Brookline Teen Outreach
“I felt it was a very smooth process. It’s very similar to a traditional mortgage, the same paperwork. But I’d say it was much friendlier. … My phone calls would be answered, if not within minutes, within hours.”
There’s just one rule for the 110 young people who frequent Brookline Teen Outreach: “Be respectful.” And for its first 18 months, the nonprofit gathering place co-founded by Caitlin McNulty and Diana Fischerkeller was respectful of its landlord’s many rules, especially regarding the use of the kitchen. Put rules in between teens and food, though, and you’ve got a recipe for rebellion. It was time, Caitlin and Diana knew, to buy the building.
Caitlin sought a loan, but with banks, she says, “There was always a ‘but.’” They wanted to see more revenue, or a bigger surplus. “I was like, ‘Do you guys understand? We’re a nonprofit.’” An adviser at C&T Capital recommended The Progress Fund, which loaned $220,000.
Brookline Teen Outreach provides free tutoring, community service support, life skills training, dynamic programming and counseling to youth ages 10-18 who might otherwise wander the streets of Pittsburgh’s southern neighborhoods. Owning the building fulfills their vision of serving the communities with the highest concentration of youth within the city of Pittsburgh. Their unique and holistic approach includes cooking classes, a diversity-themed Cultural Day, blood drives, a community garden and more. Each program is aimed at helping teens to respect themselves, each other and the community. “We’re making a difference,” says Caitlin, “not just in this insular bubble, but it spirals outward.”
This project was financed in part using Pennsylvania Small Business Credit Initiative (PSBCI) funds from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Community and Economic Development.
The Progress Fund is an equal opportunity provider and employer.View Story as PDF