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  • September 16, 2022 12:31 PM | Cynthia Oliver (Administrator)

    Pa. ranks 23rd nationwide for its LGBTQ business climate, new analysis finds

    The state is hobbled by its lack of civil rights protections for LGBTQ Pennsylvanians

    BY: FRANK PIZZOLI - SEPTEMBER 12, 2022 6:30 AM


     (Image via The Philadelphia Gay News).

    Pennsylvania remains the only state in the northeast region without basic LGBTQ+ civil rights protections in place, according to the Movement Advancement Project.

    Nine nearby states from Vermont to Maryland as well as the District of Columbia have laws on the books protecting against discrimination in employment and housing. 

    Out Leadership founder Todd Sears (submitted photo). Out Leadership founder Todd Sears (submitted photo).

    Out Leadership ranked the state 23rd in its recently released 4th annual LGBTQ+ Business Climate Index. The organization is a global network for LGBTQ+ business leaders and companies.

    The Index is a ranking from highest to lowest of all 50 states as it relates to legal, political, emotional support, health, business and other parameters for queer Americans. The group has 94 member companies – including Amazon, American Express, Bloomberg, Citi, CocaCola, Comcast, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, IBM, Microsoft, Nike, and Walmart.

    Pennsylvania has had its moments recently. The Legislature finally removed ‘homosexuality’ from the state crime code. 

    In an executive order, Gov. Tom Wolf banned ‘conversion therapy’ as it relates to the state’s involvement with the discredited practice of attempting to change a person’s sexual orientation.

    Out Leadership founder Todd Sears said the index is “a living roadmap, highlighting the places where we must be both reactive and proactive.

    “While the top ranked states for LGBTQ+ equality broadly increased in score, the bottom ranked states decreased in score or remained stagnant, signaling a widening gap across the country between the ideology of equality and the tactics used to achieve or dismantle it,” he added.

    “Our data reveals that the gap continues to widen with some states now legislating and regulating what amount to anti-LGBTQ+ laws and policies,” Sears told the Capital-Star.

    The Human Rights Campaign officially declared 2021 as the “worst” year in recent history for states enacting anti-LGBTQ+ laws. By May of that year, the seventeenth anti-LGBTQ bill was enacted into law. In 2022, over 300 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have surfaced in 36 state legislatures, according to the Human Rights Campaign.

    On June 21, the Pennsylvania Senate Education Committee moved two bills, sponsored by Lancaster County Republican Sens. Ryan Aument and Scott Martin that advocates have derided as “grave attacks against LGBT Pennsylvanians.”

    Aument’s bill is ““essentially a book and education ban on gay and lesbian relationships,” Preston Heldibridle, the executive director of the Pennsylvania Youth Congress, told the Capital-Star.

    Martin’s legislation is “ “is an expansive gag order for school personnel on LGBT issues, forces the outing of vulnerable students to parents or guardians, and creates a private right of action if those terms are violated, among other cruel provisions,” Heldibridle said.

    The bills “… purposefully conflating graphic pornography with children’s books that reference LGBT families in hopes that Pennsylvanians won’t notice,” Heldibridle said. 

    “They are trying to sneak in this horrific, subversive attack on LGBT inclusion under the guise of reasonable limits on sexually explicit content,”  Heldibridle continued. “Those limits already exist. They cherry pick outlandish scenarios to advance categorical bans to appear like defenders of children when in reality, proponents of these bills are the ones exploiting children to further their own goals and causing irreparable harm.”

    The bills are “worse than Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ legislation,”  Heldibridle concluded.

    The political shifts “are happening in a country that has never been more polarized.”

    He points out that “Any number of factors have contributed to this fact: COVID, the Jan. 6 insurrection, pending landmark Supreme Court decisions, and the upcoming midterm elections, to name a few,” Sears told the Capital-Star. “Each of these events and many more fuel a fire that motivates those organized in opposition to equality.”

    If you think the current craze to reverse gay civil rights gains has no effect on the market, Sears says his organization’s data indicates that:

    • Qualified, talented, LGBTQ+ employees are leaving the states sinking to the bottom of the Index, and moving to states that are on the ascent. In fact, 
    •  24 percent of LGBTQ+ workers have already moved to a more inclusive city
    • 36 percent would consider moving
    • A remarkable 31 percent would take a pay cut to live in an inclusive city

    The Capital-Star asked chamber of commerce executives from across the state to chime in on what they think needs to happen in the Keystone State regarding gay civil rights.

