Published October 21, 2021
Pittsburgh Post Gazette
A new era for the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh will begin on Nov. 10 when Carlos T. Carter takes over from the retiring Esther Bush as president and CEO of the civil rights organization.
Currently executive director of the Homeless Children’s Education Fund, a nonprofit specializing in helping homeless children, Mr. Carter also is a consultant for the Holy Family Institute/Nazareth Prep.
Like Ms. Bush, who will remain deeply involved in the uplift of African Americans in Pittsburgh, Mr. Carter is determined to make Pittsburgh “livable for all” — a goal that goes many steps beyond marketing hype.
Mr. Carter will have big shoes to fill as Ms. Bush leaves the leadership role she’s served so adroitly for 27 years. Ms. Bush headed the Pittsburgh Urban League during a time of change for the city as it struggled with deindustrialization, tension between the Black community and the police, and the periodic spasms of gun violence.
Ms. Bush has made the Urban League a key ally in the fight against COVID-19 by partnering with UPMC on a vaccine clinic in Duquesne and with Koppers on an outreach program to deliver much-needed pandemic supplies to residents of Homewood, the Hill District, the North Side and Duquesne.
Key initiatives that began under Ms. Bush are expected to continue under Mr. Carter’s leadership. The Urban League’s new CEO will inherit a staff of 50 and an annual budget for the agency that has grown under his predecessor from $5 million a quarter-century ago to $7 million today.
Ms. Bush was a consummate and attentive fundraiser, cultivating donors who shared the Urban League’s vision of a more successful and self-reliant African American community in a region that has not always cooperated in removing obstacles to progress.
Education, career preparation, health advocacy, housing issues and the nitty-gritty business of increasing community resources to help Pittsburgh’s Black community to thrive will remain agency priorities as Mr. Carter sketches out his own agenda in the coming years.
With the statistically likely election next month of state Rep. Ed Gainey as the city’s first African American mayor, Pittsburgh’s civic and corporate leadership will be accessible to the African American community in unprecedented ways.
Already a leader in the community, Carlos T. Carter likely will find a willing and enthusiastic partner on Grant Street when he assumes leadership of the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh.