Organization infuses more than $33 million in  economic impact and societal benefits for the region each year

PITTSBURGH – For forty years, Heritage Community Initiatives (HCI), a human services nonprofit based in Braddock Pennsylvania, has been committed to pragmatic programs that impact the lives of thousands of individuals and families across 49 communities in Allegheny County. In fact, the organization is the only nonprofit in all of Pennsylvania that is dedicated to directly addressing three constructs of socioeconomic mobility – Transportation, Education, and Nutrition. This decades-long commitment of providing unparalleled access to these essential services has not only resulted in millions of rides, thousands of children given a best-in-class start to their education and hundreds of thousands of meals served, but also has made a broader measurable impact. A recent study commissioned by Heritage and conducted by The Hill Group showed that the economic and societal impact of Heritage Community Initiatives results in over $33 million dollars infused into the regional economy each year.

“We have been extremely fortunate to have Heritage Community Initiatives in this county, and to have partnered with them to deliver significant benefits for our region,” says County Executive Rich Fitzgerald. “Their proven programs play a vital role in the lives of individuals and families in Allegheny County. Congratulations to Heritage on 40 years of service. Thank you for your work in providing affordable transportation, accredited early learning and out-of-school-time programs, and nutritious meals.”

As it reaches its 40-year mark, the organization is building for the future – evolving to meet critical needs and connecting more people to its programs. “Every individual, every child deserves access to vital services in terms of educational support and growth, nutritious and delicious meals and certainly affordable transportation,” says Paula G. McWilliams, president, and CEO of Heritage Community Initiatives. “This milestone is not just a time to reflect on the impact of our programs but is ‘the end of the beginning’ and a renewed commitment to responding to the needs of those we are privileged to serve in the post-pandemic era.” She adds, “Thanks to my teammates, our Board, and our gracious supporters, Heritage remains steadfast in its mission to positively impact people’s lives. We are, quite simply, here to serve.”

The core of Heritage Community Initiatives’ service are three fundamental and pragmatic programs:

  • Transportation – Heritage Community Transportation (HCT), a fixed-route transportation service, allows people to get to work, health care, retail, PRT stops, and other destinations for only 25 cents a ride. HCT has provided more than 1.5 million rides, and in its 23rd year in operation, it remains the only designated public transportation provider operated by a human services nonprofit in Pennsylvania.
  • Education – Heritage serves nearly 300 largely at-risk children annually through its highly accredited, academically based education programs: Heritage 4 Kids Early Learning Center and HOST (Heritage Out-of-School Time). These nationally renowned programs, led by professional educators, ensure affordable options are within reach for all area families.
  • Nutrition – Nearly 170,000 meals are served each year by Heritage Nutrition Services, an enterprise model offering professional meal planning, ordering, preparation, and delivery services, in addition to providing healthy, nutritious options for at-risk youth and seniors. 100% of meals served address food security in our region.

“I value Heritage’s leadership and its longstanding role in affording greater access to critical resources for those in need in local communities,” says Heritage’s Chairman of the Board, William “Bill” Barron of Barron Commercial Real Estate. “They operate as an efficient and effective business which is imperative in order to continue to make a profound difference for area families and individuals. I congratulate the Heritage team on this impressive milestone.”

Today, June 1st, marks Paula McWilliams’ tenth anniversary at Heritage Community Initiatives, which means she is bordering on junior in tenure given that nearly 20% of the Heritage team has been with the organization for more than a decade.

“It has been an honor and privilege to serve alongside an incredibly dedicated and passionate group of professionals. It is my fondest hope that we will continue to make our mission a reality for many years to come.”


About Heritage Community Initiatives

For 40 years, Heritage Community Initiatives has been dedicated to making a positive impact on the socioeconomic mobility of thousands of individuals and families through pragmatic programs in Transportation, Education and Nutrition. Heritage is privileged to be a cornerstone for those who are under-resourced in 49 communities throughout Eastern Allegheny County.

Each year, Heritage provides highly accredited academically based early learning and out-of- school time programming for nearly 300 at-risk children. Heritage Community Transportation, an affordable fixed-route transit service in operation for 23 years, has provided more than 1.5 million rides for residents in largely transit-isolated communities. Heritage is the only human services nonprofit in the Commonwealth designated as a provider of public transportation, and its rides are offered at only 25 cents a ride. Additionally, nearly 170,000 meals are served each year by Heritage Nutrition Services, which offers solutions in meal planning, ordering, preparation and delivery while creating healthy options for youth and senior populations. For more information on our services and how to get involved, visit