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Neighborhood Allies


429 Fourth Avenue, Suite 1900
Pittsburgh, PA 15219






Our Impact On the Ground

Our unique investment approach supports innovative, resident-driven, comprehensive development and revitalization strategies and partnerships. Take a look at the impact our investments are having on the ground across Pittsburgh.

$50,000 FOCUS Pittsburgh: Trauma-Informed Community Development

2228 Centre Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

PROJECT: Trauma-Informed Community Development Planning and Pilotphoto(12)

PROGRAM: Spring 2015 Catalytic Grants


To address the effects of trauma, FOCUS Pittsburgh and its partners intend to launch a Trauma-Informed Community Development Strategy. This comprehensive pilot initiative is being developed by combining, layering-on and adapting existing, proven studies and models that address individual program areas and issues (trauma, behavioral health, psychology, community organizing and engagement, etc.) to address the over-arching issue of community-based trauma and the direct and indirect effects it has not only on individual residents, but the community as a whole. The goal of this initiative is to establish and promote healthy, healing micro-communities in the Hill District. FOCUS Pittsburgh will build an Advisory Board consisting of a broad network of partners and experts that will help guide efforts to achieve positive outcomes in support of the implementation of a Trauma-Informed Community Development Initiative, led by FOCUS Pittsburgh in the Hill District. They will also launch the Well-being, Relational, Stability and Competency (W.R.S.C) Index Tool which will use an algorithm to determine a person’s overall well-being, while at the same time indicating what areas of his or her life might need serious intervention to improve overall health.


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$75,000 Made Right Here: Larimer Youth Maker Training

TechShop, Bakery Square Boulevard, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

PROJECT: Larimer Youth-Maker Training Pilotimage007

PROGRAM: Spring 2015 Catalytic Grants

GRANTEE: Made Right Here/Catalyst Connection

Made Right Here will implement a year-long youth program for 10-15 Larimer youth, training them on cutting-edge technologies and the tools of the future utilizing the space, equipment, and capacity of TechShop in Larimer. Through the 2015-2016 school year, the youth will be provided with a one year “Leveling Up” program where they will begin the Maker Professional Training Program with the goal of entering the job market upon completion OR working in the manufacturing/making field during their next educational step.

During the school year, youth will be trained on how to use a range of digital tools and equipment while learning relevant production knowledge. Students will come to the Maker Space at TechShop for no fewer than 24 formal workshops, classes, and group sessions (12 during fall semester, 12 during spring semester). Over winter break, youth will complete a group project to hone their technical skills. They will also be expected to complete individual and group projects throughout the year. The year-long training will culminate with a structured program during the summer of 2016 where students will work closely with a local artist/maker to complete a Larimer-based community maker project that will be part of the neighborhood for years to come (e.g. a sign for Larimer, a bench for a public park, artful stormwater design, or another community project that fits into the plans for Larimer redevelopment). Made Right Here will work closely with the neighborhood to determine a project that will be most impactful and fit best into the neighborhood vision and plan.

2016-02-01 20.04.59 DSCN1212 2016-02-01 20.29.51 2016-02-01 20.03.27 2016-02-01 20.01.59 2016-02-01 19.59.462016-02-01 19.45.29 2016-02-01 19.53.35

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$65,000 Good All Over Wilkinsburg

Penn Avenue, Wilkinsburg, PA, United States

PROJECT: Good All Over WilkinsburgIMG_5564

PROGRAM: Spring 2015 Catalytic Grants

GRANTEE: Wilkinsburg Community Development Corporation (WCDC)

The Borough of Wilkinsburg was once a prosperous community with a thriving business district. In 1950, Wilkinsburg reached its peak population of 31,500 residents. Today, that number has dwindled to less than 16,000. More than 23% of these residents live below the poverty level, which is 10% more than the Pennsylvania state average. As the population has fallen, Wilkinsburg’s vacancy rate has increased more dramatically than most municipalities. More than 29% of the buildings in the business district are vacant. Many are severely dilapidated, posing a health and safety risk. Despite the high commercial availability on Penn Avenue, there is a lack of code-compliant space available for move-in. This lack of space limits the opportunity for new commercial businesses in Wilkinsburg, and deprives residents of access to a broader range of goods and services. This project has four components:

  1. Completing and implementing a Market Analysis: The analysis will be conducted and completed to gather data for marketing materials including the Business Resource Tool-Kit (#4), show the leakage in specific markets and highlight opportunities for growth and study economic trends and conditions, which will inform the vision and action plans.
  2. Growing the Business Improvement Image Fund: Currently, the Business Image Improvement Fund can only help a maximum of three business owners. By growing the fund, which includes a small match component, more business owners will be encouraged to invest in marketing. The goal is to benefit at least six additional businesses with an average project cost of $1,600 per business.
  3. Developing Marketing and Branding Videos: Videos are designed to: 1) position and introduce viewers to an up and coming community, 2)  provide a positive alternative to the negative perception of the business district and overall community and 3) highlight community assets, including local businesses, to bring potential customers, shoppers, and visitors to Wilkinsburg.
  4. Creating a Business Resource Tool-kit: With funding, this will evolve from concept creation to an actual project that can be used in marketing local businesses and will include tools to guide current businesses toward all of the resources available, to welcome and orient new businesses to the community, and to attract businesses to locate in the community.
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$75,000 Hosanna House, Inc.: Bring It To Light

Hosanna House, Inc., Wallace Avenue, Wilkinsburg, PA, United States

PROJECT: Bring It To LightIMG_5417

PROGRAM: Spring 2015 Catalytic Grants

GRANTEE: Hosanna House, Inc.

Hosanna House will implement a placemaking project by completing beautification and infrastructure improvements (sidewalks, greenery, gardens, treescapes, benches, public signs, HHI signs) to improve the image of the area and connect Penn Avenue to the Hosanna House front porch, providing a sense of safety, security, and place for the community. Local youth will play a strategic role in the process, building and maintaining the garden/greenspace, and the Trade Institute of Pittsburgh will provide technical assistance and labor for the construction portion of the project. Bring It To Light will be the spark that begins to attract investors, developers, and new business and will connect business patrons and residents on Penn Avenue with the valuable resources provided at Hosanna House. The process will engage community residents and business owners and implement part of the community’s redevelopment plan, targeting their efforts with Wilkinsburg Community Development Corporation’s “Good All Over Wilkinsburg” Small Business Support & Investment project that will support established Wilkinsburg businesses and attract new business to Penn Avenue.

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$75,000 Operation Better Block: Homewood Cluster 4 Implementation

Hamilton Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

PROJECT: Homewood Cluster 4 ImplementationCluster 4 OBB

PROGRAM: Spring 2015 Catalytic Grants

GRANTEE: Operation Better Block (OBB)

OBB has prioritized neighborhood revitalization though homeowner stabilization and blight remediation as keys to Homewood’s renaissance and created the Cluster Plan to guide that change in the interest of Homewood’s residents. The Cluster Planning process created a detailed land-use vision for Homewood’s future based on the needs and desires of existing, present-day community stakeholders. The main tenets of this process are 1) relationship building with the residents and property owners, 2) giving those who want to stay in the neighborhood tools to be able to do so though residents services, 3) after assessing each parcel’s status though on-the-ground data collection, 4) working with each neighborhood “cluster” to determine future uses for vacant parcels and ultimately, 5) creating a vision for the area.

OBB will build upon work that has already happened in cluster area four and implement the resident-driven vision and the broader cluster four vision by continuing blight removal in conjunction with placemaking to truly make an impact in one of the most catalytic parts of Homewood. Cluster area four is located along the East Busway, bordered by North Homewood Avenue, Hamilton Avenue and North Braddock Avenue. The two main facets of this approach will utilize homeowner stabilization and placemaking.

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$75,000 Community Empowerment Association: Strategic Training Employment Program (STEP)

Kelly Street, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

PROJECT: Strategic Training Employment Program (STEP)

PROGRAM: Spring 2015 Catalytic Grants

GRANTEE: Community Empowerment Association (CEA)

STEP is a workforce development resource to lets create jobsenhance the ability of local public and private developers, businesses, and organizations to recruit and retain an easily accessed, diverse, skilled, labor-ready workforce in the emerging industry sectors of the Pittsburgh region, and to better promote achievement by minorities in securing economic independence and self-sufficiency. STEP provides:

  1. Construction industry training as well as supplemental life/occupational skills training to local community residents seeking to enhance skill-sets and/or obtain entry-level employment in the construction trades industry
  2. Assistance to local public and private developers, general contractors, businesses and organizations needing to recruit and retain qualified community residents while fulfilling MWDBE, as well as HUD Section 3 participant goals and requirements on neighborhood development projects.

