Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

Inspire Speakers Series Presents: Driving Systemic Change in Communities with Naomi Davis and Diana Bucco featuring Majestic Lane

November 17, 2016 @ 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm EST


Register Now


**Please note: Registration for this event closes at 12:00 noon on Thursday, November 17th. If you miss the window for online registration, not to worry! You can register at the door.



Have you ever considered what healthy, sustainable community development and neighborhood revitalization would look like one square mile at a time? Naomi Davis, founder and CEO of Blacks in Green, and Diana Bucco, President of the Buhl Foundation, are leading change in communities by focusing on the entire neighborhood, empowering local residents, and considering whole systems approaches to solve whole systems problems. They will share stories and insights from projects like One Northside in Pittsburgh and West Woodlawn Botanic Garden & Village Farm in Chicago, where they are inspiring the vision of creating thriving, healthy, and sustainable places for all to live, work, learn, and play.

The evening’s lecture will be emceed by Majestic Lane, the Deputy Chief of Neighborhood Empowerment in the office of Mayor William Peduto.



4:30-5:30 – Food, Drinks, and Networking

5:30-6:45 – Presentations by Naomi Davis and Diana Bucco

6:45-7:00 – Question & Answer Time


More About Our Speakers:


Naomi Davis, JD, LEED GA

Founder/CEO of Blacks in Green™ 

Often referred to as “A Visionary”, Naomi Davis is nationally recognized for her work to engage and empower the African American community in health, sustainability, and economic opportunities. An urban theorist, attorney, activist, and proud granddaughter of Mississippi sharecroppers, Naomi founded and serves as the CEO of Blacks in Green™(BIG) – an award-winning economic development organization based in West Woodlawn, Chicago. BIG is a national sustainability network and community wealth building initiative with a vision of creating self-sustaining black communities everywhere. Through advocacy and programs, she conveys the risks of global warming; the health/wealth opportunities of the new green economy; the power of neighbor-led enviro-economic policy and practice; local living economies as greenhouse gas reduction and wealth-building strategies; and the primacy of land ownership. Toward narrowing America’s racial disparities and to usher in an “Age of the Neighbor Investor,” Naomi trains activists and everyday neighbors to lead where they live in establishing “walkable-villages” within “The City of Villages” – where every household can walk-to-work, walk-to-shop, walk-to-learn, walk-to-play. BIG’s West Woodlawn Botanic Garden & Village Farm Initiative is their sustainable-square-mile pilot.

Some key programs, projects, and initiatives include:

* Grannynomics™ and The 8 Principles Green-Village-Building™, authored by and taught by Naomi, are whole-system solutions for the whole-system problems common to black communities everywhere

* Calling My Children Home is BIG’s emerging campaign to resettle middle class black families, empty nesters, millennials, and returning citizens into urban center legacy communities to buffer the nationwide trend of city gentrification;

* Urban Homestead Lifestyle™ – a green, mixed-income housing development led by BIG’s design/build team and planned for 2017 groundbreaking – this project is designed for family types prevalent in black communities and more residents will own, develop, and manage neighborhood properties

* Recruiting and training other BIGs – black leaders in real estate, science, technology, business, and other fields

Naomi was born and raised in St. Albans, NY, and is a graduate of Woodmere Academy County Day School, Fisk University, and John Marshall Law School. She lives in the shade of BIG’s Sustainability Teaching Garden in West Woodlawn, Chicago.



Diana Bucco

President of The Buhl Foundation

Diana Bucco is the President of The Buhl Foundation where she has led the revisioning of the Foundation’s new strategy and approach to philanthropy, including its focus on community-driven neighborhood revitalization. The Foundation has embarked on a geographically focused effort in the Northside of Pittsburgh, known as One Northside Pittsburgh, where they have engaged thousands of residents and community members to work together to define their needs and develop strategies to address them in order to improve the quality of life for all residents now and in the future.

Before joining The Buhl Foundation, Diana was the President of The Forbes Funds, founding executive director of the Coro Center for Civic Leadership and The Mentoring Partnership of Southwestern Pennsylvania, and the executive director of Pennsylvania Campus Compact. She is a Trustee of Point Park University and serves on the Boards of Carnegie Science Center, YouthPlaces, Advancing Academics, and Health Careers Futures, and is a member of the Women’s Funders Roundtable, the United Way’s Women’s Leadership Committee and the International Women’s Forum.


MajesticLane1Guest Emcee: Majestic Lane

Deputy Chief of Neighborhood Empowerment in the office of Mayor William Peduto

Majestic Lane is the Deputy Chief of Neighborhood Empowerment in the office of Mayor William Peduto. In that capacity, Majestic’s work includes leading the Peduto administration’s neighborhood equity efforts through community driven development, affordable housing, and engaging with Community Development Corporations, neighborhood groups, and other stakeholders. Prior to his time in the Mayor’s office, he was the Director of External Affairs & Membership Engagement at Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group (PCRG), a membership organization for Community Development Corporations, Community-Based Organizations, and related nonprofits that represent low- and moderate- income communities throughout Southwestern Pennsylvania. Lane also served as the Director of Community Engagement & Strategy at A+ Schools, an education advocacy organization dedicated to improving outcomes for Black & Brown children in Pittsburgh Public Schools, and a legislative aide to Pennsylvania State Senator Jim Ferlo focusing on community development, education & sustainability issues.



*Discover how community development can be done in healthy and sustainable ways.

*Learn how local and national organizations are leading neighborhood revitalization efforts.

*Explore how Naomi Davis works to engage and empower the African American community in health, sustainability, and economic opportunities.

*Gain insight into the work Diana Bucco is doing with One Northside Pittsburgh, a local initiative to create thriving and sustainable neighborhoods in Pittsburgh.


Child Care During the Lecture

We are thrilled to be offering mindful and engaging supervision for children ages 5 and up in partnership with the Environmental Charter School! There is no charge for this service for up to two children per attendee, but space is limited. We will also provide children with dinner in addition to learning activities. If you are interested in this option, please email Andrew Ellsworth with your child’s name and age after registering yourself.


Register Now


This event is pending approval for 1.5 GBCI CEUs and approved for 1.5 AIA HSW hours.

Partnering with USGBC and AIA, GBA makes it easy for our members to report continuing education credits. Please provide your GBCI and/or AIA number so we can auto-report your credits (for applicable events). Non-members can still earn continuing education credits but will need to self-report their GBCI CEUs.


Series Sponsor:


Partners and Funders:

Chatham Logo


PGH Schweitzer Fellow Program Logo FINAL





The Environmental Charter School at Frick Park




Media Sponsors:



NEXT logo white tilt


November 17, 2016
5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
Event Category:


Jenna Cramer


GBA Member
GBA Non-Member
Student / EP
Individual Membership + Event Fee (member rate)


Elsie H. Hillman Auditorium at the Kaufmann Center
1825 Centre Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15219 United States
+ Google Map