    Within the Northeast Region of the country as rated by the Index, Pennsylvania comes in as 11th or last among New York (1st within region and nation), Connecticut (2nd in region), Massachusetts (3rd), New Jersey, Vermont, Maine, Rhode Island, Maryland, New Hampshire, and Delaware. 

    Pennsylvania-based chambers of commerce that focus on or actively include the LGBTQ+ community reacted to the Index by suggesting specifically needs to happen regarding LGBTQ+ civil rights in order to improve the business climate for all involved. 

    In Pittsburgh 

    Ronald L. Hicks, Jr., the president of the Pittsburgh-based Three Rivers Business Alliance, is clear on what he thinks needs to happen. The Alliance is a membership-based, business organization advocating for people of all genders and sexualities.

    “First and foremost, Pennsylvania needs to amend the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act to include protections for sexual orientation and gender identity. Nondiscrimination is about respect for people of all backgrounds and faith — that’s why 94% of America’s biggest companies have inclusion policies that protect LGBTQ+ people as part of their nondiscrimination policies,” Hicks said in an email.

    At least 70 of the state’s 2,560 municipalities have LGBTQ+ civil rights protections in place, according to the state Attorney General Office’s website. This patchwork of equality literally means one can marry on a weekend (under SCOTUS 2015 marriage equality decision), then display a wedding photo at work Monday – and be fired with no legal recourse available.

    “We continue to be the only state in the Northeast that doesn’t have protections in statute for LGBQT Pennsylvanians,” Julie Zaebst, a senior policy associate with the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania,  said.

    Hicks points out what is obvious to some but not all.

    “Nondiscrimination is more than just about respect; it’s good business,” Hicks said. Years of research, he notes, show that cities and states with nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ+ people (including protections against credit and loan discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity) are more attractive to highly educated, innovative, and creative people — people who drive invention, entrepreneurship, and economic growth,” he said.

    Hicks also noted “two-thirds of meeting planners recently said they’ll avoid states with anti-LGBTQ laws. Thus, including LGBTQ+ people in Pennsylvania’s nondiscrimination protections will deliver real value to the only state in the Northeast without such protections.”

    Hicks also called for “Pennsylvania and all of its municipalities and authorities need to include LGBTQ+ certified businesses in all aspects of their disadvantaged business enterprise (DBE) procurement and loan/grant programs.” Currently, the state’s Department of General Services and the cities of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh recognize LGBTQ+ certified businesses as part of their DBE programs. “LBGTQ+ businesses generate over $1.7 trillion in economic impact, help create jobs, and innovate business solutions nationwide,” Sears said.

    In Philadelphia 

    Zachary Wilcha, the executive director of the Independence Business Alliance, said he agrees the state needs a comprehensive statewide law that establishes nondiscrimination protections.

    “We desperately need a law in place. Right now, the rights of LGBTQ+ individuals vary erratically as you pass from municipality to municipality, depending on which local laws are codified,” he told the Capital-Star. IBA represents LGBTQ+ professionals and allies in the Greater Philadelphia area.

    According to Wilcha, “a fundamental building block of a strong economy is that everybody should be able to participate in all aspects of daily life with dignity and respect and without fear of discrimination.”

    No one, he said, “should be at risk of being fired from their job, refused service, or denied housing simply because of who they are or whom they love.”

    Personal dignity and safety “are major factors for all business owners, employees, customers, and visitors when it comes to deciding where they invest their time and money,” Wilcha stressed.

    In central Pennsylvania

    Harry Young, the executive director of the Keystone Business Alliance, which represents gay businesses in the state’s central region, seconded Wilcha’s motion for inclusion.

    “So much of our state’s population is not protected by the current patchwork of local municipal ordinances. Fairness and inclusion are good for business as we try to attract and retain talent and build an inclusive and attractive marketplace,” Young said.

    To its credit, “Pennsylvania was among the first states years ago to recognize LGBT certified businesses in the state’s supplier diversity program,” Young said.

    But there’s so much more that could be accomplished with passage of  a statewide LGBTQ anti-discrimination law known as the Fairness Act.

    The state Legislature has entertained numerous gay civil rights bills over the last two decades, unable to pass any comprehensive legislation.

    On the congressional level, U.S. Rep. Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson, PA-15th, was one of 157 Republicans in the U.S. House to recently vote “nay” on the Respect for Marriage Act. With no apparent sense of irony, days later he said at his son’s same-sex wedding ceremony: “We love it when they find their one true love.”

    That’s what makes passage of the Fairness Act in Pennsylvania so important.

    “If passed, the Fairness Act amends the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (PHRA) to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression in employment, housing, and public accommodations,” Hicks said.

    Recent developments in the law, culminating in the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, make it clear that discrimination “because of sex” necessarily includes sexual orientation and gender identity under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

    Another factor in Pennsylvania is that the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission––the agency tasked with enforcing the Human Relations Act – issued guidance in 2018 interpreting state law as prohibiting “discrimination on the basis of sex assigned at birth, sexual orientation, transgender identity, gender transition, gender identity, and gender expression.”

    This interpretation of state law, Hicks notes, is consistent with developing pre-Bostock case law and with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s decisions and guidance clarifying that a discrimination claim based on sexual orientation or gender identity is discrimination on the basis of sex under Title VII.

    “Yet far too many LGBTQ+ individuals have fallen through the gaps in the patchwork of existing protections in Pennsylvania,” he told the Capital-Star.

    LGBTQ+ workers of color face multiple barriers that force them out of the workforce at disproportionately high rates, and transgender people are almost four times as likely to have a household income of less than $10,000 compared to the general population, according to the Index.

    “Thus, the Fairness Act codifies existing laws so that no matter where one resides in Pennsylvania, an LGBTQ+ person will be free from discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations,” Hicks said. 

    But, he noted, “what the act does not do is take away one’s individual freedom of religion.”

    “However, as our federal and state courts have repeatedly held, when it comes to employment, housing, and public accommodations, religious freedom does not give anyone the right to use their religion to discriminate against and impose those beliefs on others who do not share them,” Hicks said,  adding that “if people understood what the Fairness Act does and does not do, then its passage would finally happen.”

    David Black, the former CEO of the Harrisburg Regional Chamber of Commerce/CREDC, told the Capital-Star that “equality involves both individual and collective attitudes, more simply put, what other people think about other people.”

    The state has “moved to become more accepting every year. Understanding LGBTQ+ civil rights is getting to know people, learning about differences and discovering similarities.”

    Black believes “the Fairness Act, HB 300, will pass in the next couple of sessions of the General Assembly.” Why? Because he thinks eventually “the workforce becomes the critical issue for business, with work/life balance a main component of attracting and keeping a talented workforce. “Opinions do change over time,” he said.

    The kind of social justice change Black reflects “an example of the government keeping up with society versus the government leading and that’s not a bad thing.”

    Reposted from The Pennsylvania Capital Star with permission from Frank Pizolli

  • August 31, 2022 11:19 AM | Cynthia Oliver (Administrator)




    by Allegheny-County | Aug 31, 2022 | 0 comments

    Allegheny County Controller Corey O’Connor announced today that he will convene an Industry Best Practices Working Group to facilitate dialogue between organizations representing and developing the regional workforce and public and private sector employers.

    “We must work to ensure that investments, training efforts and resource allocation matches the needs of workers in our region. Even before the recent rise in inflation, workers were being squeezed by housing and transportation costs, health care expenses and the need to save for retirement while still meeting immediate needs. We need to make sure our region is directing resources to support workers in essential areas where need exists and preparing our future workforce for what will be the family-sustaining jobs of the future. I am encouraged by the enthusiasm of our initial partners to participate in a dialogue on the welfare of workers in our region and the actions needed to help them thrive moving forward. We look forward to engaging with a broad range of stakeholders in our local economy as our work progresses,” O’Connor said.

    Participating organizations include:

    • A. Philip Randolph Institute Pittsburgh Chapter
    • Allegheny Conference on Community Development
    • Allegheny/Fayette Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO
    • Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC)
    • Partner4Work
    • Pennsylvania Women Work
    • Three Rivers Business Alliance
    • United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania’s #IWantToWork Campaign

    Several partners participating in the task force expressed their support for the initiative.

