Making Democracy Work

Citizen Education

An informed citizen is an effective citizen.

We make citizenship more effective through citizen education opportunities. We offer:

  • A Community Information Center to help citizens navigate their government and the voting process,
  • Detailed guides to elected officials and the structure of Allegheny County Government, and
  • Forums and discussions on important issues. You can read the report on our discussion meetings on gun safety here.

The League of Women Voters Education Fund conducts voter service and citizen education activities. It is a nonpartisan nonprofit public policy educational organization, which:

  • Builds citizen participation in the democratic process.

  • Studies key community issues at all government levels in an unbiased manner.

  • Enables people to seek positive solutions to public policy issues through education and conflict management.

Donations to the Education Fund, a 501(c)(3)corporation, that supports these projects are fully tax-deductible where allowed by law.

Community Information Center

The League of Women Voters of Greater Pittsburgh (LWVGP) Community Information Center (CIC) in Pittsburgh provides information to citizens about voting, elections, and government.

The CIC can also provide speakers to community groups and information about LWVGP activities such as candidates' forums and public meetings on current issues. The staff can also answer questions about membership in the League.

The telephone, 412-261-4284, is answered Monday through Thursdays from 9 am to 3 pm, year around except two weeks in December, a summer break from mid-July through mid-August when it is answered two days a week. At other hours, leave a message and your call will be returned. Or you may send email to info@pgh.lwv.org or write or visit:

LWVGP Community Information Center
436 Seventh Ave. Suite 350
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15219

Publications

Facts for Citizens bookletFor many years the LWVGP has published Facts for Citizens, a reference guide to Federal, State, County and Pittsburgh City and School District elected officials. This printed guide will continue to be available in the Community Information Center.

In the past, we have maintained a reference collection of basic information about municipalities and school districts in Allegheny County at our Community Information Center office and have published it on our website. Currently local communities and school districts are providing comprehensive information on their municipal and school district web sites. There is no longer a need for the LWVGP to continue this activity. Therefore, starting in January 2015, the LWVGP website has not provided this information. The Allegheny County web site provides a map and listing of all Allegheny County municipalities. Clicking on a municipality in the map brings up a profile of that municipality including a link to the municipality's own web site. Access the map here. There is a link to a list of school districts in Allegheny County with links to their websites here.

If you have been a regular user of this information and miss having the service, we would like to know. Please email the webmaster using the information on our contact page.

Duquesne Light offers full-color maps of the districts represented by federal, state and county officials and their contact information in a publication called Use Your Voice. This information is current as of December 15, 2015.

For many years, the LWGVP published a booklet describing in detail the structure and functions of the Allegheny County government, formerly a County Commission of three members that combined the legislative and executive functions. When a county home rule charter replaced that form of government with a separate County Executive and County Council, the text was extensively revised and offered as a web-only publication. Five years later a number of additional changes to county government were initiated. They were completed in 2008. The online publication Allegheny County Government Organizations, Facilities and Services describes the county government structure and functions as of the end of 2009.

The League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania, our state-level organization, offers several publications of interest to citizens. See a list of these publications.

Forums and Citizen Discussions

From time to time LWVGP presents forums that offer opportunities for citizens to explore important issues. Some recent examples:
    Participants in Gun Safety Forum
    Forum participants discuss gun safety
  • During 2013 and 2014, LWVGP used a modified deliberative democracy process to produce a structured discussion on the topic Gun Safety in a Free Society: An Allegheny County Conversation. This program provided an opportunity for citizens having a variety of perspectives to exchange ideas, hear each other's stories, and attempt to identify common ground. Participants received a background paper that presented facts and discussed various perspectives; they were expected to have read the paper when they arrived at the event. Small groups discussed their perspectives with a trained moderator, developed questions for a panel of experts, and completed a survey. From the comparative survey results and the table discussion notes, LWVGP is working to derive ideas for actions we can take here in Allegheny County that can reduce gun violence while preserving gun owners' rights. You can read the report on these meetings here.

  • In 2012, LWVGP presented The National Debt: What We All Need to Know, a panel discussion with:
    • Paul O'Neill, Former Pittsburgh CEO of Alcoa and Former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury,
    • Alice M. Rivlin, Ph.D., Founding Director of the Congressional Budget Office, former Vice Chair of the Federal Reserve Board and former Director of the Office of Management and Budget, and
    • moderated by Deborah Acklin, President and CEO of WQED Multi-Media.
    The speakers explored the background of this economic issue, where we are today and what we, as citizens, should be aware of for our future. They discussed several questions from the audience.

  • Panel on Immigration
    A panel of experts discusses immigration reform
    In previous years LWVGP has presented forums on a variety of topics including civil liberties, immigration, municipal consolidation and the impacts of gas extraction from Marcellus Shale.