In addition to classroom training, practical field work experience gives the trainees hands-on training on an actual construction site and provides them the opportunity to demonstrate their capabilities based on what they have learned while in the program. This also gives potential employers the opportunity to preview the trainees’ abilities and performance while rebuilding disenfranchised communities and revitalizing neighborhoods.

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Centre Avenue Corridor Promotions and Re-brand

1900 Centre Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

PROJECT: Centre Avenue Corridor PromotionsDSCN0446

PROGRAM: 2015 Small & Simple Grants

GRANTEE: Hill House Association

Local leaders are collaborating on an initiative to create a committee to re-brand the Centre Avenue corridor in the Hill District. The new Centre Heldman Plaza has opened possibilities for increased visibility and commerce on Centre Avenue. The new Shop ‘n Save and adjacent retailers offer the opportunity to launch a re-branding of the area to create a firmer connection to downtown, attract consumers and build a bustling, welcoming andpositive neighborhood. In addition, the new Thelma Lovette YMCA, located on Centre Avenue, the new Passport Academy Charter School located in the Kaufmann Center on Centre Avenue and the Carnegie Library on Centre Avenue, opened in 2008, and all provide catalysts for increased neighborhood usage.

As part of this project, key individuals will be invited, representing a variety of organizations to participate in a committee for the planning and implementation of the rebranding. Expectations and roles will be developed and offered to selected individuals as befitting the project for the most positive outcome. Additionally, foundations, healthcare organizations, universities, entrepreneurs, developers, civic and social organizations and corporations will be approached for participation within the committee.

Outcomes of the project will be measured against the specific objectives set by the committee. Each objective will be deliberated and assigned a control, such as a budget or timeframe and a measurement will be established. Reviews and acknowledgement of the outcomes based on the measurements will be explored by committee members on a quarterly basis, with a dashboard established for committee updates. An annual dashboard will be prepared to track the objectives on a yearly basis.

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$65,000 Pittsburgh Works: Greater Beltzhoover Capacity Building

Beltzhoover, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

PROJECT: Greater Beltzhoover Capacity Building

PROGRAM: 2014 Catalytic Grants

GRANTEE: Hilltop Alliance (fiscal agent for Pittsburgh Works)

The Beltzhoover Capacity Building IMG_3642Program will provide a collaborative structure for the leadership of Beltzhoover, Knoxville, and Allentown’s community-based organizations. Over twelve months, Ron Porter will assist the recently-formed Beltzhoover Unified Front (BUF) with: 1) leadership development and education around comprehensive community planning and development; and 2) establishment of rules/procedures to build the capacity of the Greater Beltzhoover Partnership (The Partnership). The goal of The Partnership is to establish a platform for the neighborhood organizations of Beltzhoover, Knoxville, and Allentown to join together to advance projects and services that meet residents’ needs and improvethe community, as well as to ensure the inclusion of existing residents as the neighborhoods begin to redevelop. The Partnership will be developed as a companion piece to the efforts of the Hilltop Alliance and will facilitate the planning and advocacy for equitable and sustainable development activities within the Beltzhoover neighborhood and the areas of Allentown and Knoxville that are in proximity of the Warrington and Beltzhoover Avenue corridors, while partnering with its neighbors in the South Pittsburgh communities to promote regional development activities.

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$60,000 CARE Ownership: Larimer Landlord Training Pilot

Larimer, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

PROJECT: Larmier Landlord Training Pilot Program

PROGRAM: 2014 Catalytic Grants


CARE Ownership’s Landlord Training Program will train existing neighbors to be owner-occupants of multi-unit, formerly blighted property inIMG_3413 Larimer. This innovative program provides wealth-building opportunities for low-income and indigenous residents as their neighborhood revitalizes, creates affordable housing, and contributes to the removal of blight. In partnership with ELDI and Circles Greater Pittsburgh (CGP), CARE Ownership will implement this program in Larimer. The program provides a structure, financial mechanism, and supportive training for the low-income resident/worker to gain access to the resources necessary to invest in his/her future, obtaining an
additional income stream from rental units, while building long-term equity in real estate.

This proposal includes a six-building implementation strategy in Larimer. CARE will be the model developer and primary implementation team for the training program. They will also be responsible for the management of the renovated properties designated to be owned by the trainees after graduating from the program. ELDI is the property resource management expert and will provide the buildings that will be used, among other experience and resources. Other “KEEL” partner organizations (Kingsley, ELDI, East Liberty Housing, Inc. and LCG) will provide key community connections and a deep knowledge of the community plan. Rebuilding Together Pittsburgh will provide hands-on training and practice opportunities for repair and maintenance skillsets.IMG_5123

As part of this proposal, six building owners, formerly of generationally poor backgrounds, will graduate from this program, equipping them with the experience, knowledge, and connections to achieve the following goals:

  • Obtain a mortgage
  • Confidently own and manage a building where they live alongside their tenants
  • Provide a model of hopefulness for other community residents
  • Grow their personal financial stability and decrease their families’ dependence on subsidies and social services
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$60,000 Center That Cares: The Bridge Builder/Tech Central

Jeron X. Grayson Community Center, Enoch Street, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

PROJECT: The Bridge Builder: Tech Central

PROGRAM: 2014 Catalytic Grants

GRANTEE: The Center That Cares

A “digital divide” refers to IMG_2939the social and economic inequity caused by limited access to, use of, or knowledge of information and communication technologies of persons in a given population. The Tech Central program at the new Jeron X. Grayson Community Center (JXGCC) will be a place where students have an opportunity, with guided staff support, to decrease the digital divide and opportunity gap by implementing programs/activities and connecting the most vulnerable students to resources within the region and beyond.At the community center, which houses the C.A.R.E.S. programming, students and families will meet with instructors, mentors and other students to share information and resources and receive tutoring and homework help through high-technology platforms. Through the Virtual Mentoring and Lecture Series, students will be linked with mentors, examples of success, and newsmakers, such as executives, government officials, and other leaders of influence, who can connect virtually with the students.

Tech Central is the umbrella under which students will be connected to technical equipment, online resources, and collaborating partners to achieve the following goals:

  • Reach 10 community leaders (neighborhood and city)
  • Develop cross-community relationship with age appropriate peers
  • Create a volunteer or community service program within 15219
  • Reach 10 leaders/mentors/luminaries in other U.S. cities
  • Create 10 global exchange experiences
  • Reach 50 students
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$68,000 Larimer Consensus Group: Capacity Building

Kingsley Association, Frankstown Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

PROJECT: Larimer Consensus Group Capacity Building

PROGRAM: 2014 Catalytic GrantsLCG_wereallin1

GRANTEE: Larimer Consensus Group

Larimer Consensus Group (LCG) is seeking support to fund a full-time, senior staff person who will provide the necessary organizational capacity to allow them to fulfill the immediate obligations under the Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grant (CNIG) plan and position the LCG to implement the long-term goals of the Larimer Vision Plan and the community’s guiding principles outlined in the 2014 organizational strategic plan. The Neighborhood Improvement Specialist will focus on the following: 1) Choice Neighborhood Implementation; 2) Real Estate Development and Community Planning; 3) Support of the LCG Board, Committees and Action Teams; 4) Community Outreach, Information, and Advocacy; and 5) Administrative Duties. CNIG responsibilities, growing organizational partnerships, and the increasing pace of development in Larimer all require the LCG to bring on staff and expand capacity as soon as possible. LCG board volunteer hours are increasing significantly to meet participation requirements in ongoing CNIG meetings. All of the CNIG partners are all sophisticated, fully staffed organizations that in many cases operate on annual budgets in excess of $1 million.

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$75,000 Millvale: Community Capacity Building

Millvale Community Library, Millvale, PA, United States

PROJECT: Millvale Community Capacity Building

PROGRAM: 2014 Catalytic Grants

GRANTEE: Millvale Community Library

Community volunteers, with support from the Borough and Library, have been pushing the boundaries of what is possible, and have partnered with local and regional organizations to enact major community revitalization initiatives in Millvale. After a solid decade of these small-scale efforts, they developed the Millvale Ecodistrict community-wide sustainability plan with evolveEA. As a result of these initial wolovich_final-3efforts, Millvale is well-positioned to participate in the tremendous growth and investment that our region has been experiencing the past 5-10 years. The community is in dramatic need of raising staff capacity to ensure community voice and participation in the remaking of the community as a cleaner, greener, happier, and more engaging place. With increased capacity, Millvale will be able begin implementation of the Ecodistrict community-wide sustainability plan, which was designed to understand the relationship between the existing work, while increasing Millvale’s community resiliency through the lenses of food, water, and energy:

  • The Library transitions into a full-fledged member of the Allegheny County Library Assoc. of PA and will have access to county, state, and regional funding streams that will be used to support community based work
  • The Library completes build-out and establishment of overall project vision and begins presenting as a replicable and realized model of social entrepreneurship and triple bottom line thinking at the community level
  • An additional five Millvale adults pass and attain their GED
  • A tenant for Millvale Town Square is secured, and a plan is in place to use the Town Square project to address Millvale’s status as a Food Desert
  • Successful collaboration with ARTEZ to complete the housing strategy for Millvale
  • Community Gardens continue to grow and flourish and increase engagement of community members
  • Implementation of combined sewer overflows Water District project to solve 4 CSO’s though the use of green infrastructure
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$75,000 Trade Institute of Pittsburgh: Facility and Program Expansion

7800 Susquehanna Street, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

PROJECT: Trade Institute Facility and Program Expansion

PROGRAM: 2014 Catalytic GrantsApril 2015 120 (1024x768) (640x480)

GRANTEE: Trade Institute of Pittsburgh

With these funds, the Trade Institute of Pittsburgh (TIP) will expand its facility and programming to accommodate scalability and the organization’s ability to fulfill its role in Project RE_. Through this assistance, TIP will complete their new facility on Susquehanna Street in Homewood by relocating the current office and shop space for the Masonry Training Program and creating additional work training areas for two different programs. This build-out will allow TIP to 1) increase its capacity (space and programming) to address the chronic April 2015 127 (1024x768)unemployment in Wilkinsburg and Homewood, especially among the ex-offender population; 2) double its numbers served at the completion of this project; 3) at minimum, triple its annual number of participants served, taking more men and women from zero income to a living wage in less than three months; and 4) be an effective partner in Project RE_. [Project RE_ addresses the need for renewal in blighted communities by utilizing the ingenuity and resources of fifth year architecture students at CMU, the supplies and resources of Construction Junction and trade labor and expertise by TIP.]

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$6,000 Marketing and Promotions of Regional Job Fairs

Eastside Neighborhood Employment Center, Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

PROJECT: Marketing & Promotions for local job fairsDSCN0270

PROGRAM: 2015 Small & Simple Grants

GRANTEE: Eastside Neighborhood Employment Center

Youth Job Fair/April 2015: served as an opportunity fair for approximately 250 youth, as well as an application event the Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program. The fair will include space for employers to set up information/experience tables to network with local teen job seekers, a press conference for elected officials to promote the summer employment program, workforce development-related training sessions, workshops of resume development, interviewing, soft skills, financial literacy, and distribution of summer employment program applications.

Ex-offender, Foster Care Youth, and Veteran-focused Job Fair: building on the youth-focused job fair, a larger job fair served to drive broader interaction between approximately 85 employers and approximately 1,700 local job seekers. The scale of this far allows employers and agency representative to network with a high volume of the East End’s at-risk job seekers.

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$15,000 Wilkinsuburg CDC: Vacant House Tour

Rebecca Avenue, Wilkinsburg, PA, United States

PROJECT: Vacant House Tour

Photo credit: Greg Sculli

Photo credit: Greg Sculli

PROGRAM: 2015 Small & Simple Grants

GRANTEE: Wilkinsburg CDC

The Wilkinsburg Vacant Home Tour is a self-guided tour, showcasing abandoned and vacant properties, leading tour participants on a journey back in time through the narratives of these homes and buildings. Stories of the families and people who lived in, worked in, who cared for, and who were sheltered by these homes, are unearthed and revealed throughout the tour route. The memories of these homes map out, through physical markers, their historical impact in creating the communities and neighborhoods in which they exist. Residents from the neighborhood serve as Tour Guides, greeting participants at each stop and telling the forgotten stories of these properties. Tour participants are provided with a tour map that works hand-in-hand with the visual prompts along the tour route, additional background information on each of the properties, and information on resources available to aid participants to more positively engage vacant homes. At each stop, there are tools to help them visualize what the house once looked like in full vibrancy, and what the house might look like again in the near future.  The event also includes a resource workshop for those interested in learning more about how they might be able to shape the future of these properties. The workshop includes a look at “next steps,” the process, tools available, and the risks, challenges, and rewards of such an endeavor.

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$15,000 Entrepreneur Incubator

Work Hard Pittsburgh, East Warrington Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

PROJECT: Entrepreneur IncubatorIMG_3696

PROGRAM: 2015 Small & Simple Grants

GRANTEE: Work Hard Pittsburgh (Hardware Store)

To create a business incubator model that is owned by the regional entrepreneurs receiving the services. The model will provide a legal and fiduciary framework for self-organization anywhere there is entrepreneurial density, but will be piloted and tested at The Hardware Store in Allentown.

The proposed incubator will improve the function and effectiveness of businesses that are not appropriate for institutional investment and entry into existing or traditional regional business incubators. The incubator model will be focused on smaller rounds of funding and entrepreneurs supporting each other’s goals. The businesses that are being incubated and the entrepreneurs receiving the incubation services will be the owners of the entity that does the incubation.

The framework that is developed will support essential, community serving and enriching businesses like the restaurant down the street and the daycare provider, who will never be companies of scale that generate hundreds of millions of dollars, but, they are the backbone of our economy, providing color to our communities and jobs for the residents. The proposed framework will allow the Hardware Store to create test-classes of entrepreneurs for incubation, put forth a meaningful crowdfunding ask to the broader community, and solicit appropriate funding channels for the associated investments.

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$10,000 Gateway Placemaking/Community Green Space

Mountain Street at Wagner Street Pittsburgh, PA, United States

PROJECT: Lot Beautification at Mountain and WagnerPop UP Hilltop May 15, 2010 046

PROGRAM: 2015 Small & Simple Grants

GRANTEE: St. Clair/Mt. Oliver Block Watch (Hilltop Alliance)

Mt. Oliver City/St. Clair Block Watch received funding to complete work on a vacant lot in the neighborhood to establish an outdoor community area and to in order to be more visible at a prominent intersection in the neighborhood and to bring people out of their houses encouraging them to inquire why residents are meeting. The project is the conversion of a city-owned property into an outdoor community gathering pace for social and leisure activities and is part of GTECH Strategies ReClaim South program. The site was previously improved by adding two cement checkerboard/chess tables and four cement corn hole boards and a mini lending-library. The next phase and completion of this project includes further excavation of the soil so that grass can be planted add a walkway and seating area with benches and chairs. The lot is on a main thoroughfare and near a bus stop and highly visible and traveled. Our funds would be used to cover the landscaping and construction costs(. In addition to the support and funding that the group has already received through GTECH, they have also secured $2500 from Birmingham (to be used for pavers/sand/gravel), trash cans and bike racks from the City and community members will be donating plantings as well as their time to help with landscaping.

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$75,000 Vibrant Pittsburgh: Ready Now/Ready Future

707 Grant Street, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

PROJECT: Ready Now/Ready Futuredownload

PROGRAM: Catalytic Grants $75,000

GRANTEE: Vibrant Pittsburgh

Currently, the Pittsburgh region is one of the least diverse metropolitan regions of the top 100 metro areas in the country. Our low level of diversity, particularly among foreign born individuals, puts the region at a competitive disadvantage. Given the changing demographics of the nation, growing talent demands of the region, and ongoing need for leaders to develop and drive the region’s future, it is an economic imperative that we seed a pipeline of diverse individuals who are ready to move into leadership roles throughout the region. Vibrant Pittsburgh and The Urban League propose to pilot and test the Ready Now/Ready Future Initiative that will develop a culture of professional sponsorship that positions more diverse talent for leadership roles in the region. This project proposes a multi-pronged approach:

  1. Ready Now/Ready Future Tool: Identify, source and pool diverse talent and build an online directory that is accessible to regional decision-makers.
  2. Ready Now/Ready Future Opportunity Holders: Develop a partnership and commitment with leaders that have the authority to select candidates for immediate and future senior or executive job openings, board positions and commission appointments, host group “connector events” to help position these individuals to pursue “ReadyNow/ReadyFuture” spots on the lists of the region’s opportunity holders.
  3. Professional Development Opportunities: Organize connections and/or match-making strategies designed to propel the candidates onto the “Ready Now” or “Ready Future” lists.


