Regional Economic Development

Improving the Quality of Life For Residents, Workers, and Visitors

Omicelo Cares, Inc.:

Building the Capacity of Small Businesses

Omicelo Cares, Inc.:

Building the Capacity of Small Businesses

Omicelo Cares was founded by Joshua Pollard, a native of Braddock, Pennsylvania, to address the affordable housing crisis and the poor health outcomes within specific zip codes through “demand side” economics—increasing incomes and wealth, rather than building more public housing and hospital emergency rooms. The independent nonprofit was spun off from Mr. Pollard’s for-profit real estate firm, Omicelo.

Since 2017, Omicelo Cares has partnered with Foundation grantee Forward Cities to create a new community accelerator to support minority entrepreneurs in Pittsburgh. At the same time, Omicelo Cares has been working with Andrew Butcher, adjunct faculty at Carnegie Mellon University, and senior leaders from the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) to research the potential of repurposing an old post office at 566 Brushton Avenue in Homewood to serve as the physical hub to deliver educational and entrepreneurship programs to the community.

As part of the project, Omicelo Cares will work with Nationwide—an entity that owns more than 23,000 of the 34,000 post office facilities across the country, including 1,600 that are suspended or discontinued—to purchase the post office at 566 Brushton Avenue. In partnership with Andrew Butcher and the USPS, Omicelo Cares will explore the best way to restore the facility to a community asset, a process the USPS seeks to replicate nationally.

A Foundation grant of $600,000 will help the nonprofit purchase the post office in Homewood and refurbish it to serve as the home of Omicelo Cares 7 Pillars Business Accelerator, which will provide “last mile” capacity building to small businesses owned or operated in low- to moderate-income neighborhoods throughout the region, including Homewood. Omicelo has beta tested this program for three such businesses, one of which has since gone on to secure Series A funding, mostly from Pittsburgh investors. The Foundation’s support also will allow the organization to hire three relationship managers experienced in helping companies increase their revenue by partnering with corporations, colleges, and hospitals.