    “A regional economy that benefits all must include the voices of workers and reflect the needs of working families and working-class communities. I am confident that the effort launched by Controller O’Connor can help lead to local economic growth that includes union members in a growing number of industry sectors and which provides broad benefits to our residents,” said Darrin Kelly, President of Allegheny/Fayette Central Labor Council (AFL-CIO).

    “The interests of communities that have suffered from a deficit of opportunity for so long must be purposefully included in discussions on the development of our future workforce and the economic future of our region. It is incumbent on political and community leaders to ensure this inclusion, and we appreciate Controller O’Connor’s invitation to participate in this Working Group,” said DeWitt Walton, Vice President of the A. Philip Randolph Institute Pittsburgh Chapter.

    “Since the college’s founding, CCAC’s mission has been to prepare our students for the best opportunities in the regional economy. Naturally, these opportunities change over time. While we constantly seek to respond to these changes by offering programs that reflect both current workforce needs and evolving employment trends, it is essential that employers, investors, government officials and other providers of workforce training work from the same playbook. We appreciate Controller O’Connor’s efforts to convene regional stakeholders for these important conversations,” said Michael Rinsem, Endowed Professor for Technical Curriculum at Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC), who will represent the college in the working group.

    Dr. Josie Badger DCHE, CRC, Campaign Manager of the United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania’s #IWantToWork Campaign, will represent the disability community on the working group. “The disability community is the largest minority group and had been repeatedly overlooked when trying to fill workforce shortages. This effort is a significant step forward as Allegheny County moves toward improving employment rates and supporting people with disabilities to obtain good jobs in the community,” she said.

    “Pennsylvania Women Work partners with local employers to help connect job-seekers to sustainable, meaningful employment. We recognize that the best way to support the women in our community is through continued collaboration and communication to take measurable steps toward improving our region’s workforce. As the only women-focused workforce development organization in Pittsburgh, we are honored to represent working, unemployed and underemployed women as a member of this group of community leaders,” said Kristin Ioannou, Executive Director, Pennsylvania Women Work.

    “Three Rivers Business Alliance (3RBA) looks forward to working with the County Controller’s office on this important initiative to improve the lives of our workers here in Allegheny County. As the local chamber of commerce representing LGBTQ+ businesses, 3RBA can bring important insights to help our workplaces be more inclusive and our work environments more supportive of LGBTQ+ employees and entrepreneurs,” said Cynthia Oliver, Executive Director. “Dialogue about lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people often remains undervalued or misunderstood in Human Resource Development (HRD). Despite a growing global awareness of the struggles LGBGTQ+ members face, many employers remain ill-equipped to create the policies and workplace cultures that would support them. We believe this important work will help further education, set priorities and allocate resources that will make Allegheny County a better place to live, work and thrive for all.”

    Working Group members will meet with varied industry leaders to discuss their workforce and investment needs and how all stakeholders can partner to meet them, O’Connor said.

    “These are the types of conversations that need to happen to ensure that our region is succeeding in attracting jobs and supporting workers today and that we are prepared for coming shifts in what employers and workers need,” O’Connor said.

  • July 28, 2022 5:25 PM | Ronald Hicks (Administrator)

    Pittsburgh, PA - Three Rivers Business Alliance (3RBA) is proud to announce that its executive director, Cynthia Oliver, has been named a finalist for the 2022 Greater Pittsburgh ATHENA Award. 

    The Greater Pittsburgh ATHENA Award recognizes exceptional women who demonstrate excellence in their profession, contribute to their community, and help other women and girls to succeed through mentorship.   The 2022 Greater Pittsburgh ATHENA Award finalists include:

    - Luz Blandon, Executive Vice President for Immigrant Children Services, Holy Family Institute

    - Dr. Trisha Gadson, Chief Executive Officer, Macedonia Family & Community Enrichment Center

    - Hollie Geitner, Director, Communications, Duquesne Light Company

    - Stacy Juchno, Executive Vice President and General Auditor, The PNC Financial Services Group

    - Cynthia Oliver, Executive Director, Three Rivers Business Alliance

    “Cindi is an excellent choice for the Greater Pittsburgh ATHENA Award,” said 3RBA’s President, Ronald L. Hicks, Jr.  “Cindi is an exceptional leader who is very passionate about helping women and other minorities succeed in their business or profession.  Her passion and leadership are part of the reasons why 3RBA has been quite successful with Cindi as our Executive Director.  On behalf of 3RBA and its members, we extend our sincere congratulations to Cindi and all the finalists.”    

