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Pittsburgh: Dollar Bank Supports Rising Brothers and Sisters


For the second year in a row, the Dollar Bank Foundation has provided a $10,000 grant to The Rising Brothers and Sisters program, a multi-faceted mentorship effort with Point Park University's Rowland School of Business. The program, founded in 2022, aims to increase representation of successful professionals of color on Point Park's campus and in high schools by providing students with small group support systems.

"The program is currently focused on three areas; college readiness, career readiness and character development,” Mitchel Nickols, adjunct professor and director of the Rising Brothers and Sisters program, said. “It all started with Dean [of the Rowland School of Business] Steve Tanzilli when he wanted to hold a Black speaker series and focus it on males. As we continued to talk, I said we have to do something for Black females too. And why don’t we create a pipeline to high schools?”

Stephen Tanzilli, Dean of the Rowland School of Business, agreed that an expanded program could show students that their dreams are not out of reach. “I’ve always said that if you can’t see, it’s not obtainable,” Tanzilli said. “So that was a big goal for me, to have Nickols reach into these schools and provide the career readiness and the college preparatory skill sets with the hopes that if they could see what was obtainable, then they would have a much greater likelihood of applying.”

The program was originally available at three high schools, Aliquippa Junior/Senior High School, Taylor-Allderdice High School and The Neighborhood Academy. The program expanded to a fourth school, Perry Traditional Academy, in 2023. Today there are over 160 participating high school students and college students at Point Park University.

“Each semester we do specific programming to bring these groups together,” Nickols said. “It’s not just high schoolers we want to connect with, we have rising brothers and sisters at Point Park University who are Black and brown students and can serve in some sort of a mentoring role. They speak, whether in a panel discussion or individually, during these high school visits to campus."

These onsite visits provide students an opportunity to see the obtainable that Tanzilli speaks of and to connect through shared experiences. “When you’re able to bring in people that are much closer in age to them, look like them, act like them, it’s much more impactful,” Tanzilli said. “Many of our students at Point Park are first generation... to be able to say that ‘I’m only two orStudents-working-at-Rising-Brothers-and-Sisters-event.jpg three years separated from where you are and this is how I was able to do this, I got a scholarship, I did XYZ and you can do it too’, is great. We sit back and just let the questions flow and it’s been one of the most impactful sessions of the program so far.”

Beyond its financial grant, Dollar Bank plays an active role in the programming as well. Jason Jones, Vice President of Community Development at Dollar Bank, works with Point Park to provide both college and high school students with financial literacy, a key part of the program’s vision to help students understand personal finance and to prepare for whatever their next professional steps may be.

“The program focuses on Pittsburgh Public Schools and inner-city students, and I came from that, so I understand. I tell them my story and how I became a banker. I share how financial literacy has affected me personally,” Jones said. “I was praised my entire career for being smart, but I couldn’t tell you how to balance a checkbook. It builds their confidence to say, ‘I might not know how to do that in this moment, but neither did he when he was in my shoes.’”

Jones also talks to students about workforce development, shedding light on all the careers available in banking. “We focus on educating them on not only financial literacy, but workforce development portion. Helping them understand that beyond a teller or branch manager, there’s a whole gambit of paths you can take in the banking world” Jones said. “We have Marketing, Legal, IT, Accounting, and entire teams that help a bank run.”

Both Nickols and Jones know how significant representation is and the importance of being a mentor.

“Seeing a Black individual who is successful is important to a lot of them, I’ve heard things like ‘We don’t see people like you,’” Nickols said. “It’s not just my presence, but when Morton [Stanfield, Senior Vice President of Community Development at Dollar Bank] came and spoke to the kids, and Jason has brought several other people. Dollar Bank always comes in a very professional way and is really engaging with the students, and that’s true impact to me. Program participants always look forward to those on campus visits and talk about how excited they are to see and hear from people who also look like them.”

The Dollar Bank Foundation and Dollar Bank are proud to support Point Park’s Rising Brothers and Sisters program as they grow and expand to more schools and as they continue to impact the students in our communities.


About Dollar Bank

Dollar Bank has assets of more than $11.2 billion. Today, Dollar Bank operates more than 90 locations throughout Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia, and Maryland with over 1,400 employees. For more than 168 years, Dollar Bank has grown to become the largest mutual bank in the United States, committed to providing the highest quality of banking services to individuals and businesses. Dedicated to aiding the communities it serves, Dollar Bank supports quality of life initiatives, financial literacy programs, and organizations devoted to helping individuals and families in need. Dollar Bank ( is headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.