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$75,000 Farm Truck Foods: Mobile Farmers Market

Millvale Boro Office, Lincoln Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

PROJECT: Mobile Food Market Pilot

PROGRAM: 2014 Catalytic Grants

Guy Wathen, Trib Total Media

Guy Wathen, Trib Total Media

GRANTEE: Farm Truck Foods

Farm Truck Foods’ mission is to bridge the gap between farmers and community members throughout the Greater Pittsburgh region. They are piloting a mobile market program that provides universal access to whole, nutritious, affordable and local foods to residents living in food deserts or in communities with poor access to healthy food. Their business approach is three pronged: 1) Mobility: to reach multiple communities; 2) Education: to inform and communicate the presence of and positive effect of accessing, preparing and eating nutritious foods; and 3) Locally Sourced: to create a local multiplier effect throughout the region. As part of this proposal, Farm Truck Foods purchased and retrofitted a truck and is creating community-specific, tailored approaches as they move into the pilot neighborhoods, helping to increase early adoption and allowing for trust to be built within each individual stop. Farm Truck Foods also accepts Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits and Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) to accommodate the needs of each individual. Available food will include produce, meats, dairy, and grains, and will run year-round.

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$15,000 The Door Campaign: 20/20 Vision Project

101 Hazlett Street, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

PROJECT: 20/20 Vision Project

John Heller/Post-Gazette Local / Perry High School Pittsburgh - Nov. 20, 2014 - Quincy Swatson, 23, started The Door Campaign to expose kids to aquaponic systems where gold fish and basil co-exist in a mutually beneficial relationship.

John Heller/Post-Gazette
Local / Perry High School
Pittsburgh – Nov. 20, 2014 – Quincy Swatson, 23, started The Door Campaign to expose kids to aquaponic systems where gold fish and basil co-exist in a mutually beneficial relationship.

PROGRAM: 2015 Small & Simple Grants

GRANTEE: Hill House Association

This grant covered the costs of purchasing 20 ECO-cycle aquaponics systems and to develop an aquaponics sustainability curriculum which will be adopted and embedded into 20 local classrooms throughout Pittsburgh school districts. Ultimately, this project will provide hands on educational experiences with a purpose of engaging student in STEAM learning, giving them the opportunity to improve upon practices of environmental sustainability. The main objectives are:

  • Developing students interest in STEAM by teaching the value of contemporary education
  • Increasing the amount of aquaponics systems in classroom settings
  • Further improve students cognitive skills through the use of a hands on educational experience
  • Generate an increase student interest in applying and attending colleges and universities
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$50,000 The Mission Continues: 2nd Pittsburgh Service Platoon

7048 Bennett St, Pittsburgh, PA 15208, USA

PROJECT: Pittsburgh Service Platoonmission continues pgh

PROGRAM: Catalytic Grants $50,000

GRANTEE: The Mission Continues

The Mission Continues was founded on the belief that veterans are an untapped leadership asset for communities, and should play a pivotal role in rebuilding neighborhoods. As a city with one of the largest veteran populations in the country, this is an opportunity to build a veteran-community collaboration model to transform distressed neighborhoods into healthy communities by placing a Mission Continues Platoon with non-profit partners.

Pittsburgh is ripe for the mobilization and organization of veterans around continued service to neighborhoods with the most need. The Mission Continues proposes to launch the second Pittsburgh Service Platoon:

  • Recruit, mobilize and organize a Platoon of 40-60 veterans led by a post-9/11 veteran
  • Plan and execute service missions in our six priority neighborhoods
  • Empower veterans in Pittsburgh to focus their talents and leadership on addressing community needs
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$8,000 Allegheny Land Trust: Transfer Development Rights Education and Outreach

Allegheny Land Trust, 416 Thorn Street, Sewickley, PA, United States

PROJECT: TDR Education and OutreachALT

PROGRAM: 2015 Small & Simple Grants

GRANTEE: Allegheny Land Trust

With our support,  Allegheny Land Trust will develop and produce educational materials outlining the details and benefits of creating and implementing a Transfer Development Rights (TDR) Program in the City of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County. A TDR Program can be a powerful tool to generate a new source of private revenue to care for the green space and infrastructure by:

  • Generating revenue for nonprofits
  • Eliminating or reducing the concern from the taxing bodies that land is being removed from the tax rolls
  • Guiding growth and investment where it is needed and wanted
  • Ensuring that the improvements made to blighted parcels is not vulnerable to a future “higher and better use

Two options will be researched, outlined and included in the educational materials:

  • Option ONE: allows a landowner to sell the development rights from his property to a developer who then uses those development rights to increase the density of houses on another piece of property at another location, creating an incentive for the developer to buy the rights
  • Option TWO: establish a TDR Bank to transfer development rights. Developers who wish to develop at a higher density than current zoning allows, would purchase rights from the local gov’t, which could then use funds to purchase more rights from properties in the area that is wants to protect from development or use for green infrastructure.
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$15,000 GTECH Strategies: Pittsburgh Resilient Cities Neighborhood Planning

GTECH STRATEGIES, Hamilton Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

PROJECT: Pittsburgh Resilient Cities Neighborhood Planning

PROGRAM: 2015 Small & Simple Grants


The purpose of this grant is to support the capacity of GTECH and partners to assemble a plan of Gtech logoaction for how the city’s Climate and Resilience Plan will connect to our most vulnerable communities. This planning process will create the capacity and support necessary to apply the City’s climate planning process to a community development context that each of our communities can use and lead to safer and healthier environments for residents. As part of this grant, GTECH will:

  • Benchmark other city community development systems and how climate and resilience planning is incorporated into planning, funding, capacity building and evaluation AND have that input incorporated into the the City’s strategy
  • Establish a plan to integrate climate risk assessment and hazard planning into the traditional community development planning process
    • Resident-driven data collection & sharing tools and process
    • Structured training for climate risk and hazard assessment with community based agencies
    • The design of community based resiliency plans to link to existing community plans
  • Craft an implementation plan to equip and empower residents in climate vulnerable neighborhoods to increase the capacity of their communities to adapt to climate related impacts
    • A fund for micro grants
    • An online inventory of projects and activities to facilitate collaboration
    • A network of individual community experts to help lead planning processes
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$15,000 Bike Pittsburgh: Positive Spin Initiative

Bike Pittsburgh, 43rd Street, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

PROJECT: Positive Spin InitiativePositiveSpinPirates

PROGRAM: 2015 Small & Simple Grants

GRANTEE: Bike Pittsburgh

The purpose of this grant is to support the implementation and operation of the Positive Spin Summer Youth Cycling Program. The program will be implemented in conjunction with Pittsburgh Public School’s  Summer Dreamer’s Academy during the summer months and will focus on engaging middle schoolers from low/mod income neighborhoods across the city. Program activities and outcomes include:

  • Bicycle Transportation: students begin by earning the “bike license” after learning bike safety skills. By exploring the city streets and trails, student learn how to use bicycling as an alternative form of urban transportation allowing youth access to opportunities outside of their immediate communities
  • Connecting with Caring Adults: students bike in group-based mentoring relationships with adult staff. These caring mentors are trained to work with youth and foster community within the peer group. Each youth will connect with 4-5 caring adults throughout the program.
  • Bike Repair: students learn the basics of how to maintain and repair the bicycles such as patching a tube, adjusting breaks and general maintenance.
  • Fitness: students bike regularly and try other forms of exercise like running, yoga or strength training. They learn to log their miles and document increases in physical strength and endurance as they continue through the program.

With these funds BikePGH will cover staff and program costs to run this program in summer 2015 and to develop the program for the continuation and expansion beyond it’s current scope and time frame in the future. Expansion plans will include deep engagement and outreach in Neighborhood Allies priority neighborhoods and will incorporate a strategy to improve biking access in poor neighborhoods.

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$15,000 Union Project: Strategic Plan Update

Union Project, North Negley Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

PROJECT: Strategic Plan Updateunion project drawing

PROGRAM: 2015 Small & Simple Grants

GRANTEE: Union Project

To complete a 2015-18 Strategic Business Plan, as well as, set up and implement an execution strategy approach with a strong focus on meeting and addressing growing community-based needs. Union Project will contract with two consultants to complete the plan: Jackson Clark Partners and Perato Strategy and Execution Consultants to ensure that the programming and services are as effective, impactful and as relevant and close to the community’s wants and needs as possible.

