Marita was born and raised in Akron, Ohio. She founded Civically Inc. in 2017 to create an umbrella nonprofit organization that has a multi-faceted approach to civic engagement, literacy programming, and community development. In 2019, Civically, Inc. acquired the Hunter Building – the largest commercial building in downtown Wilkinsburg to stabilize an anchor building and catalyze economic development in the Borough.
In January 2014, Marita Garrett was sworn in as a Councilwoman for Wilkinsburg Borough. As a member and Vice-President of Council, Marita was instrumental in seeking and receiving over $2 million in grant revenue for the Borough; additionally, led the charge to increase capacity in Borough departments to increase efficiency in services to residents. Also, at this time then-Councilwoman saw a need for an increase in community engagement and started, “Wilkinsburg Community Conversations'' an initiative to connect and empower residents to work together for neighborhood improvement. From there, she co-founded Free Store Wilkinsburg to assist community members to address emergent needs. In 2017 she was named “Young Democrat of the Year'' from the Allegheny County Democratic Committee and selected to attend the NextCity Vanguard conference held in Newcastle, Australia. Additionally, Ms. Garrett has served on panels at the Brookings Institution and United Nation’s World Urban Forum 9.
In 2017 Ms. Garrett was elected Mayor with over 65% of votes in a 4-way race. As Mayor, she reinstated the Public Safety Forums, a monthly series that highlights updates in the Wilkinsburg Police Department and provides an opportunity for community members to express their safety concerns. During her tenure, she has been largely influential for the renewed interest in Wilkinsburg’s revitalization.
Ms. Garrett has a Bachelor’s in Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh, where she now serves as an adjunct professor; and a Master’s in Psychology from Chatham University, where she has been a panel speaker on several occasions for the Center for Women and Politics. Continuing on promoting women empowerment, Ms. Garrett was the co-host of Shattered Glass Podcast, where stories of extraordinary women shattering the glass ceiling are highlighted. She was featured in Pittsburgh Magazine’s Women & Business.
She has been recognized for her diligence in civic and community engagement by numerous organizations and media outlets. Currently, she serves on the advisory boards for Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Allegheny Regional Asset District (RAD), Phipps Conservatory, among other organizations.
Jay Carter is a Pittsburgh native, AmeriCorps Alumni, environmental activist, former U.S. government official and foreign teacher who lived and taught in Dongguan, China. His passion is beautifying communities, traveling, and helping people improve their lives.
After graduating from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Jay became an environmental and political consultant, working with various government agencies running political campaigns, to managing, and promoting public lands and outdoor programs. Most recently, he has work in the City of Pittsburgh's Department of Parks and Recreation. During his time with the City of Pittsburgh, he hosted the first African American Conservation exhibit honoring local Black Environmentalists who preserved and protected green spaces within their communities.
Over the years, Jay has fought to reform social justice systems, while protecting wildlife habitats. He is affiliated with many civic organizations including, Student Conservation Association, Thomas Merton Center, and Urban League Young Professionals of Greater Pittsburgh. Additionally, he has received the National Centennial Ambassador and Hazelwood Youth Volunteer award, and is a former oped columnist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "Preserving the Power of America's Parks." Jay is excited for this new chapter with Civically Inc and serving our communities in his new role!
Dan Holsinger is the Information Systems Coordinator at Civically. Dan earned his bachelor’s degree in Information Technology – Application and Integration from Penn State University in 2014. He has worked in the IT industry for over 8 years. He has worked in various information technology positions from basic computer support to project management across different business sectors.
Dan was born and raised in the small town of Kingwood, West Virginia and moved to Pittsburgh in 2003. He moved to the Borough of Wilkinsburg in 2012, where he still calls home with his wife and son. Along with spending time with his family, he also volunteers each week with the Free Store Wilkinsburg. He brings his passion of helping others and building a more equitable world.
Dan is excited to use his experience to support the mission of Civically and the community members of Wilkinsburg.