Pittsburgh City Councilman Patrick Dowd announced Monday that he will be stepping down from his elected office to become the first executive director of “Allies for Children.”
Having served 5 ½ years on council, Dowd will resign next month. A special election for his replacement is expected in November.
Dowd, a former educator and member of the Pittsburgh Board of Education (2003-07), said “Allies for Children” is an opportunity to return to his love of educating children.
“While I am leaving elected office, I’m not leaving service to the public," Dowd said. "In my opinion, this is just a new form of public service, and I’m very excited to do it.”
Dowd currently represents the neighborhoods of Lawrenceville, Highland Park, Morningside, Stanton Heights, Polish Hill, Bloomfield, East Liberty and Garfield.
Allies for Children is a newly formed nonprofit organization focused on bringing the voice of the children to business, government and academic institutions in order to advance the understanding of children’s needs at the local, state and federal levels. The organization will advocate for legislative, administrative and community action for children.
There are roughly 250,000 children in the Pittsburgh region, with one-in-six living in poverty, according to Dowd.
He said Allies for Children will work as a lobbying group to bring about policy change for the benefit of kids.
“What you’ll see as a parent and what you’ll see as someone who cares about kids is a more broader effort, a more powerful voice, a more unified voice on behalf of children advocating for policy changes here at the city or county level, at the state level and, when necessary, at the federal level,” Dowd said.
Allies for Children is an offspring of the “Child Watch of Pittsburgh.” The new organization will have similar goals with an emphasis on changing public policy through political action both locally and at the state level to benefit children long term. Child Watch will continue to work with Allies for Children on community education activities.
The organization is funded by grants from the Heinz Endowments, the Grable Foundation, the Pittsburgh Foundation, United Way of Allegheny County and individual board members.
Allies for Children, which will be headquartered at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, will have an estimated budget of $700,000 per year.