for my son Luke and me. We have breakfast together, he leaves for school and I check in with my husband and wake up my daughter before leaving at 7:15 a.m.
The workday begins at a Pittsburgh treasure, Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild, where I meet with Kevin Jenkins to discuss launching a project-based program for every sixth grade student attending a public school in the Northside.
Next off to meet with Mathew Craig from Young Preservationists Association to explore how we might make progress in rebuilding the walking bridge in Allegheny Commons Park, an amazing urban park minutes from the urban center.
Make a quick stop at Bistro to Go for a salad before making my way to Pittsburgh Public Schools (PPS). At PPS I meet with a group of amazing leaders to discuss Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM) Education and ways to foster more robust experiences for our students. Kudos to PPS for their leadership in expanding STEAM education!
Grab Nicky’s Thai for the family before running to the North Hills vs. Gateway varsity basketball game.
Tuesday, December 15
Start the day at 5 a.m. by putting together a Chicken Teriyaki dish in the crockpot.
I will spend the morning at my “satellite” office, Arnold’s Tea on East Ohio Street. Ms. Verna makes the best tea, although my preference is a large cup of her coffee black. Say “good morning” to Ally DePasquale (another Arnold’s Tea regular) and begin my day by meeting with Michael Glass from the Veterans Leadership Program, an important organization that serves the men and women who have given so much of themselves for all of us!
Next I have the honor of meeting with Jack Mook who has taken over an old fire station in Spring Hill and turned it into a state-of- the-art boxing site for youth in the Northside community. Jack is an inspiration to us all!
Later I have a conference call with Point Park University President Paul Hennigan. Dr. Hennigan’s visionary leadership has created an Academic Village in the heart of downtown Pittsburgh. I have the honor of serving as a board member and chair of the Strategic Planning Committee.
Following the call, I attend a staff meeting with the best team in the city of Pittsburgh. I have the privilege of working with Buhl Foundation President Fred Thieman, Buhl Fellow Amber Farr, Office Manager Linda Weaver and Assistant Bonny Kwolek. They are the best!
After the meeting I go to the Carnegie Library’s Allegheny Branch to explore a reading program for all third grade students in Pittsburgh Public Schools.
Dinner is at Rico’s Restaurant with my neighbors to celebrate the season.
Wednesday, December 16
I begin the morning at Arnold’s Tea with Mila Yochum from the United Way of Allegheny County to look at our progress at supporting an after-school system for every 12 – 15 year old in the Northside.
I get a second cup of coffee and meet with Rene Cuenca, a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University who is spending the year working with the Design Center on a PULSE Fellowship. Rene is researching mixed-income communities and their applicability to the Northside.
Next stop is Burgatory for lunch with Erin Conley from Amcom. A great corporate partner, they are interested in learning how to become involved in the One Northside initiative (which is supported by the Buhl Foundation).
Heading to Carnegie Mellon to listen to a Synthesis Project presentation on the redesign of the Allegheny Center Mall loop by a group of Heinz College graduate students.
Thursday, December 17
Begin again on the treadmill, a little housework and breakfast with my son and then off to the office in time for a 7:30 a.m. conference call with the YouthPlaces Board of Directors, where I serve as a member of the Executive Committee.
Following the call, we will host a group of amazing leaders at Buhl to discuss the possibility of a Creative Industries Corridor in the Northside. The Urban Innovation21 team is presenting the findings of an intensive study on innovative and culturally inclusive incubators and accelerators throughout the country. Then the Urban Redevelopment Authority and Design Center will share the results of a Commercial Real Estate Assessment of Northside properties.
Then off to a meeting with the Mayor’s office to discuss the Allegheny Center Mall ring road. Later I meet with the Jackson/Clark Partners team to discuss community organizing and strategies for empowering communities. My last meeting is with Ken Doyno from Rothschild Doyno Collaborative and Bill Gatti of TREK Development to discuss housing development in the Northside.
I wrap up the evening as a catcher for my 11-year-old daughter Maria, who is practicing her fast-pitch softball pitching at a garage in Etna.
Friday, December 18
Spend the morning in a planning session with Buhl President Fred Thieman.
At lunch I meet with Peter Holway from Hirtle Callaghan, then off to meet with Q Development about the projects they are leading in the Northside. The afternoon concludes at Starbucks Market Square where I meet with Jennifer Layman from the Student Conservation Association.
Saturday, December 19
The weekends are often devoted to family. Rise at 7 a.m. and go for a walk in North Park, then take my daughter to softball practice in Etna. Next, help with the preparation of 200 luminary kits as a fundraiser for a summer camp run by the McKnight Women’s Association. Each year, the women organize a two-week summer day camp to allow teens to gain work experience as counselors while the children enjoy recreational activities.
In the afternoon, I will bake traditional Italian cookies with my kids in preparation for a cookie exchange with friends.
In the evening, we will go to Mt. Lebanon to take Nonna Bucco (my mom) to dinner at Atria’s.
Sunday begins with Mass at St. Sebastian’s Church followed by brunch at Valliant’s Diner on Babcock Blvd.