Why I Activate for PUMP: Ellen Romagni

PUMP Author Advocacy, Early Childhood Education, Voting Rights

Ellen Romagni joined the PUMP Board of Directors in September as an honorary member as part of Leadership Pittsburgh’s Leadership Development Initiative (LDI). LDI provides opportunities for recent LDI “graduates” to participate in their Leadership On Board program to learn about and experience board service with local nonprofits.

Like so many Pittsburghers, Ellen’s first knowledge of PUMP came from seeing colorful PSL T-shirts around town. She initially learned more about PUMP’s signature initiatives, like 40 Under 40, but it was just recently she learned the full breadth of PUMP’s work.

This holiday season, as a peer fundraiser, Ellen has been asking her friends and family to donate to Activate for PUMP in order to support PUMP’s grassroots advocacy work. She is incredibly passionate about two of PUMP’s advocacy initiatives repealing closed primaries and early childhood education and care.

Voting Rights

According to the Pennsylvania Department of State, approximately 1.1 million voters are registered as Independents. This is the fastest-growing segment of voters in the Commonwealth. However, due to Pennsylvania’s system of closed primaries, these voters are prevented from participating in primary elections.

“I have a number of friends and family members who would like to register as Independents, but I have explained to them how critical primaries are, especially in local elections. So I was able to convince them to choose a party so that they could participate. When you look at the demographics of who’s voting and in what districts, especially in local elections, five votes really can actually make a difference,” Ellen explained.

Early Childhood Education + Care

Additionally, as a new mom to a 16th-month-old son, she has first-hand experience with the difficulty of finding quality, reliable childcare.

“I went back to work in October, and at the time, no daycare was accepting infants at all. I knew there were daycare shortages and they got worse during the pandemic. I’m very lucky because my husband was able to be flexible with his work schedule and we were able to hire someone to help. Having to cobble together childcare is so complicated. Start Strong PA and Pre-K for PA are critical initiatives so that reliable, affordable childcare is available for everyone.”

Activate for PUMP

As Ellen fundraises for Activate for PUMP, she has been telling her friends and family what she knows—that PUMP’s impact goes beyond the fun of PSL games.

“PSL provides a lot of opportunities for young people and people of different backgrounds to meet new friends and connect to their community. PUMP also serves as a critical linchpin in the region, in terms of the advocacy that they do. It’s been a wonderful experience to be a part of an organization with so many passionate people looking to make an impact in Pittsburgh.”

Join Ellen and Activate for PUMP by donating today. Your gift, no matter the size, will ensure that PUMP continues to create a Pittsburgh for ALL.