Andrea Matthews, who founded the Children’s Sickle Cell Foundation in 2003, is returning to Pittsburgh after a short stint in Maryland as a public health analyst with the federal government to take over as the executive director of the Brashear Association.
She is the first African American and first woman to serve in the position. She replaces Hugh Brannan, who is retiring after 36 years.
Matthews officially starts April 1.
“Andrea comes to us with a solid background as a nonprofit director and she brings great energy and excitement to our organization,” said Brashear Board President Kristi Rogers. “We’re very excited to have her, her leadership background and the care she brings to everything and everyone she touches.”
Matthews said being selected to take the organization forward as it embarks on a new, comprehensive campaign is “amazing,” and a bit surreal because she grew up in Beltzhoover, one of the South Pittsburgh communities that make up the 102-year-old association’s service area.
“This is an amazing opportunity. My kids went to Phillips Elementary and participated in Brashear programming. I actually served on their board for a time, and now I get to lead the charge,” Matthews, a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, told the Courier in an exclusive interview, March 18. “Brashear has a great reputation for doing solid work for the community and I want to continue that and take it to the highest high we can to make all families self-sufficient and provide the resources they need to get there.”
Brashear Association, founded in 1917, provides human and family services to vulnerable populations in Allentown, Arlington, Arlington Heights, Beltzhoover, Bon Air, Carrick, Knoxville, Mt. Oliver (city), Mt. Oliver Borough, South Side Flats, South Side Slopes, and St. Clair. Many of its clients are African American. It is currently located on Sarah Street on the South Side and operates satellite offices in various Hilltop communities.
As part of its recently completed strategic plan, Brashear will shortly begin a comprehensive campaign that includes a capital campaign to fund a new building on Brownsville Road in Mt. Oliver.
Rogers said the move is designed to better serve its clients, many of whom rely on public transportation.
The campaign will also expand programming, particularly its youth services.
“Our main focus is our self-sufficiency programming, but our food bank, energy assistance—all of that will grow,” said Rogers. “But we want to expand our children’s services into the tween and teen years and bridge the gap so we’re not losing the children we’ve worked with after fifth grade.
“It’s an amazing time for Brashear, a renaissance, if you will,” Rogers added. “So I’m excited and I’m thrilled to be back home to be part of it.”
Matthews was also a member of the Courier’s Women of Excellence Class of 2011.
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