    Scheduled for September 9, 2022, at the Westin Convention Center Pittsburgh Hotel, the ATHENA Awards event in Pittsburgh is one of the largest annual gatherings among the hundreds of ATHENA International events presented around the world.  For more information or to purchase tickets, follow this link.  

  • April 12, 2022 12:38 PM | Ronald Hicks (Administrator)

    City & State Pennsylvania has selected Three Rivers Business Alliance's President, Ronald L. Hicks, Jr., as part of it 2022 Pittsburgh Power 100, a round-up of people exerting the most influence in the City of Pittsburgh.  Read the full article here.  

    3RBA congratulates Ron on this well-deserved honor!

  • March 13, 2022 2:57 PM | Ronald Hicks (Administrator)

    Pittsburgh, PA - Three Rivers Business Alliance (3RBA) proudly announces that Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania has been the latest company to sponsor its operations.  

    Launched in 2018, 3RBA is a chamber of commerce that is affiliated with the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce.  3RBA serves to diligently advocate, promote, and serve as a catalyst for change that fosters diversity, inclusion, and equity, and produces increased opportunities for LGBTQ+ businesses and their allies in the Pittsburgh/Greater Allegheny region.  Together with its foundation, 3RBA serves as a point of connection for LGBTQ+ and allied business owners and professionals, corporations, nonprofits, and civic leaders.  

    "3RBA is delighted and honored that Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania has agreed to sponsor and partner with 3RBA," said Ronald L. Hicks, Jr., a partner at Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP and President of 3RBA and its foundation.  "Columbia Gas joins a growing list of companies that are committed to diversifying their business by including LGBTQ+-owned businesses in their procurement and contract programs." 

    As of March 2022, the list of companies that have partnered with 3RBA and its foundation include: 

    Mason-Dixon/Greater Allegheny ($10,000 annually)
    PNC Bank

    Allegheny River ($5,000 annually)
    UPMC and its Center for Engagement and Inclusion
    HRT Solutions

    Monongahela River ($2,500 annually)
    Vibrant Pittsburgh
    Urban Redevelopment Authority
    Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania

    Youghiogheny River ($1,500 annually)
    Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP

    Luttner Financial Growth LLC
    Giant Eagle
    Duquesne Light Co.

    To learn more about how you or your company can become a partner or sponsor of 3RBA or its foundation, click here or download this brochure. 

  • March 11, 2022 12:17 PM | Cynthia Oliver (Administrator)

    Cathy Renna,, 917-757-6123 


    Washington, DC, March 9, 2022 — Today an ad hoc panel of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine issued a groundbreaking consensus report focused on advancing data collection on sexual orientation, gender identity (SOGI), and sex, including variations in sex characteristics. The report synthesizes existing research, provides detailed recommendations about how to ask these questions, outlines key principles for advancing inclusion for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTQI) people, and articulates areas for further research.  The report emphasizes that improved and standardized data collection is vital for understanding the challenges LGBTQI people face.

    In response to this groundbreaking report, 190 LGBTQI and allied organizations today released an open letter calling for renewed efforts to advance SOGI and intersex data inclusion on surveys, in administrative data, and in clinical settings. The letter can be accessed here

    Data collected by private research firms suggest that there are over 13 million LGBTQ people in the United States, and the population is growing notably. Scientific estimates suggest as many as 2-5 million Americans were born with intersex traits.

    Said Liz Seaton, Policy Director for the National LGBTQ Task Force: ““Far too few surveys allow people to identify themselves as LGBTQI+ simply because they do not include sexual orientation, gender identity, or sex characteristics questions.  The lack of these questions stands in the way of addressing key disparities that LGBTQI+ people experience. We know that data inclusion is a cornerstone of equity, especially for LGBTQI+ people of color, low-income LGBTQI+ people, and transgender and intersex people. It’s important to note that transgender people may identify as male, female or gender nonbinary, and also some gender nonbinary folx do not identify as transgender.” 

