After the civil disturbances of the 1960′s, residents of Homewood-Brushton created Forever Action Together, Inc. (FAT) to stimulate the political, educational, social, and economic life of the community. In 1969, the Housing Committee of FAT was inspired by an article in the Pittsburgh, Post Gazette that detailed a summer youth program in New York that encouraged self-help to overcome neighborhood blight and deterioration. Carrie Washington & Beverly Frazier, chair and member of the Housing Committee, respectively, traveled to New York and returned with a modified program model that was supported by a panel of advisors from the community and the Pittsburgh metropolitan area.
With initial funds provided by the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, the Program to Aid Citizen Enterprise (PACE), foundations, local businesses and corporations in 1970, Operation Better Block was born. In 1971, OBB was incorporated, with James Givner as founding Executive Director and Carrie Washington as Assistant Director. And in 1974, OBB become one of several select United Way member agencies in Allegheny County, focusing its energy and resources in Neighborhood and Community Development (NCD).
In 1977, after the untimely death of James Givner, Carrie Washington became the Executive Director of OBB, where she served for twenty-six (26) years. Under her direction, several accomplishments, including the creation of gender-specific youth programs and the Better Block Development Corporation (BBDC), were achieved. Upon her retirement in 2003, Aliya D. Durham assumed the directorship of OBB.
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