HEARTH Welcomes Marisa C. Williams – Our New CEO!

HEARTH is very excited to welcome Marisa Williams to our team as HEARTH’s next CEO. Marisa’s reputation precedes her. She is well rounded and will bring a fresh new perspective to HEARTH as we move into the future.  She is a person who cares about elevating people in her community to succeed, whether that be clients or staff. She also brings expertise in relationship management, which will be helping HEARTH to navigate new and existing relationships within our community, thus helping us to open new doors for our clients. We are very excited to have her joining us!


Marisa has always been passionate about creating opportunities for those in need, particularly women and children. After working in financial services for 10 years, she joined the YMCA in 2015. During her time at the Y she has held several leadership roles; Executive Director, Regional Executive Director and Associate Vice President. In those roles, she was responsible for cultivating donors, developing board members and engaging staff to create a safe, fun, and engaging environment. In 2018, she was elevated to Associate Vice President, Community Outreach & Impact, expanding her responsibilities to include the Greater Pittsburgh Association footprint. Marisa was charged with creating a new department. The main focus was to bring social services into communities who desperately need them, but do not have brick and mortar facilities. Most recently, Marisa accepted the role of CEO at HEARTH; she will succeed the founding CEO in September 2020. Marisa’s areas of expertise are relationship management, fundraising, and leadership development.

Marisa is extremely involved in the Pittsburgh community; she recognizes her responsibility and is passionate about serving the community where she works, and lives. Marisa is a Pittsburgh Magazine “40 Under 40” alum, and serves on the following boards The Allegheny Regional Asset District, Johnson Institute for Responsible Leadership, and the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership. She also serves as the Vice Chair for the Governor’s
Advisory Commission for African American Affairs.

“All the work we do is connected; we want to build healthy families, who produce amazingly whole and healthy children, regardless of their zip code. Those children will then go on to become the leaders we need for future generations. It’s a cycle.” Says Marisa.  Marisa leads by her actions and is committed to changing her little part of the world for the better. Marisa,  a native of Media, PA, is a proud alum of the University of Pittsburgh. She currently lives in Pittsburgh with her husband Eugene and they are the proud parents to Eugene D. Williams IV.

Drink N Think Trivia Night to benefit HEARTH – TOMORROW – August 27th at 7PM!

On a very special after-school virtual trivia night… IT’S THE 90’s!!
Join your hosts for a special night of trivia to help support HEARTH. An organization dedicated to providing advocacy, resources, and housing to homeless families and individuals who are victims of domestic violence or other trauma.
There will be a 50/50 raffle to help support the organization as well as prizes for the winners of the trivia. For this special night we went with a theme everyone loves. The 90s. We’ll have some special 90’s themed questions.

To watch and play along visit us at http://www.drinknthinktrivia.com/virtual-trivia/ for information on how you can watch and play along.

Thank you to all of our #ONEDAY Donors!

Thank you to all who donated to HEARTH through The Pittsburgh Foundation’s critical needs alert, #ONEDAY!
Thanks to our generous supporters, HEARTH raised over $42,000! This amount will be matched at $0.41 to the dollar! To see our #ONEDAY profile – click here .

The COVID-19 crisis has been difficult for everyone, but it has been especially challenging for single parents. Anna moved to HEARTH last spring and she and her children were thriving. School, work, therapy, they were moving right along in HEARTH’s program… then COVID-19 happened. Thankfully Anna was able to have the support of HEARTH staff to work through her challenges and quickly adapt to the ever changing environment. She juggled being furloughed, helping her children with remote learning, going back to work, finding child care, and figuring out how to make sure she and her children stayed safe. HEARTH and their gracious supporters were able to provide she and her children as well as the other families at HEARTH important supplies, technology for remote learning, and direct support via Zoom to work through all their challenges.


A letter from Judy Eakin, HEARTH’s Retiring CEO

To give in honor of Judy to the Eakin Legacy Fund, please designate that in the comments section on PayPal or by letting us know in the memo line of your check.