    To speak with LGBTQI+ experts about data equity and this report, please contact:  

    • Cathy Renna, National LGBTQ Task Force, 
    • Sharita Gruberg, Center for American Progress, 
    • Naomi Goldberg, Movement Advancement Project, 
    • Alesdair Ittelson,  interACT,  
    • Aaron Ridings, GLSEN, 
    • Scout, National LGBT Cancer Network, 

    The National LGBTQ Task Force advances full freedom, justice, and equity for LGBTQ people. We are building a future where everyone can be free to be their entire selves in every aspect of their lives. Today, despite all the progress we’ve made to end discrimination, millions of LGBTQ people face barriers in every aspect of their lives: in housing, employment, healthcare, retirement, and basic human rights. For more information go to

  • February 23, 2022 8:25 PM | Cynthia Oliver (Administrator)

    PA LGBTQ+ Chambers Joined Together to Denounce Chambersburg Council Repeal of LGBTQ+ Inclusive Law Harrisburg/Philadelphia/Pittsburgh. Keystone Business Alliance, Independence Business Alliance, and Three Rivers Business Alliance, representing the three Pennsylvania affiliated chambers of the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce, express their disappointment with the decision of the Chambersburg Council in repealing its ordinance that banned discrimination based on sex, race, religion, and other factors in terms of employment, housing, and public accommodations and established a local human relations commission tasked with handling complaints of violations. In repealing the ordinance Chambersburg became the first among 70 Pa. municipalities that have enacted LGBTQ inclusive laws to revoke it. By repealing the ordinance without implementing any further protections for the LGBTQ+ community and other members who have historically faced discrimination, the Chambersburg Council has sent a clear message that LGBTQ+ businesses and their allies are not welcome in their town. Nondiscrimination protections ensure those basic freedoms to earn a living, rent or own a home, and participate fully in the community. LGBTQ+ people currently do not have these express, comprehensive nondiscrimination protections nationwide, and continue to lack clarity and consistency here in our state. It’s essential to our local and state economy that all employees, customers, and visitors – and their families – feel safe and welcome in all towns in Pennsylvania, including Chambersburg. Keystone Business Alliance, Independence Business Alliance, and Three Rivers Business Alliance call upon the Chambersburg Council to reconsider its decision. Also, all three chambers stand together in their demand that the Pennsylvania General Assembly join the rest of that states in the Northeast of the United States and enact a non-discriminatory statute that protects the LGBTQ+ community in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, regardless of their zip code. Otherwise, Pennsylvania will continue to be viewed as an unwelcoming state for LGBTQ+ businesses and their allies. Contact: Cynthia Oliver, Executive Director Three Rivers Business Alliance

  • February 23, 2022 8:24 PM | Cynthia Oliver (Administrator)

    February 24, 2022


    Today 3RBA was one of 145 organizations who sent a letter to the “Big Three” credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and Transunion) and to the Consumer Data Industry Association (CDIA), the trade association that represents them, urging them to take needed actions to correct credit report problems for transgender and nonbinary consumers.


    The signatory organizations include LGBTQI+ advocacy organizations, community centers, chambers of commerce, businesses, and community groups, as well as consumer, employment, housing, and anti-poverty organizations.


    The letter responds to the CDIA’s February 2 announcement, “Helping Transgender and Nonbinary Individuals Prevent Potential Disruptions to Their Credit,” that describes new policies at the Big Three credit bureaus to allow transgender and nonbinary consumers to submit name-change documentation to update the name on the credit reports.


    The letter acknowledges the credit bureaus’ new policies as an important first step and recommends additional action to correct persisting problems for trans and nonbinary consumers. After a legal name change, many transgender and nonbinary consumers end up with multiple credit files in different names and suffer a loss of credit history and score as a result. Additionally, credit reports out trans and nonbinary people to landlords, employers, and lenders when they apply for loans, jobs, and housing because the report still includes their deadname.

