Get to know


Marita Garrett

Founding President & CEO
Adjunct Professor, Graduate School of Public and
International Affairs, Univ. Of Pittsburgh

Public service and civic duty is Marita Garrett’s DNA. She was born into a family that firmly believed in exercising their civic duty and spirit of volunteerism. Her drive and commitment to serving under-resourced communities is palpable.

In 2017, Marita created, Civically, Inc, a social enterprise that focuses on community development by promoting civic and social literacy to instill self-reliance. Initiatives include Free Store Wilkinsburg, Fresh Market, Civically Speaking, as well as initiatives for health literacy and education. 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.  Largely influential for the renewed interested in Wilkinsburg’s revitalization, she was awarded the Governor’s Award for Local Government Excellence for Promoting Community & Economic Revitalization in 2020.

Since moving to Pittsburgh, Marita has been immersed in the voluntary and community sectors, starting her career as an Outreach Coordinator with University of Pittsburgh’s Alzheimer Disease Research Center. During her tenure on Wilkinsburg Borough Council, (2014-2018) Marita was instrumental in the Borough receiving over $2 million in grant revenue and increased capacity in the Borough. Recognizing a need to increase community engagement, she started “Wilkinsburg Community Conversations” to connect and empower residents to work together for neighborhood improvement.

After being elected Mayor in 2017, Marita reinstated the Public Safety Forums to highlight updates in the Wilkinsburg Police Department, which increased connections between the Department and residents. Furthermore, she advocated for increased participation in the Borough’s Boards & Commission, which has seen more residents than ever get involved.

Further achievements include:

      ■ Selected to the inaugural 2023 Civic Renewal Fellowship, American Enterprise Institute

      ■ Most Valuable Professor, Pitt Gymnastics, 2020

      ■ Young Democrat of the Year” 2017 from the Allegheny County Democratic Committee;

      ■  Selected to participate in the NextCity Vanguard conference held in Newcastle, Australia 

Marita has been recognized for her leadership and diligence in civic and community engagement by numerous organizations and media outlets. Currently, she serves on the boards for Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Allegheny Regional Asset District (RAD), Phipps Conservatory, Kelly Strayhorn Theater, among other organizations. Additionally, Ms. Garrett has served on panels at the Brookings Institution and United Nation’s World Urban Forum 9.

In her free time, you can catch Marita at a dog park with her furbabies, catching a show in the Pittsburgh Cultural District, or at Wilkinsburg’s gem BB&Bur ordering a vanilla cold brew.

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