UP’s community serving program opportunities are in high demand and growing significantly and this strategic plan will grow UP into a more sustainable organization and better serve the community, including low-income and minority residents by:

  • clearly describing their unique model for service and help develop it into replicable model for other transitional neighborhoods
  • determining how best to add capacity to their programs, most likely in the area of education so they can continue to grow local programs including partnerships with other non-profits who are interested to use clay for educational, rehabilitation, and inclusion type services
  • planning and implementing an expanded artist in residence program to continue to bring in local, regional, and nationally known artists to work with UP artists, artists from around the region, novices who want to learn more
  • improving the process by which they measure progress and impact
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$2,000 City of Pittsburgh: My Brothers Keeper Initiative

City of Pittsburgh: Mayor's Office, Grant Street, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

PROJECT: My Brothers Keeper Initiativemy brothers keeper

PROGRAM: 2015 Small & Simple Grants

GRANTEE: City of Pittsburgh

With our support, the city will hire a consultant to facilitate a series of (3) Public Meetings with youth and community members, in order to gain their insight on the recommendations posed by the My Brothers Keeper (MBK) committee and to determine what information is missing from the report. The public will prioritize the recommendations and establish action steps set forth by the committee’s report in order to create ownership of the strategy. The findings and input from this engagement will inform the committee’s guiding principles and the goals and recommendations for the region to achieve goals outlined by the White House and MBK Initiative for all youth in Pittsburgh.

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$8,595 MRCDC: Middle School Arts Education Pilot

McKees Rocks Community Development Corporation, Chartiers Avenue, McKees Rocks, PA, United States

PROJECT: Middle School Arts Education ProjectMRCDCLogo

PROGRAM: 2015 Small & Simple Grants


Due to severe budgetary restrictions, the Sto-Rox school district has been unable to offer any performing arts electives to its students for the past several years. To address this deficiency, the MRCDC is facilitating a collaboration between the Sto-Rox Middle School and local arts professionals to provide students with a quality arts education.

As part of this collaboration, the Middle School will identify 12 students- all of whom have demonstrated a keen interest in the arts- to take part in a comprehensive art course at the Father Ryan Arts Center. From January to May for twice a week/ over 18 weeks, students will learn and practice set design, videography, song, writing, dancing and stage managing. Six seasoned professionals will teach these mini courses. Upon the Initiatives’ completion, the 12 middle schoolers will perform their self-described and self-executed show in three locations: Sto-Rox High School, Middle School and the Father Ryan Arts Center. Family and community members who attend the show will see the vast potential that exists in the new but dramatically under-utilized $5 million Arts Center.


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$15,000 MOKA (Mecca of Kulture & Art): Art Gallery and House of Culture

2297 Centre Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

PROJECT: Art Gallery and House of Culture

PROGRAM: 2015 Small & Simple Grants


MOKA is a contemporary art/music studio and gallery that is currently being created to share the rich cultural legacy of jazz and art that originated in the Hill District. To accomplish this resurgence, the organization will develop exhibitions, studio practices, artist talks, cultural exchanges, artist residencies and art classes. The Gallery will provide a space for artist and musicians to share their expertise with the Hill community.

MOKA will provide four distinct areas of program development:
– Exhibition space for artists
– Educational component of music and art
– Gallery access
– Artist residence and studios

Our Small and Simple investment covers a portion of the cost for the buildings’ elevator system. In addition to our support, the MOKA Project Team has invested over $105,000 of their own funds into the project and have received grants from McAuley Ministries, the POISE Foundation and Urban Innovation 21.

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$7,500 MWCDC: Pittsburgh Conservation Corps

301 Shiloh Street, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

PROJECT: Pittsburgh Conservation CorpsEmerald Trail Corps learning to use safety ropes in Emerald View Park. Courtesy Mt. Washington CDC.

PROGRAM: 2015 Small & Simple Grants

GRANTEE: Mount Washington CDC

In order to establish an innovative workforce development program that pairs a range of land stewardship services with a range of different land types known as The Pittsburgh Conservation Corps, MWCDC and Pittsburgh Community Works sought financial support from Neighborhood Allies to engage existing community based companies/organizations to co-design a model of cooperation and partnership.

Funds will be used to provide stipends to participating agencies and facilitate a two-part focus group to co-design a model of collaboration. Goals include: 1. Enhance and expand capability of existing community based businesses that provide land stewardship services; 2. Co-design a model of education, training and employment to link existing service providers to the development of a Pittsburgh Conservation Corps (PCC); 3. Help address unmet land stewardship needs – ultimately contributing to the health, safety, and justice of each community.

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$15,000 OPDC: Oakland Affordable Living

Atwood Street, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

PROJECT: Oakland Affordable LivingImage result for oakland planning and development

PROGRAM: 2015 Small & Simple Grants

GRANTEE: Oakland Planning and Development

OPDC’s Small and Simple grant will be used to re-apply to the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) for Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) to finance the Oakland Affordable Living project. OPDC will develop 49 units of 100% affordable housing in Oakland. Specifically they plan to renovate Allequippa Place, a 25-year-old, 24-unit multiplex and construct a new 25-unit fully accessible apartment building on adjacent vacant land. The project team includes OPDC as developer, Diamond & Associates as application consultant, Sota Construction as general contractor, Loysen Kreuthmeier Architects, and Regional Housing Legal Services. The URA, the Mayor’s Office, and community groups enthusiastically support the project. OPDC is meeting with potential equity investors, including a recent meeting with Tony Lyons of National Equity Fund.

Oakland Affordable Living will provide high-quality, energy efficient housing in a desirable heart-of-the-city location – close to employment, education, public transit, and strong neighborhood groups. The development seeks to provide the housing that low income families need, can afford, and in a location that further reduces their living expenses. The project will help to maintain housing opportunities for a diverse mix of residents – to keep Oakland a vibrant, equitable, and attractive community consistent with The Oakland 2025 Master Plan goals.

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$15,000 New Sun Rising/Pittsburgh Chamber of Cooperatives: Think Outside The Boss!

510 East 10th Avenue, Munhall, PA, United States

PROJECT: Think Outside The Boss!

PROGRAM: 2015 Small & Simple Grants

GRANTEE: New Sun Rising/Pittsburgh Chamber of Cooperatives (PCOC)

The Pittsburgh Chamber of Cooperatives’ (PCOC) target audience are workers and business owners who are interested in a non-hierarchical enterprise; especially people who experience difficulty making a living wage or who are locked into part-time employment, displaced workers, minority business and trades people who very often find inadequate opportunity and people who are working in industries that typically have poor working conditions.

PCOC will work in transitional communities such as but not limited to: the Hilltop neighborhoods, Hazlewood, the Hill, Homewood, Larimer and areas outside of the city such as Braddock and Homestead. The PCOC is working with inclusive and neighborhood based efforts to provide more opportunity for their residents and with early stage businesses to explore the benefits of their becoming cooperative businesses and to help them get established as cooperatives.

To effectively reach more people, the PCOC will:

  • Raise awareness of the benefits and the how-to of cooperatives through informational workshops, speaking at relevant community development and entrepreneurship events, and “game nights” featuring a board game appropriately named “Co-opoly”.
  • Conduct educational and networking events to help grow the cooperative movement in collaboration with other organizations such as the New Economy Campaign, the Braddock Library, and Urban Innovation 21.
  • Provide hands-on technical assistance to new and existing cooperatives, focusing on worker-owned businesses but able to advise producer and consumer cooperatives. The approach is to help develop the whole enterprise and use existing business development resources in tandem with the PCOC’s guidance on matters unique to cooperatives.
  • Gather intelligence on what members need and advocate on their behalf regarding cooperative business needs, challenges and issues, and opportunities. This is continuously done through the PCOC web site, member surveys, the channels listed above, and occasional group interviews.
  • Financing to strategically support the establishment of small new cooperatives
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The Chuck Cooper Foundation | Leadership and Diversity Program Expansion

1101 N Murtland St, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

PdownloadROJECT: Leadership and Diversity Program

PROGRAM: 2016 Catalytic

GRANTEE: The Chuck Cooper Foundation

The Chuck Cooper Foundation will extend and expand its Leadership and Diversity Programming for high performing African American Graduate Students, Young Professionals and Undergraduates entering into the early phases of their career. CCF intends to: 1) Continue career and leadership programming with 20 students per semester; 2) Expand professional mentoring program to recruit new mentors from the corporate community to provide tailored one-on-one mentoring; 3) Create Diversity Coalition of Stakeholders.

*The Chuck Cooper Foundation is a public charity, not a private foundation.

