Walt Nalducci of Observatory Hill, Inc. accepted an award for the Northside Leadership Conference on April 23 at CCAC’s Legends in Leadership dinner. (Photo/Chris Stalnaker)

Heinz Field’s elegant East Club Lounge played host to the 13th annual Community College of Allegheny County’s Legends in Leadership charity gala on April 23, and two Northside institutions shared the spotlight.

Among the newly-minted “legends” is the Northside Leadership Conference, which was recognized as an “Outstanding Community Program.” The NSLC, the parent organization of both The Northside Chronicle and the Northside Community Development Fund, is the largest and most comprehensive community-based organization in Pittsburgh and represents a host of neighborhood groups.

Another Northsider, Saleem Ghubril, was lauded for his work as an advocate for young adults, education and the greater community. Ghubril is the former head of the Pittsburgh Project and current executive director of the Pittsburgh Promise.

Walt Nalducci of Observatory Hill, Inc., represented the Leadership Conference at the podium, and afterward shared his enthusiasm for the work being done by the organization.

“[The award] represents the recognition for what the NSLC has done over the past couple years. We have a ton of projects, like redeveloping the East Ohio Street business district, redeveloping the Federal North buildings and working with the employment center to create living-wage jobs and connect [people] with Northside neighborhoods.

“Our development fund has exceeded $12 million, which we’re using to give low-interest loans to Northsiders. We have a lot of things going on at once, and it’s a real exciting time to be over here," Nalducci said.

Launched in 2007, the Pittsburgh Promise is a scholarship program designed to provide Pittsburgh-area public school students with the financial means and moral support in pursuing a post-secondary education.

“The Pittsburgh Promise actually makes three promises. Promise number one — for every child who lives in the city of Pittsburgh, and who graduates from a Pittsburgh public school with a 2.5 GPA and 90 percent attendance, we will send you to college on scholarship.

“Promise number two — we will prepare you well for success in college by reforming the urban public school system.

“Promise number three — we will work toward developing our neighborhoods, so that they’re more conducive to learning.

“Kids should be able to focus on algebra and Shakespeare and Monet and Hannibal, rather than be concerned about street violence and drug trafficking,” Ghubril said.

Roughly 320 benefactors, associates, alumni and friends of the school attended the $200-a-plate dinner, which raised money for CCAC’s Educational Foundation.

Rose Ann DiCola, executive director of the CCAC Educational Foundation, acknowledged the great partnership that her school has with the Pittsburgh Promise and expressed delight in the continued success of the Legends in Leadership event.

“We have more Pittsburgh Promise students at CCAC than at any other college or university. We work with them a lot,” DiCola said. “It’s really nice to have all these individuals come out to not only honor the awardees, but raise money for our students.”

The CCAC Educational Foundation also made “legends” of the following:

-Ralph J. Papa, Honorary Chair

-John G. Dziak, Outstanding Faculty/Staff/Administrator

-Be a 6th Grade Mentor, Outstanding Community Program

-Charlene Petrelli, Outstanding Alumna

-Tom and Bonnie VanKirk, Special Recognition for Lifetime Achievement

-Milton and Nancy Duckrey Washington, Outstanding Community Leaders