Community Issues

Pittsburgh Region Comes Together For "Big Table" Conversation

2nd annual event brings together citizens, public officials, business leaders and everyone in between to strengthen community.

Some of our best conversations happen around a table over a meal. That's the goal of the second annual "Big Table Pittsburgh" where people across the Pittsburgh region will come together for across-the-table conversations about how to build a better community. The organization Leadership Pittsburgh is coordinating the event.

"By taking the time to talk, listen and learn from each other, we build understanding, spread kindness, and share ways to positively impact the community we create together" said Leadership Pittsburgh Inc. President and CEO, Aradhna Oliphant.

TEDxPittsburgh will once again participate, organizing tables with Buchanan Ingersoll Rooney.

150+ hosts have signed up to host a breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and there's still time to register. There are only three requirements: that anywhere from 8-12 people gather around a table, that they share some food, and that the conversation begin with the initial question:

"What might we do to create a greater sense of belonging for all in our community?"

Hosts have planned meals at different times of day. Menus will range from free lunch being offered at office cafeterias, catered dinners at restaurants, snacks and drinks at community centers and pot lucks for family and neighbors in peoples' homes.

Last year, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald hosted members of the non-profit Grow Pittsburgh.

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto are hosting breakfasts. The University of Pittsburgh Chancellor is hosting student leaders for dinner at his home. True to The Big Table's spirit of inclusiveness, cooperation and collaboration, a number of cool partnerships will happen, including:

  • An evening event where youth leaders from Global Minds will co-facilitate conversations along with Leadership Pittsburgh alumni and community leaders.
  • Chatham University is co-hosting a Big Table with the City of Asylum where readings from two of City of Asylum's newest writers-in-residence and Chatham visiting professors will read from their works.
  • The Jewish Community Center's Center for Loving Kindness is inviting the public to their event at the JCC in Pittsburgh's Squirrel Hill neighborhood to hear stories from immigrants and refugees settledin Pittsburgh.
  • Several communities north of Pittsburgh from the Ben Avon/Avonworth area who have been continuing to meet since the last Big Table Pittsburgh, are once again coming together.

Strategic communication and crisis management company C4CS will once again partner with non-profit Sarah Heinz House to host.

The Big Table has a history of national success, with Chicago, Illinois; Columbus, Ohio and Louisville, Kentucky among cities across the country that have hosted events over the past 5 years.

There is no cost to register to be a host, and registration is open until March 16th. Bank of America and Highmark provided the seed capital to fund the event. Feedback from the "tables" will be collected via surveys and information will be summarized to be shared with the public.

Read and watch more about last year's event here:

How can you start something good?

To register to host or learn more about how to join The Big Table, visit

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