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Gardens of Millvale Parcel Acquisition | Millvale CDC

Butler Street, Millvale, PA, United States

gardens of millvalePROJECT: Garden Lot Acquisition

PROGRAM: 2016 Catalytic


The Millvale CDC will acquire the parcels that currently house The Gardens of Millvale, a community project, from the Borough of Millvale. This acquisition will protect this community asset from current sales pressure and future development and prevent the loss of a key building block for the Millvale community – a resident-led, proactive project that supports the Millvale EcoDistrict Plan, Farm Truck Foods and the forthcoming Food Hub.

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Youth Programs Coordinator | UrbanKind Institute

Beltzhoover, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

photo credit:

PROJECT: Youth Programs Coordinator

PROGRAM: 2016 Catalytic

GRANTEE: UrbanKind Institute

A full-time Youth Programs Coordinator will be hired to serve as a liaison between youth, schools, community organizations, policymakers, and the foundation community. The project is a joint effort between Remake Learning and UrbanKind.

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Farmers Market Cooperative | Black Urban Gardeners and Farmers:

Homewood North, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

Photo credit: BUGS Conference Facebook

Photo credit: BUGS Conference Facebook

PROJECT: Homewood Farmers Market Cooperative

PROGRAM: 2016 Small & Simple

GRANTEE: Black Urban Gardeners and Farmers (Landslide Community Farm)

Black Urban Gardeners and Farmers will establish a Farmers Market Cooperative in Homewood. The market will also educate community members on the importance of buying locally in our communities, healthy eating habits, growing our own food, and the connection of environmental sustainability in our communities through educational sessions held at our Market.

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Allentown Positivity Campaign | Brashear Association

Brashear Association Inc, East Warrington Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

PROJECT: Allentown Positivity Campaignbrashear kids

PROGRAM: 2016 Small & Simple

GRANTEE: Brashear Association

Brasher will create a campaign of positive messages throughout Allentown to spread happiness and beautify community streets and empower kids to realize they have a significant voice and a say in their community.

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Culinary Job Mentoring Program | Cafe on the Corner

2700 Shadeland Ave, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

PROJECT: Culinary Job Mentoring Program

photo by: Nick Buzzelli

photo by: Nick Buzzelli

PROGRAM: 2016 Small & Simple

GRANTEE: Cafe on the Corner (New Hope Renewal)

Cafe on the Corner will develop a culinary job mentoring and employment program that would serve young residents of Marshall/Shadeland and other parts of the Pittsburgh North Side.

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Industry on Industry Project Materials | Hilltop Alliance

Hilltop Alliance, East Warrington Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

813E37CD-59A5-44B3-A0E2-156423821409PROJECT: Industry on Industry Project Materials

PROGRAM: 2016 Small & Simple

GRANTEE: Hilltop Alliance

The Hilltop Alliance will purchase project materials for the temporary public art projects that will be created for and displayed throughout the Allentown neighborhood by the Industry on Industry artists and makers.

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CBO Collaborative Shared Financial Manager | Lawrenceville United

253-263 39th St, Pittsburgh, PA 15201, USA

imagesPROJECT: (CBO) Collaborative Shared Staff

PROGRAM: 2016 Small & Simple

GRANTEE: Lawrenceville United

A professional consultant will create the framework for a shared Financial Manager position between a newly formed community-based organization (CBO) collaborative: Lawrenceville United, Bloomfield Development Corporation, Neighbors in the Strip, Polish Hill Civic Association.

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EcoDistrict Incubator Training | Millvale Community Library

Millvale Community Library, Grant Avenue, Millvale, PA, United States

PROJECT: EcoDistrict Regeneration IncubatorIMG_5294

PROGRAM: 2016 Small & Simple

GRANTEE: Millvale Community Library

The leadership team behind the Millvale EcoDistrict to the EcoDistrict Urban Regeneration Incubator program, which is a three-day intensive. training designed to accelerate EcoDistrict-modeled urban regeneration projects.

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Jobs First Program | Rebuilding Together Pittsburgh:

Larimer, Pittsburgh, PA, United States


PROGRAM: 2016 Small & Simple

GRANTEE: Rebuilding Together Pittsburgh

RTP will develop the Jobs First program, which provides them with a reliable labor force while offering a paid skills-development opportunity to community members who have, for various reasons, been unable to find and/or maintain meaningful and long-term employment.

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Lots of Pride | South Hilltop Men's Group:

Beltzhoover, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

PROJECT: Lots of Pride InitiativeHilltop Mens Group

PROGRAM: 2016 Small & Simple

GRANTEE: South Hilltop Men’s Group [New Sun Rising]

To purchase landscaping equipment and tools for their Lots of Pride initiative, which is a work experience program for at-risk youth to maintain vacant lots in the Hilltop.


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Leadership Development and Mentoring Program | Chuck Cooper Foundation:

49 Thorncrest Drive, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

PROJECT: Leadership Development and Mentoring Programdownload

PROGRAM: 2016 Catalytic

GRANTEE: Chuck Cooper Foundation

The Cooper Leadership Development Program (CLDP) is a program focused on training African-American undergraduate and graduate students through leadership and professional development seminars, and experiential learning opportunities. During the first phase of the program, the Chuck Cooper Foundation (CCF) will recruit 15 graduate students and 30 undergraduate junior and senior students, some of whom have a desire to work in the community development field, into this program to better prepare them for the next stage of their careers. CCF aims to eventually develop a network of 100 student participants and young professionals. This one-year grant term will partially fund the cost of a Program Director, program development and leadership curriculum development for the CLDP.

CCF intends to: 1) Continue career and leadership programming with at least 20 students per semester; 2) Expand professional mentoring program to recruit new mentors from the corporate and other professional communities to provide tailored one-on-one mentoring; 3) Begin to establish a network of stakeholders to provide social capital for students.

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Business Leadership Academy for Social Transformation (BLAST) | Hill CDC

2007 Centre Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

2014-07-14-22-47-04PROJECT: Business Leadership Academy for Social Transformation (BLAST)

PROGRAM: 2016 Catalytic


The Hill CDC currently owns the former New Granada Theater property, located at 2007 Centre Avenue in the Hill District neighborhood of Pittsburgh.  The structure has long been a link to the history of The Hill, and the CDC has recently issued a request for proposals seeking a redevelopment partner for the property.  The New Granada Alcove Project is an interim strategy to reactivate a 1300 sf portion of the structure (alcove + expanded) to incubate minority entrepreneurs and provide training assistance to retail micro-businesses, as part of a broader strategy to revitalize the commercial corridor. The project is in accordance with the Greater Hill District Master Plan and Centre Avenue Redevelopment Plan, and specifically its interim strategy to activate empty storefronts, abandoned properties and vacant lots on the Hill. It will also serve as a key element in the broader remaking of Centre Avenue, which runs through the heart of The Hill.

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Securing Our Future, Gardens of Millvale | Millvale Borough Development Council:

Hays Street, Millvale, PA, United States

PROJECT: Securing Our Future: Gardens of Millvaledscn2109

PROGRAM: Catalytic 2016

GRANTEE: Millvale Borough Development Corporation

Across from the Gardens of Millvale’s original garden, a series of parcels purchased and protected from future development by FEMA after flooding and given to the Borough, is the largest collection of parcels utilized by the Gardens of Millvale. This is the land that the Gardens are seeking to purchase – 8, 10, 12 and 14 Butler Street and 3, 5 and 7 Hays Street. On these parcels are 25 individual, family and community plots and a hoop house. This area consists of multiple lots once occupied by many houses which were destroyed by a fire and obtained by the Borough. Even though these parcels are also located in the floodplain, they were not purchased by FEMA and are therefore, eligible for development. Similarly, although residential properties were once located on these sites, the area is zoned commercial. Vacant land is limited and there are no other public green spaces in Millvale large enough for the hoop house and 25 plots. This grant will allow the Gardens of Millvale to acquire these parcels and protect this community asset from current sales pressure for development, and prevent the loss of a key building block for the Millvale community. This is a resident-led, proactive project that supports the Millvale EcoDistrict Plan, local businesses (including Farm Truck Foods and Tupelo Honey Teas), and the forthcoming Food Hub.

Along with the purchasing of the properties, Gardens of Millvale will establish a position for a paid project manager. This person will oversee the project through its entirety, as well as work with a Chatham University Masters of Sustainability student and establish relationships with local businesses to help become more sustainable. The manager will measure the success of the Gardens of Millvale through various ways; weighing product harvested, tracking how much produce is sold and donated, overall attendance increasing (i.e. work log use), etc. Through implementation of the new crop share program, the manager will work with a small group of people to test this concept for future garden productivity. Events and fundraisers will also be coordinated by the project manager. The Gardens of Millvale is also working to implement a business plan and strategic plan.

