What is explore sewickley?

The short answer: We’re a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated
to helping the Village of Sewickley not just survive, but thrive.


Our Story

In 2010, Village Green Partners was formed to focus on the revitalization of the business district in Sewickley.  In 2011 Village Green Partners obtained non-profit status and was awarded our first contract to work with Sewickley Borough Council.  Village Green Partners, now called Explore Sewickley, focuses on filling vacant storefronts, promoting the commercial business district and creating community events. Explore Sewickley has evolved over the past six years and now includes a full-time paid employee, multiple committees and an active Board of Directors.  We continue to work in collaboration with the Borough of Sewickley and are greatful for their continued support having awarded us a sixth contract for 2016.

We are here to promote the amazing community that is Sewickley. We support Sewickley’s independent businesses and love to plan the many fun events you’ve come to love, too, like Light Up Night and the holiday season, the Soup Crawl, the Chocolate Walk, Sewickley Unleashed and more.

Explore Sewickley was awarded designation in April 2016 as a Main Street Organization by the Pennsylvania Downtown Center. This program utilizes the Four Point Approach, which you can learn more about by clicking here. Designation as a Main Street program will help us continue to address the issues of the community in a comprehensive manner and ensure sustainability of our organization.  We are now working toward accredidation by the National Main Street Organization.  We hope to have that in time for the National Main Street Conference which will be held in Pittsburgh, May 1-3, 2017.  The benefits of becoming nationally accredited are many.  Think of it as a mark of distinction recognizing that Sewickley is part of a national movement with a proven track record for celebrating community character, preserving local history and generating impressive economic returns.  

Board & Employees

Jennifer Markus is the co-founder of the company and President of the Explore Sewickley Board of Directors whose work as a realtor at Howard Hanna in Sewickley helps the business development efforts of Explore Sewickley. Previously the Director of Operations of Kforce Professional Staffing, Jen honed her team building, communications and event planning skills.

Brendan Kenny is Vice President & Treasurer of the Explore Sewickley Board of Directors. Brendan is a Partner with Altair Management Partners, Inc. in Wexford, PA, which provides alternative investment based wealth management services.

Brent Gephart is Secretary of the Explore Sewickley Board of Directors. Brent is a full time real estate agent for Howard Hanna in Sewickley, a Managing Partner in Sunrise Rock Development Company, and President and Managing Partner at Tropical Breeze Resort and Spa.

Michael Kennedy is Director of the Explore Sewickley Board of Directors. Michael is a buyer for Dick’s Sporting Goods, merchandising Football, Basketball and Soccer. He is also Co-Founder and Director of Treasury for EnvisionEight, LLC, an investment group with a large focus on philanthropic efforts.

Jenn Fossee is a Director of the Explore Sewickley Board of Directors. Jenn is the newest member of the Board, joining the summer of 2014. She grew up in the area and brings 16 years of sales and marketing experience as well as her enthusiasm for making Sewickley a vibrant regional destination.

Alex Lancianese, Marketing Director, is the first and only paid employee of Explore Sewickley. Prior to her work at the nonprofit, Alex worked as marketing coordinator for a graphic design firm in Pittsburgh. In 2015, Alex was named one of WHIRL Magazine’s “13 Under 30 in Pittsburgh.”