Elaine Effort


Elaine Effort is a longtime news reporter, producer and host of Pittsburgh Profiles for the former KQV All News radio station. She's excited about joining 90.5 WESA as a contributing reporter.



A storefront on Penn Avenue in Pittsburgh’s Garfield neighborhood is home to BOOM Concepts, a workspace and art gallery founded by online magazine publisher Thomas Agnew and his co-founder Darrell Kinsel.

Steven Evans
Elaine Effort / 90.5 WESA

The Gateway Medical Society is an association of doctors, nurses and non-medical professionals committed to eliminating health disparities among people of color. At an event later this week, the organization will offer free health screenings and counseling.

Greg Spencer
Elaine Effort / 90.5 WESA



Pittsburgh businessman Greg Spencer, of Oakland, says he may be nearing retirement from Randall Industries, the chemical company he owns. But he says he has no plans to stop mentoring the young people who seek out his guidance and advice.

James Rounds
Elaine Effort / 90.5 WESA



People who need fitness training and the most help developing healthy habits are often the ones least likely to seek out assistance.


That's according to Pittsburgh fitness trainer James Rounds. In addition to operating a private gym, Rounds maintains community-based fitness programs for those who need them most.

Elaine Effort / 90.5 WESA



Following a personal experience with the challenges of seeking expert medical care for her son, Staci Flint of Garfield created Kyle's Hope. The organization advocates for other families and helps them secure quality care for their loved ones.


Joyce Meggerson-Moore, of Stanton Heights, has led New Horizon Theater for more than two decades as chair of its Board of Directors, and, over the years, she has filled several other roles with the organization, such as company cook and chauffeur.

Gene J. Puskar / AP



While building trails in Mt. Washington’s Emerald View Park several years ago, Nathaniel Broadus noticed some of his fellow African-American colleagues working in the park, but rarely using and enjoying its scenic trails.


The realization led him to organize monthly “Black-Packing Nature Excursions.”


Elaine Effort / 90.5 WESA



Lateresa Blackwell of Pittsburgh’s Marshall-Shadeland neighborhood is a university administrator by day. She also is the proprietor, along with her husband, of the Café on the Corner where, by night and on weekends, she runs a no-charge workforce development program for teens, focusing on hospitality and business.

Jamie Upshaw
Dayna Delgado / Courtesy Jamie Upshaw

Jamie Upshaw of Hazelwood says it was hard to get a proper autism diagnosis for her youngest son. She says it was even more difficult to find the proper resources her family needed when the diagnosis was ultimately made. Upshaw has since started her own support group, called Autism Urban Connections.

Courtesy Jason Rivers / AR3 Foundation



It's been more than a decade since a Stanton Heights man—along with his family—created the AR3 Celebration of Life Foundation to honor the brother he lost to gun violence. AR3 organizes basketball tournaments and other youth activities to honor the memory of Anthony Rivers, who was murdered in 2008.


Elaine Effort / 90.5 WESA


Nearly a decade ago, Keysha Gomez and her husband opened the doors of their home to a few local kids in their neighborhood. What started as a somewhat informal after-school program for area youth has since expanded in both size and scope, from a solely youth-oriented focus to one that offers intergenerational enrichment.

Nikkia Ingram
Elaine Effort / 90.5 WESA


Nikkia Ingram’s responsibilities at Pittsburgh Brashear High School have outgrown her job title of school security officer. That's because what began as informal mentoring sessions during lunch breaks and weekends has grown to include the creation of a local nonprofit called Cultivating Resilient Youth.

Elaine Effort / 90.5 WESA


Homewood fiber artist Tina Williams Brewer recently received the 2018 Pennsylvania Governor’s Award for Artist of the Year. Brewer spoke with 90.5 WESA’s Elaine Effort for our series 90.5 WESA Celebrates: 90 Neighborhoods, 90 Good Stories about the quilting technique Brewer has shared for decades with seniors, students, and other artists.


Below are excerpts of their discussion.