A reflection from Judy:

As most of you know, I am retiring from HEARTH on October 2. This has been part of HEARTH’s Strategic plan for over 2 years, so the Board of Directors created a thoughtful process that has involved many people. The agency is in a position of strength and ready for its next CEO.

I started with HEARTH in 1996 (I know many of you can do the math) when I was 21 years old (okay please don’t do the real math!!) Many things drew me to HEARTH– the focus on self-sufficiency, supporting women, helping children succeed by providing stability and safety, the committed Board of Directors, and the passion of the volunteers.

The concept of giving people “a hand up, not a hand out”, also aligned with my beliefs.  Providing services that meets basic needs plus some – food, shelter, clothing, computer access, recreation areas, school supplies, life skills meetings – so that the “Moms” could focus on school and employment created a path for success.

During my tenure with HEARTH, we have overcome many challenges and created additional aspects to enhance the program.  We started with the Benedictine Sisters in their former high school serving 15 families and currently serve 31.  In partnership with Trek Development Group, we built the first affordable housing program in Northern Allegheny County.  We now own our own facility on a 5 acre campus in Northern Allegheny County that has enhanced security to keep families safe who are leaving Domestic Violence situations.

I want to thank everyone who has supported me and HEARTH during the past 24 years. Your support has allowed HEARTH to expand and serve the community in many ways.  My fondest memories include:

  • First Christmas at HEARTH, the community was so generous that I was overwhelmed
  • Children running in from school and right into my office to show me their grades and crafts
  • Meeting Kathy Stewart and asking her to go to lunch and be my friend
  • Sharing graduation with our “Moms”
  • Hearing why our “Moms” decided to come to HEARTH – to make a better life for their children
  • The first Wine & food event at Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild where my family and friends served as most of the volunteers and we met the Dunmyer family from Myrna’s Catering (who participated for over 15 years.)
  • Pictures from the best Photographer ever, Dan Reardon
  • Bill Gatti and John Ginocchi – working with us on two different projects, always with optimism, humor, and support
  • Arlene Grubbs calling me during the Capital Campaign and asking how my day went, based on the number of glasses of wine we should share
  • Completing our $1.8 million dollar campaign in 18 months as opposed to the 3-5 years that is typical
  • Founding of the Young Professionals Board and committee meetings on my front porch
  • Barb Smith and Jeff Wilhelm standing beside me every week, sometimes every day and every hour, as we made our decision to give up government funding – the best bravest boldest Board ever
  • Employees – HEARTH has the best group ever!

The passion I feel has not diminished, but I am ready to move on to a new phase. The extra time in my life will allow me to have more time with my family, have lunch with my Mom, travel more, exercise more, spend more time with the kids in my life,  volunteer, work on my garden, go swimming, take more yoga classes – take more of everything classes, and sleep in!

There are still challenges that HEARTH will continue to address on behalf of our clients especially in the areas of childcare and permanent affordable housing.  For those of you who have asked, if you want to donated in my honor, please send it to the Eakin honorary fund.  The money will be used to address these two issues.

HEARTH has great staff members and board of directors in place.  Everyone has been working hard to create an environment of success for the next CEO.  Won’t it be exciting to see where they will take us!? HEARTH will always be in my heart; this won’t be the last you see of me. 😊


HEARTH’s CEO, Judy Eakin is retiring

HEARTH would like to announce the well deserved retirement of our CEO, Judy Eakin. Judy will be retiring on October 2, 2020. She has been HEARTH’s CEO for 24 of our 25 years.

We want to ensure that our supporters know this was not a spur of the moment decision. Judy has been planning and discussing her retirement with HEARTH’s Board of Directors and HEARTH’s staff members for over 12 months. We have put a very thoughtful and detailed plan into place for the CEO transition.

HEARTH has hired Nonprofit Talent to conduct the search for the new CEO. They are working with a search committee comprised of key HEARTH volunteers, which include members of the Board of Directors, Emeritus Board, and Young Professionals Board.

Nonprofit Talent will be posting the position tomorrow. To view their website, please click here.