Through working with New Sun Rising’s -Millvale Food Pod (an organization that helps startups get the connections, information and support they need to succeed), The Gardens of Millvale are striving to create these plans over the course of the next six months. With this funding, they will have access to the tools to create a more professional business model as well as receive networking, education, collaboration, and growth opportunities for the garden organization as a whole.

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BizFIT Initiative | Riverside Center for Innovation:

700 River Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

PROJECT: BizFIT Initiativedownload

PROGRAM: 2016 Catalytic

GRANTEE: Riverside Center for Innovation

BizFIT is a new program designed to assist Disadvantaged and Minority Business Owners in the construction industry with the skillset to operate their business from start-up to becoming a prime contractor. BizFIT will assist the DBE to identify their strengths and weaknesses, look at their capabilities, evaluate the market place and see how they fit into the industry. Additionally, they will receive assistance in development of a five-year strategic plan for growth. RCI, in collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh-Small Business Development Center aka the Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence, has developed educational programs for DBE’s at every stage of their business development- from exploration of entrepreneurship as an option to opening the doors for the first time to development- to the development of a detailed plan to grow the business.

BizFIT Tier Three – Start Ups: BizFIT Entrepreneurial Preparation Series is a 10-12 week entrepreneurial business plan training that teaches start-up and existing construction DBE companies the following:
• Mechanics of Starting a Business;
• Market Penetration and Techniques;
• How to Access Capital;
• Financial Statement Basics;
• Understanding Operations and Managing Growth

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Fund My Future Expansion | NeighborWorks Western PA:

NeighborWorks Western Pennsylvania, Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

dscn0273PROJECT: Fund My Future Expansion

PROGRAM: 2016 Catalytic

GRANTEE: NeighborWorks Western PA

In partnership with the Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh (HACP), NeighborWorks will expand the college savings account program- Fund My Future (FMF) outside of the Propel Charter School System to serve youth and families living within the Bedford Dwellings community of the Hill District. FMF is an incentive-based program, encouraging family savings through monthly and annual raffles of gift cards and cash prizes. According to a 2013 report by the Assets and Education Initiative, children who have just $500 or less saved for college are three times more like to enroll in college. A savings account- particularly in a child’s name- is associated with better academic performance. Beverly Jewel Wall Lovelace (BJWL) Out-of-School Time Program is also a key partner and will provide staff time and resources to help with the implementation of this initiative. In addition to the FMF program, NeighborWorks’ existing financial education and counseling services will be made available to adults living in the Bedford Dwellings community. Within the first 12 months of the program, at least 64 youth are expected to participate in the FMF program and 65 adults are to be served through financial education coaching and workshops.

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Trauma Informed Community Development (TICD) Implementation | FOCUS Pittsburgh

2900 Webster Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

FOCUSPROJECT: Trauma Informed Community Development (TICD) Implementation

PROGRAM: 2016 Catalytic


In spring, 2015, we awarded $50,000 to FOCUS Pittsburgh to support the planning and pilot phase of the TICD Initiative. TICD is a comprehensive strategy that has been developed with the support and input of community members and stakeholders over the past two years. After completing the Consultative Workshop on the block of 2900 Webster Avenue in the Hill District this summer, a year-long H.O.P.E. Plan was created based on the input and feedback from block residents at that workshop. Through the H.O.P.E. Plan, Health & Well-being, Opportunity Making, Placemaking and Engaging Influencers, it is anticipated that people will begin to live healthier and be healthier – in all spheres physically, mentally/emotionally, relationally, socio-economically and spiritually. With this funding, FOCUS Pittsburgh will be able to provide the additional implementation support needed to complete the H.O.P.E. Plan throughout the next year. Additionally, this support will enable FOCUS Pittsburgh to expand this program to additional blocks within the Hill District that express interest.

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Property Stabilization Program Expansion | Hilltop Alliance

Knoxville, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

dscn2633PROJECT: Property Stabilization Program Expansion

PROGRAM: 2016 Catalytic

GRANTEE: Hilltop Alliance

The Hilltop Alliance’s Property Stabilization Program (PSP) works directly with property owners to help them access available resources to fix problems before punitive fines are pursued through the city. Using in-house offerings such as their side yard grants and residential façade grants, while also leveraging third-party resources, the PSP has a 36.9% success rate, having resolved 107 code issues to date. Thus far, all PSP efforts are proactively focused where current strategic plans exist (Hilltop Housing Market Restoration Strategy-2013 and the Haberman Corridor Plan-2016) and reactive where issues are reported by residents. With this funding, the Hilltop Alliance will launch a one-year Property Stabilization Program Fellowship for a Hilltop resident whom Hilltop Alliance will hire, compensate and train in how to monitor, communicate and work with the program partners to resolve property maintenance and/or quality of life code violations in Allentown, Beltzhoover and Knoxville. This knowledge transfer and project management training will provide the resident with the skills necessary to continue the work (on a volunteer basis) through their own community involvement and/or work in the greater Pittsburgh community development system.

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Continuation of 2nd Local Platoon | The Mission Continues

Homewood, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

IMG_2790PROJECT: Continuation of 2nd Local Platoon

PROGRAM: 2016 Catalytic

GRANTEE: The Mission Continues

In June of 2015, we awarded TMC a $50,000 grant to launch a second platoon in one of our targeted neighborhoods. Through our assistance, TMC selected Homewood to start their second platoon. Over the last year, the 2nd Service Platoon has established an operation in Homewood where they are working to eliminate blight through partnerships with organizations such as Operation Better Block and Homewood Community Sports. The platoon is currently comprised of 32 veteran volunteers, 16 community members, and 22 external volunteers. Additionally, they have had nine service/support projects with over 500 volunteer hours worked. Projects range from community clean-up events, assisting homeowners with repairs to preparing Stargell Field for Opening Day. The platoon engaged community members and made repairs to five properties and recorded properties that may need additional support in the future. This project not only helped the community, but helped the veterans become more knowledgeable about the issues in Homewood and prepared them to become advocates for the neighborhood. Furthermore, the Pittsburgh 2nd Service Platoon has made greater connections to grant-makers, identified additional veterans who were able to connect to The Mission Continues and has become a lead collaborator on community impact projects.

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Streetscape Demonstration Project | Bloomfield Development Corp.

366 Gross Street, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

bloomfield-outreach_flyer_page_1PROJECT: Streetscape Demonstration Project

PROGRAM: 2016 Small & Simple

GRANTEE: Bloomfield Development Corporation

The Streetscape Demonstration Project was created in response to the deterioration of existing street amenities like garbage cans, and due to the lack of attractive and accessible amenities along Liberty Avenue in Bloomfield. Liberty Avenue is Bloomfield’s living room, where friends and neighbors interact and social bonds are strengthened. The goal of this project is to creatively gather community consensus on a variety of streetscape amenities and begin permanently installing the preferred items as resources allow.

The Streetscape Committee, comprised of BDC staff and board members, local residents, landscape architects, and representatives from Bloomfield Livable Streets, Bike Pittsburgh, and City Planning, identified benches, planters, and trash receptacles as the primary area of need. New items, chosen by the project committee, are to be installed in July on Liberty Avenue between Edmond Street and State Way. Installations will last up to six weeks and halfway through, the original elements will be removed and new options will be installed, allowing the community to experience two complete sets of streetscape amenities.

BDC is working closely with the City to secure all necessary permits and permissions for installation in a public right-of-way. This process involves navigation of the Art Commission review process, the encroachment permit required by Department of Public Works (DPW), and incorporating existing City standards of functionality and maintenance. BDC is documenting the project process and working with Department of City Planning (Michael Smith) in order to create a model for the Streetscape Demonstration Project that will be replicable in other communities.

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Living Lab | Homewood Children's Village:

Homewood Children's Village, North Homewood Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

homewoodchildrensvillage_logo_mainPROJECT: Living Lab

PROGRAM: 2016 Small & Simple

GRANTEE: Homewood Children’s Village

By promoting EcoDistrict principals, this partnership seeks to empower Homewood residents with the knowledge and understanding to fully participate in the 21st century and create a competitive, sustainable future for the neighborhood. The programming will be supported in part by technical assistance from Hyde Marine, the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering and the Katz School of Business.