     To address ongoing problems the letter calls on credit bureaus to take additional steps, including:

    • Using consumers’ full 9-digit Social Security numbers in matching algorithms to ensure credit information is associated with the correct credit file.
    • Facilitating name changes by having clear procedures to update a consumer’s name on their credit report when presented with a legal name change order, and ensuring that staff are sufficiently trained in those procedures and are able to provide culturally competent service to transgender and nonbinary consumers.
    • Reducing the burden on transgender and nonbinary consumers to submit name-change documentation to each credit reporting agency by instituting a “one-stop” system that allows a consumer to submit a single request to have the legal name on their report updated, and ensures the request is communicated to all consumer reporting agencies.
    • Preventing the occurrence and recurrence of fragmented credit files by creating procedures to detect when a consumer changes their legal name with a creditor, to associate the new name with their credit file, and to consolidate a consumer’s credit information in their current and previous names in a single credit file — as the industry presently does when cisgender women and other consumers change their last names.
    • Preventing the disclosure of transgender and nonbinary consumers’ deadnames to landlords, employers, and underwriters by disclosing only a consumer’s current legal name in reports provided to credit report users.


    The letter was organized by a coalition of LGBTQI+, consumer, and employment advocacy organizations–including the California Employment Lawyers Association (CELA), Center for LGBTQ Economic Advancement & Research (CLEAR), Equality California, the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund (TLDEF), the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC), and the UC Berkeley Center for Consumer Law & Economic Justice.
  • February 18, 2022 12:08 PM | Ronald Hicks (Administrator)

    Pittsburgh, PA - On February 17, 2022, Three Rivers Business Alliance (3RBA) welcomed Samantha Goldberg and Micah Caporali as directors to its Board.  

    Sam is the founder and executive director of Open Space Counseling, Consulting & Wellness (Open Space CCW).  Founded in 2018, Open Space CCW is a LGBTQIA+ affirming, relationship minority affirming, and racial justice-oriented therapy group where people can move from merely surviving their lives to truly thriving. Open Space CCW helps people with concerns related to addiction, trauma, and LGBTQIA+, among many other things. Sam completed her academic and clinical training at the University of Pittsburgh, and earned her Master's of Social Work degree with a focus on clinical social work and direct practice mental health. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and has over a decade of experience working in the private, public, and non-profit sectors. 

    Micah is the first supplier diversity program manager for Duquesne Light Company (DLC).  In this role, Caporali helps DLC forge connections with qualified, local diverse suppliers that can create value and meet DLC requirements of safety, affordability, reliability, excellent service, and sustainability.  Micah is a graduate of Liberty University where he received a Bachelor of Science in Business Finance and Waynesburg University where he received an MBA in Project Management.  Micah has experience in both the private and public sectors, working in Washington, D.C., and Pittsburgh, PA.  

    "We are fortunate to have Sam and Micah join our Board as its newest directors," says Ron Hicks, 3RBA's President.  "Both Sam and Micah have the skills and experience that will enable 3RBA to continue its growth and pursue its mission of promoting and improving the business conditions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and other nonconforming persons (LGBTQ+) in the Pittsburgh/Greater Allegheny Region and their allies."

    3RBA appointed Sam to serve a three-year term and Micah to a 2-year term.  In addition to their appointments as directors, 3RBA appointed Sam and Micah as Co-Chairs of 3RBA's Programming & Events and Supplier Certification committees, respectively.  

  • December 03, 2021 2:43 PM | Cynthia Oliver (Administrator)

    National LGBT Chamber of Commerce and Grubhub Announce Recipients of String-Free Funds for Struggling Restaurants


    November 30, 2021 | For Immediate Release


    Hollywood, FL. – The National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), the business voice of the LGBTQ+ community and certifying body for LGBTQ+-owned businesses nationwide, and Grubhub, a leading U.S. food-ordering and delivery marketplace, announced today three recipients of $100,000 grants given by the NGLCC/Grubhub Community Impact Grant Program.


    FOODE + Mercantile, Café Gabriela, Pitchers DC and League of Her Own, serving communities in Fredericksburg, Va., Oakland, Calif., and Washington, D.C., were granted $100,000 each at the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) Back to Business (B2B) Summit 2021. These small business owners are among the first recipients of the $2 million COVID-19 relief funds generated by the Chamber in partnership with Grubhub. With the funds, the NGLCC and Grubhub created the NGLCC/Grubhub Community Impact Grant Program to support struggling LGBTQ+ owned and LGBTQ+ ally establishments.


    “The impact of COVID-19 has been debilitating for countless restaurant and bar owners, including the many LGBTQ+-owned restaurants across the country who have persisted through lockdowns, operational changes and labor and supply shortages,” said NGLCC Co-Founder and President Justin Nelson. “We’re grateful to have partnered with Grubhub to offer real lifelines to support businesses throughout the nation. America’s 1.4 million LGBTQ+-owned business owners have shown incredible resilience over the past two years, and as we travel along this road to full recovery, we are proud to continue being partners for many in our community.” 