Their conversation has been edited for length and clarity.


Elaine Effort / 90.5 WESA



Nearly 300 boys and girls are enrolled in the Northside Youth Athletic Association's football teams and cheering squads.

Vernard Alexander
Elaine Effort / 90.5 WESA

Businessman Vernard Alexander of Homewood is known in his neighborhood as the "Connecting King,” because he uses online platforms to share information about jobs, housing and funding sources to help others in his community.

Minor Spencer
Elaine Effort / 90.5 WESA

Sheraden resident Terri Minor Spencer started West End P.O.W.E.R. (Providing Opportunities with Effective Resources) three years ago. The organization aims to redefine and rebuild community in Pittsburgh's West End through the facilitation of multiple neighborhood support initiatives. 

Minor Spencer spoke about P.O.W.E.R.'s origins with 90.5 WESA's Elaine Effort, as well as where she sees the organization moving forward.

Elaine Effort / 90.5 WESA



North Side Pittsburgh Chef Claudy Pierre is focused on teaching community members to prepare fresh food that is both nutritious and affordable. In fact, that’s the mission of the community program he has run the past four years called E.A.T., which stands for Empowerment, Awareness and Training.

Elaine Effort / 90.5 WESA

Three years ago, a group of volunteers in Pittsburgh’s Larimer neighborhood decided to do something about an empty, overgrown lot that had become an eyesore in their community. Where that vacant lot once was now sits the African Healing Garden, which serves both as a tool education and relaxation for Larimer residents.  

The group of volunteers behind the Healing Garden was led by longtime community organizer Betty Lane.

Elaine Effort / 90.5 WESA

In an effort to eliminate barriers to accessing mental health care, West End social worker Julius Boatwright engages people in street conversations about mental health wellness in the communities in and around Pittsburgh.  Boatwright is the founder of the Pittsburgh nonprofit Steel Smiling, a mental health resource provider.

Below are excerpts from his conversation with 90.5 WESA’s Elaine Effort for our series 90.5 WESA Celebrates: 90 Neighborhoods, 90 Good Stories.

Elaine Effort / 90.5 WESA

Army veteran Michael Flournoy has made helping other veterans his life's mission. Even though Flournoy retired from his job as a therapist for the Pittsburgh Veterans Affairs hospital a few years ago, the 80-year-old resident of Pittsburgh's Chartiers City neighborhood tells 90.5 WESA's Elaine Effort that does not mean his work with veterans has ended. 

Their conversation has been edited for length and clarity. 

ELAINE EFFORT: What made working with veterans so meaningful for you?

Emmai Alaquiva
Elaine Effort / 90.5 WESA

Emmai Alaquiva is a Pittsburgh-based Emmy Award-winning filmmaker and youth mentor who was recently appointed by Gov. Tom Wolf to the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. 90.5 WESA contributor Elaine Effort recently spoke with Alaquiva about Hip Hop on L.O.C.K, an arts education program he created more than a decade ago.

Their conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

ELAINE EFFORT: Why did you find it important to give back and to do Hip Hop on L.O.C.K.?

andre samuel
Elaine Effort / 90.5 WESA

One of the few community bio-medical labs in the nation is located in Pittsburgh's Hill District. 

Elaine Effort / 90.5 WESA

At its peak, 14,000 residents lived in the Larimer neighborhood of Pittsburgh. According to the 2010 census, the neighborhood is down to just 1,700 people. 

Elaine Effort / 90.5 WESA

 Around six months ago, during a West End community meeting hosted by Black Women for Positive Change, Pittsburgh chapter president Diane Powell heard a frustration she knew how to tackle. 

Elaine Effort / 90.5 WESA

Last year, local journalist Ervin Dyer created American Heroes: The Homewood Project, in an effort to bring positive attention to African-American men doing good work in their neighborhood.

Dyer spoke with 90.5 WESA contributor Elaine Effort about the project and how he hopes to move it forward.

Their conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

ELAINE EFFORT: What is the Homewood Heroes project?