Gisele Barreto Fetterman is a community leader, activist, and philanthropist known for her dedication to serving others. Her personal ethos is guided by the belief that community care should always come before politics. In this article, we will explore Gisele’s life and work, including her nonprofit organizations, her women’s co-working space, and her commitment to community care.
The Hollander Project: A Space for Women-Owned Businesses
One of Gisele’s many accomplishments is the Hollander Project, a women’s co-working space in Braddock that she helped found in 2018. The Hollander Project is an incubator for female-owned businesses and a safe space for women to collaborate and support each other. It houses a social-work office, a nonprofit devoted to helping sexual-assault survivors heal, a highly in-demand eyelash extension technician, and a tattoo-removal artist who specializes in helping women get rid of gang tattoos at affordable rates. Gisele takes great pride in the work done at the Hollander Project, which she describes as “very complementary and non-competitive.”
Gisele’s Non-Profit Work
Gisele’s dedication to community care extends beyond the Hollander Project. She is the founder of 412 Food Rescue, a non-profit organization that aims to prevent food waste and fight hunger by rescuing surplus food and distributing it to those in need. The organization has rescued over 15 million pounds of food and has served over 500,000 people in western Pennsylvania. In addition, Gisele helped found the Free Store, a volunteer-run store that provides free clothing and household items to those in need. Gisele’s commitment to community care also led her to create “the People’s Pool,” a public pool that allows kids from all over Allegheny County to enjoy the water and address the startling racial disparity in child drowning rates.
Gisele’s dedication to community care goes beyond the Hollander Project. The organization’s volunteers pick up surplus food from supermarkets, restaurants, and farms and deliver it to food-insecure communities. Gisele has also played a vital role in the Free Store, a volunteer-run organization that provides essentials such as clothes, toys, and household items to people in need. Her family spends so much time at the Free Store that it has become a part of their family lore. Gisele even went into labor with her youngest child there.
The People's Pool
Gisele’s dedication to community care extends to ensuring that children in the community have access to safe and fun spaces. When her ex husband, John Fetterman, was elected as Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor, the family declined to move into the lavish residence that comes with the position. Instead, they dedicated the property for use in veterans programs. Gisele created “The People’s Pool” to address the racial disparity in child drowning rates. Children from all over Allegheny County can now enjoy the water and have fun, thanks to Gisele’s efforts.
Putting Community Care Before Politics
Despite being the wife of a Senate hopeful, Gisele has always put community care before politics. After John Fetterman and now Pennsylvania governor Tom Wolf were elected in 2018, the Fetterman family made headlines for declining to move into the lieutenant governor’s mansion, choosing instead to remain in their own home (a renovated loft in a former car dealership in Braddock) and dedicate the lavish residence for use in veterans programs. Gisele did not find it hard to give up the mansion, as she believed that her kids should not be raised in a mansion. She even felt a pang of regret for missing out on swimming in the mansion’s pool. However, she created “the People’s Pool” to address the racial disparity in child drowning rates and allow kids to enjoy the water.
Gisele Barreto Fetterman is a leader committed to community care. Her dedication to supporting women-owned businesses, fighting food insecurity, and addressing social inequalities has made a significant impact in her community. Gisele’s work serves as an inspiration to us all, showing that small actions can make a big difference. By putting community care before politics, Gisele has shown that compassion and empathy are essential qualities in creating positive change.