Familiar Faces – Your SHUC Board Members
By Ray Baum, Board Member
The Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition and our community are fortunate to have so many people who are dedicated to our community. This is the third of a series introducing you to the Coalition’s stalwart board members.
Marshall Hershberg has been a board member for only a year, but boy did he hit the ground running. He immediately joined both our Commercial Development Committee and Storm Water Task Force, and then co-founded our Bike-Ped Committee. He was a major force in the drafting of our successful PWSA grant request regarding storm water hot spots and related green infrastructure improvements. His Bike-Ped committee has quickly drawn a wide membership of people who want to make safer and more friendly to bikers and pedestrians.
Marshall was able to jump in so quickly and effectively because of his dedication to community and his incredibly rich experiences. When he retired in 2014 Marshall had, among other things, been:
- The grant writer and program developer for Goodwill Industries of the Conemaugh Valley, Inc., landing major grants such as YouthBuild Johnstown (U.S. Department of Labor), and a Brownfields Job Training (EPA), and a Regional Career Education Partnership (PA Department of Labor and Industry).
- Vice President, Home and Community Services, for the Jewish Association on Aging in Pittsburgh
- Special Assistant to the President of Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh staffing the President’s Office and coordinating the work and outreach of the Museums of Art and Natural History, the Andy Warhol Museum, and the Carnegie Science Center.
- A consultant to hospitals, long-term care organizations, and public and private human service agencies.
Marshall holds a Ph.D. in political science and a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Pittsburgh. He and his wife Eleanor have lived in Squirrel Hill since 1966.
Why did Marshall join the Coalition Board?
“It is the best way I can think of to participate in and contribute to the well-being, vibrancy, and improvement of the neighborhood I love so much. Participating in SHUC and its myriad activities and interests has given great meaning and enjoyment to my time in retirement.”
Why do Marshall and Eleanor stay in Squirrel Hill?
In his words: “The convenience the strong cultural, commercial, residential and recreational amenities; Schenley and Frick Parks, as well as our many trails and by-ways. Our proximity, connections, and transit options to Oakland, Shadyside, downtown and all points beyond, make Squirrel Hill one of the most important parts of Pittsburgh and our region.”
Martha ‘Mardi’ Isler defines the term super-volunteer. Whenever there is a tough community problem needing a fresh and deft approach, Mardi is the first we call. Whether it’s education, community development or trees, Mardi is there to lead the charge.
Mardi is a founding board member and president of Allies for Children, Chair of the City of Pittsburgh Shade Tree Commission, a long-time leader of Tree Pittsburgh, Secretary of the Board of Allegheny County Community College, President of the newly re-energized Squirrel Hill Business and Professional Association (also known as Uncover Squirrel Hill) and Chair of the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition’s Gateway Committee, to name just a few.
Mardi’s service to our community has been long, sustained and intense. In 2008, when the city obtained an expert report that hundreds of our trees had to be removed, we formed the SHUC Urban Forest Committee. Mardi lead a cooperative process that created a city ordinance with that saved trees, resulted in the training of dozens of neighborhood volunteer tree tenders, and planted about two hundred new street trees.
In 2009, Mardi lead our Gateway Committee in working with The Design Center, Rothschild Doyno Collaborative, and our elected representatives to develop The Gateway Plan for the revitalization of the public spaces in our Forward-Murray area. The initial results include the new Welcome to Squirrel Hill Sign on Forward, all new decorative street lamps and many new street trees along Murray and a renewed Post Office parklet at Murray and Darlington.
Crucially, the Gateway Committee’s work, along with the efforts of the SHUC committees, has also inspired renewed interest in developing vacant properties in the Forward-Murray area and support from the City of Pittsburgh for these development efforts.
As if that’s not enough, Mardi’s leadership at Uncover Squirrel Hill and her ability to work with many others has been crucial to the success of the ongoing Squirrel Hill Night Market (this year on June 18, August 20 and September 17), and our fabulous Lunar New Year February.
Mardi and her husband Bill have lived in the same house in Squirrel Hill since 1984 and raised their son there. Mardi shops, eats and sleeps Squirrel Hill. If there is a community need, Mardi is there.