HEARTH’s COVID-19 Response/Needs

Hello everyone. We know these past few days have been filled with change and information from many different sources. We want to keep you informed about specific measures that HEARTH is taking to keep our community safe.

HEARTH is currently suspending all volunteer activity through May 11th.

HEARTH has provided clients with sanitation products and delivered quarantine kits to all families living on-site.

HEARTH is suspending all in-kind donations from your home! However, you can send items via our Amazon Wishlist by clicking here – HEARTH’s Amazon Wishlist

Our Target wishlist by clicking here – HEARTH’s Target Wishlist

You can also donate to assist families-we will order what’s needed for you! Contact dbtroy@hearth-bp.org for shipping details.

We need oral or ear thermometers! Places to check would be Target and Walmart delivery.

Thanks to a very generous donation from the Expressions in Harmony Foundation, we are stocked up in our food pantry! We will make a post once we have space to accept food donations again.

New games and craft activities for the kids would also be greatly appreciated. 

Thank you everyone for your support during this time! Stay safe and healthy!

Highmark Walk is now VIRTUAL – Walk for healthy community and for HEARTH!

The Highmark Walk is still happening with one small change… it’s VIRTUAL!

Message from Highmark:

Out of an abundance of caution, and for the protection and safety of our Walk participants and volunteers, the difficult decision has been made to modify all seven 2020 Highmark Walks for a Healthy Community to an online only fundraiser and virtual walk for this year’s campaign.”


HEARTH’s Message to our Supporters:

HEARTH encourages you to walk for a healthy community from the comfort of your own neighborhoods while practicing safe social distances.  Help us spread awareness by taking photos or a video of you walking and post it on our Facebook event page.

*Please remember to tag us in photos of your virtual walk using @hearthpgh, #hearthpgh, #highmarkwalkhearth, #highmarkwalk


Thank you Team Captains! 

We just want to take a moment to recognize our amazing team captains!

Anne Mlecko

Joan Eichner

Jessica Merolillo

Meghan McLachlan

Jamie Kuhn

Tracy Bielski

Soo Yi

Mia Siclari-  HEARTH’s Young Professionals Board

Jessica Monahan

Morgan Ceschini

Harriet Riley


HEARTH’s 25th Anniversary Rescheduled for Thursday, October 29, 2020

Due to COVID-19 and for the safety of our guests, staff, and volunteers, HEARTH and our Host Committee have decided to
re-schedule the 25th Anniversary Event for

Thursday, October 29, 2020. 

*The event will still be held at the Tower at PNC Plaza, more details to follow.

Please Click Here with any questions you might have

The Second Pillar of HEARTH

As many of you are aware, HEARTH is celebrating our 25th anniversary serving the community! As we looked back on the organizations history and looked to the future, we realized we needed a clear way to explain how we serve families. We have developed the Four Pillars of HEARTH. This is an easy way for our supporters to explain to others what we do!

This year we will take the time to delve into each pillar. Our goal is to present you with quarterly information on each of these topics. This will help us to reminisce on our past and look to our future.

The second pillar of HEARTH  is, supportive services!
What does that mean?

HEARTH’s transitional housing model provides on-site services through a facility-based program, which means that mom can focus on her education, parenting, and life skills training while she and her children work to overcome their trauma. During the next three months we will highlight many of these services and the volunteers and staff who maintain them!

*Each Quarter we will delve deeper into each pillar, highlighting how that topic pertains to the families at HEARTH. The first quarter looked at housing. The next two quarters will be economic self-sufficiency, followed by relationships.

Hops for HEARTH Silent Auction is now CLOSED!

Thank you to everyone that bid during our silent auction! We are so grateful for your support! Thank you to all of our amazing auction donors! 

We will notify you if you won a silent auction package via text. We will notify you when you can come to HEARTH to pick-up your items, this date will be determined as COVID-19 information is updated. If there are time sensitive materials such as tickets in your package, those will be mailed to you right away. If you have any questions, please contact Morgan at mlceschini@hearth-bp.org

You can still donate at our bidpal page to help HEARTH!