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This year’s recipients of the Coleman Award for Excellence in Community Service

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The University of Pittsburgh’s Institute of Politics will give Lisa Scales and John Wilds its 2021 Coleman Award for Excellence in Community Service at a Dec. 9 virtual ceremony.

Named after the Institute’s founder, Moe Coleman, the award annually recognizes the contributions of local leaders and their lasting impact on Western Pennsylvania.

“Moe represented the best of Pittsburgh and its citizens,” said Institute of Politics Chair and Chancellor Emeritus Mark Nordenberg. “Just like Moe, this year’s awardees have impacted Pittsburgh’s future with their unselfish commitment to serving the most vulnerable in our communities and creating connections that will guide the success of our region for years to come.”

“Every day, leaders in our community are providing extraordinary, innovative service to support the needs of our region with little public knowledge of their service,” said Samantha Balbier, Institute of Politics director. “Lisa and John have demonstrated time and again that selfless service can move mountains. Their daily values and actions have excelled, creating a better Pittsburgh and a better future.”

About the winners

Lisa Scales is president and CEO of the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.

Prior to the pandemic, 260,000 people in the region did not have access to sufficient food, or food of adequate quality, to meet basic needs. Over the past year and a half, that number has swelled to 340,000, including 96,000 youth. Under Scales’ leadership, nearly 45 million meals were distributed to individuals last year alone.

As her nominator noted, Scales is “consistently on the front line for the food bank, not just as the head of the organization, but in the field at distributions and throughout the food bank's 11-county service area. Lisa’s life is food banking.”

John Wilds is a retired assistant vice chancellor for community relations for the University of Pittsburgh.

During his time at Pitt, Wilds challenged the University to expand its service and partnership with external communities. He was instrumental in forming the Office of PittServes in the Division of Student Affairs as well as the Academically Based Community Engagement workgroup whose legacy is now embedded in the Community Engaged Scholarship Forum. Wilds continues to champion service and community engagement as he enjoys retirement.

Register to join the virtual award ceremony.