    “COVID has turned the restaurant industry on its head the last 18 plus months, and at Grubhub, we’ve been working hard every day to support our restaurant partners across the country,” said Amy Healy, vice president of government relations for Grubhub. “As the world starts to return to a new normal, we’re proud to partner with the NGLCC and provide these grants to LGBTQ+ owned and LGBTQ+ ally-owned restaurants across the country that are pillars of their communities.”


    Here’s what the grant recipients had to say: 


    “As a trans-masculine and queer, immigrant person of color, I’ve worked hard and put all my love and energy into building a beautiful and welcoming space in Café Gabriela. I’ve remained resilient through COVID and this grant is the injection of funds that we need to continue along our journey to full recovery,” said Penny Baldado, owner of Café Gabriela.


    “Building community in a fun and safe place has been our mission since the very beginning. We’re relieved and thankful for these funds, and are looking forward to more stable days ahead,” said David Perruzza, owner of League of Her Own and Pitchers DC.


    “The past 18 months have been some of the most challenging in my career. Restaurant people are resilient people, but we are forever changed, and these funds will be crucial as we continue to evolve with new technologies and tools to help us compete in this new normal,” said Joy Crump, founding partner and chef of FOODE + Mercantile.


    The National LGBT Chamber of Commerce and Grubhub partnered for the month of June for Grubhub’s Donate the Change program, where diners could opt-in, round up their order total, and donate the difference to the NGLCC. Applications for the grant program, ranging from $5,000 to $100,000, opened in September. Recipients were selected based on criteria including the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their businesses as well as the restaurants’ plans to use the grant money to recover from the pandemic. Following this initial round of recipients, more grants will be issued in late 2021 and early 2022.  


    These legacy businesses were initial recipients of a grant program intended to help restaurants and bars impacted by COVID-19. Over the past two years, these small business owners have been among the hardest hit by the global pandemic with loss of jobs and income alongside rising operating costs. 


    • League of Her Own and Pitchers DC, two Washington, DC based gay sports bars owned by David Perruzza, used savings in the early days of the pandemic to prioritize payroll commitments for his 46 employees. They were soon saddled with debt, unable to pay taxes and other commitments, eventually taking out a Small Business Administration loan to cover overdue tax payments. The establishments plan to use funds from the grant to pay back rent and unpaid utilities so they can break even and move towards financial stability. Both bars are safe spaces welcome to all in the Nation’s Capital, and Perruzza, also a veteran, wants to continue to support and build community for years to come.


    • Penny Baldado, a formerly undocumented, trans-masculine and queer immigrant from the Philippines opened Café Gabriela, a neighborhood café “with a big heart”, in 2010 in Downtown Oakland. Before the pandemic, Penny employed four full-time staff, who were paid a living wage and received full medical and dental insurance. After sustaining an 85% decrease in revenue, Penny laid off their last full-time employee in June, but they plan to use proceeds from the grant for rent and marketing, with the hope of rehiring employees in the near future.


    • Downtown Fredericksburg, Va. is home to FOODE + Mercantile, the award-winning restaurant brand built on community, with founding partners Beth Black and executive chef Joy Crump, at the helm. At the beginning of the pandemic, Crump and Black persevered through the sudden challenges, first by pivoting to offering fresh groceries and hard-to-find commodities to their guests, and eventually by creating their version of an upscale outdoor dining experience. The two plan to use funding for continuous marketing and promotion, focusing on cross-promotions with their fellow local businesses as well as enhancing their technology. Their immediate goal is to fine tune the touch free aspects of their business while continuing to celebrate the personal experience behind the heart of hospitality.


    Of the over 100 grants to be awarded, 30% of the funds available are intended for businesses owned by people of color and transgender/gender non-conforming individuals. In the coming weeks, grant recipients will be notified and a full list of restaurants and bars that received funds will be made available.


    For more information on the Community Impact Grant Program please visit


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Three Rivers Business Alliance
1735 E. Carson St. #403

Pittsburgh, PA 15203-1705

NGLCC Affiliate Chamber


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