This profile was published as part of #GivingTuesday's #WomenWhoGive series, which celebrates women who give back in their communities.
Agnes Jean Brose (Aggie) is a lifelong Pittsburgh resident who has been committed to helping the people of her neighborhood help themselves to achieve better lives. Her work has encompassed health, public safety, education, employment, and political/economic empowerment. Aggie is a mother/grandmother/great-grandmother, an organizer, negotiator, and teacher dedicated to sharing her skills and resources with all community members. She was also the wife of the late Thomas L. Brose for 50 years.
Her service as a Democratic Party Committeewoman began more than forty years ago, and her active involvement as a volunteer with her neighborhood schools and her parish in Garfield began earlier still. The parish fund-raiser she started over 38 years ago is still running successfully. Her parish service led to working with Father Leo Henry as a founding member of the board of the Bloomfield-Garfield Corporation (BGC) in 1975. She then became a member of the Metropolitan Citizens’ Organization, received Saul Alinsky community organizing training, and from 1975 until 1985 worked at the BGC on a daily basis as a volunteer. For two years, she worked with Pittsburgh City Council member Richard Givens as an Administrative Aide, and then was hired by the BGC as a full time paid staff member, where she works to this day.
In 1983, Aggie was President of Save our Neighborhoods Action Coalition (SNAC), a group founded to assist plants on the verge of closing. Among other achievements, this group kept Nabisco from leaving the city. Her knowledge of grassroots community organizing and her ability to share that knowledge are such that she as served as a guest lecturer at the University of Pittsburgh, and has advised on curriculum development in Pittsburgh’s Catholic Schools. In 1983 she was named Woman of the Month by Pittsburgh City Council and she was listed as one of the 200 people who run the city of Pittsburgh in a 1983 Pittsburgh Press article. In 1988, the Pittsburgh Business Times featured Aggie as a Woman of the Times. 1990 saw her honored as Eastsider of the Year, and she was named an outstanding citizen by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in 1995. In 1999, she was the recipient of awards from Action Housing and Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group.
In 2001, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette featured Brose’s life work in the Sunday Magazine. In 2006, Aggie received the National Association of Women Business Owners’ “Make the Connection Award 2006” for service, community responsibility, commitment to the people and being an asset to the region. In 2008, NeighborWorks Western Pennsylvania presented Aggie with the Dorothy Richardson Award. In 2009 was honored and at the YWCA Greater Pittsburgh 2009 A Tribute to Women Leadership Awards Luncheon and awarded for Community Empowerment. In 2015, she received the PCRG “Founders Award.”
Aggie has served as First Representative of the Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group (1997-2000) and Second Representative (1988-1997), President of the board of directors of the Community Lending Credit Program which merged with Neighborhood Housing Services, Inc. (1990-2007), served on the board of directors of the Western Pennsylvania Hospital and National Community Reinvestment Coalition in Washington, D.C., served on a committee for Project Safe Neighborhoods, a government program aimed at reducing gun violence; Financial Education Consortium, which serves as a primary catalyst to promote financial literacy and the Governor’s Task Force for Working Families (Chair of the Financial Abuse Committee), which sought to identify strategies and programs to build incomes and assets for working families, promote financial education and literacy and protect working families from abusive financial services; served on the board of Independent Housing Resources East, Inc.; served on the Western Pennsylvania Foundation Board
Currently Aggie is President of the board of directors of the Eastside Neighborhood Employment Center, Immediate Past President of the board of directors of the Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group, Immediate Past President of the board of directors of the NeighborWorks Western Pennsylvania, and President of the board of directors of the Pittsburgh Housing Development Corporation.
Additionally, she is an active member of various task forces and partnerships aimed at improving the quality of life for city residents. These organizations include: the City of Pittsburgh’s Nuisance Bar Task Force; health partnerships at several neighborhood public schools (Friendship Academy, Arsenal Middle, Peabody High, McCleary Elementary); Western Pennsylvania Hospital Community Partnership (President); Vacant Properties Working Group (Chair), a coalition of community-based organizations focused on recycling vacant, underutilized city properties; Public Safety Task Force (Chair), which serves to address social and criminal behavior in the Pittsburgh neighborhoods of Bloomfield, Garfield and Friendship; Anti-Predatory Lending Initiative (Chair), an initiative that will help combat the effects of predatory lending; Mayor’s Safe Neighborhood Cabinet; Disruptive Properties Appeal Board (Chair); the Mayor’s Land Recycling Task Force; PNC New Markets Tax Credit Community Advisory Board, Children’s Home Patient’s Safety/Risk Management/Infection Control Committee and the Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority (ICA) Nonprofit Sector Support Task Force.