To convey the vision encompassed by the EcoDistrict framework, HCV proposes to develop a Living Lab near Westinghouse in Cluster 5 in Homewood. The site sits on nearly one acre at Sterrett Street between Kelly Street and Fleury Way, in the heart of the neighborhood. The partnership will develop the site into an outdoor classroom and educational facility for use by the community and Westinghouse students. The Living Lab will be a public park and an educational facility. Plans will include an air monitoring system, wind turbine, greenhouse, rain garden, bioswale and outdoor micro-farm. The greenhouse will be home to two Mobile Edible Wall units, maintained and managed by OBB, as well as an aquaponics system managed by BCC and OBB. HCV will incorporate the suggestions of the Westinghouse Science Department, which is interested in using an outdoor classroom as a living lab in which to conduct experiments on water, air and soil quality and rainwater capture among other activities.

This grant will help fund Phase 1 (Site Preparation, Planning, Outreach & Programming – Spring 2016) of the Living Lab project. Funding will allow HCV and its partners to engage an environmentally focused landscape architect to draw up professional plans, prepare the site, begin creating educational materials and start engaging the public around the lab, the EcoDistrict model and Sustainable Community Design principals. The Lab aligns with the Cluster Plan in that it calls for the creation of a network of parks and gardens and the neighborhood is envisioned as a food destination. Furthermore, BCC’s Oasis Foods project is creating urban farms and developing food-based businesses.

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Good Landlord Program | Housing Alliance of PA

710 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

downloadPROJECT: Good Landlord Program

PROGRAM: 2016 Small & Simple

GRANTEE: Housing Alliance of PA

The  Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania will develop resources for private market landlords to bring and keep naturally occurring affordable homes (NOAHs) up to code through a Good Landlord Program. The project includes researching and implementing a viable Rental Rehab and Repair reimbursement program design, as well as creating recommendations of best practices for landlords renting to low-to-moderate income (LMI) tenants. The Good Landlord Program will become a pipeline of private market rental units for tenant-based rental assistance programs through the homeless system and for Housing Choice Voucher recipients.

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Hill District Community Wireless Network | Meta Mesh

Hill Community Development Corporation, Centre Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

download-1PROJECT: Hill District Community Wireless Network

PROGRAM: 2016 Small & Simple

GRANTEE: Meta Mesh Wireless Communities

Meta Mesh seeks to empower and provide the resources for Hill District residents to create a secure, resilient and scalable wireless network. This network will not only provide Internet access, but also become a community hub for distributing information related to public safety and events and serve as an economic development tool to attract an increased flow of business settlements and consumer activity to the area.

Meta Mesh will train residents of the Hill District to install, troubleshoot, maintain and expand a free and open Community Wireless Network (CWN) and purchase the materials to implement a 20-node network.

For this project, Meta Mesh will:

• Provide materials, equipment, training, food during events, and expertise during installation. They will additionally conduct educational programming for the Hill District residents on deploying and maintaining their community-owned wireless network. The CWN that Meta Mesh will install will become a part of the broader existing network known as PittMesh.

• Bring proven expertise in wireless network deployment for communities. The project will be installed efficiently under Meta Mesh and its partners’ guidance and the proficiency to maintain the network will be transferred to the community.

• Assist in deploying a seed network of 20 indoor and outdoor routers (nodes) covering the densest area of the business population in the Hill District. This will serve as the core of the network from which to expand.

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Manufacturing 2000 Quick Train | New Century Careers:

305 East Carson Street, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

PROJECT: Manufacturing 2000 Quick Traincourse1

PROGRAM: 2016 Small & Simple

GRANTEE: New Century Careers

Quick-Train is offered at NCC’s Training Innovation Center on the South Side and in the Allegheny County Jail. NCC recruits, enrolls, screens and trains job seekers- with a focus on young adults-for this time-shortened (250, 450 or 600 hours) pre-apprenticeship program. NCC is the only Pittsburgh nonprofit organization currently providing this type of training free-of-charge to high school graduates and GED-completers.

Quick-Train incorporates modifications learned through a pilot project with the Allegheny County Jail Collaborative in which online learning was paired with hands-on training. This pilot program confirmed the efficiency and efficacy of online machining-related training.

Quick-Train allows un/underemployed men and women 18 and older to enter the manufacturing workforce within as few as three months, benefiting trainees who don’t have the financial means or time to enroll in longer training programs. In collaboration with industry, NCC provides classroom and hands-on machining training, instruction in math, machine theory, part print reading and metrology, plus special sessions focused on professional development and resume writing.

During the first 150 hours of Quick-Train, participants complete 50 online machining-related classes, followed by 100 hours of hands-on shop training at NCC’s Training Innovation Center. Licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Education and accredited by the National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS), the center has three classroom spaces and a shop floor with industrial mills, lathes, saws, grinders and Computer Numerical Control (CNC) equipment.

Trainees immediately begin their job search after 250 hours of training. They work with NCC staff to create resumes, apply for employment opportunities and attend employer expos. NCC staff members distribute trainee resumes to partner companies and other employers seeking machinists.

NCC will purchase tools and measuring instruments for its Training Innovation Center to equip Quick-Train participants with the technical skills needed for successful employment with Pittsburgh’s manufacturers.

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Homewood Summer 2016 Self-Guided Tour | Operation Better Block

801 North Homewood Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

dscn2594PROJECT: Homewood Summer 2016 Self-Guided Tour

PROGRAM: 2016 Small & Simple

GRANTEE: Operation Better Block

Homewood is home to many noteworthy people, an array of historic places and creative endeavors. Homewood’s history is also one of Pittsburgh’s most noticeable, having gone through many cultural, ethnic and socioeconomic changes over the last century. However, Homewood’s positive assets have been overshadowed by decades of neglect and disenfranchisement along with negative images in the media. The frequent, unfavorable narrative has impacted Homewood’s image and the project team wants to change the story.

The project team will celebrate and give voice to Homewood through storytelling with the launch of the first Homewood Self-Guided Art & Cultural Tour this summer. The tour will highlight treasures in the neighborhood, both present and no longer here, to those who live, work and play in Homewood, as well as the greater Pittsburgh community.

The Tour will present an opportunity to build off the work that has already been done in the community. OBB’s Business and Institutional Corridor Cluster Plan gathered input from residents and stakeholders and the main theme that emerged was the goal of establishing Homewood as an African-American cultural destination by celebrating Homewood’s storied history, building up the existing art community, and placing a special focus on food, music, theater, visual arts and literature. This Tour will be the first activity that will demonstrate and showcase the rich culture of Homewood.

Community members and visitors will enjoy a self-guided tour, map and neighborhood guide that is free and open to the public from 11am – 5pm on Saturday, July 16th, 2016. A tour van to accommodate senior citizens and people with disabilities will be available for a designated time. The tour will be held during the Harambee Festival and the project team will utilize this opportunity to expand their collaboration as well as cross-market the events to gain positive traction.

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Co-Workshop Membership Start-Up Support | Pittsburgh Green Innovators

Energy Innovation Center, Bedford Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

283613_10151775603466808_854405097_nPROJECT: Co-Workshop Membership Start-Up Support

PROGRAM: 2016 Small & Simple

GRANTEE: Pittsburgh Green Innovators

This grant will support CoWorkshop Membership Fee Start-Up Support for two small non-profits for Pittsburgh Green Innovator’s co-working space at the EIC. With a preference for stable workspace and collaborative environment, yet limited means of startup budgets, the nonprofits have committed to providing $100 per month for their CoWorkshop Membership. PGI’s rate is $350 per month and they have already applied a community partner discount of $250 per month. PGI is requesting a total of $4,500 for membership fee support ($150 per month for 15 months each). The two occupants will be Black Urban Gardeners and Farmers of Pittsburgh (BUGs) and M-Powerhouse, a new educational program delivered to 4th through 6th graders from the Hill District Community using the CoWorkshop work room and the Citizens Science Lab in the EIC, with prospects for expanding to additional schools. PGI is looking to connect BUGs to community Kitchens of Pittsburgh through use of the EIC.

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Urban Farming in Manchester | Pittsburgh Struggling Student Assoc.

1320 Liverpool Street, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

dscn2777PROJECT: Urban Farming in Manchester

PROGRAM: 2016 Small & Simple

GRANTEE: Pittsburgh Struggling Student Association

The Pittsburgh Struggling Student Association seeks to address food insecurity in Manchester and its status as a food desert by using the Manchester Growing Together Farm as a hands-on educational classroom, teaching and reinforcing healthy eating and living, and economic empowerment. This farm, a small-scale direct to market farm, will soon be a certified natural grown farm which will enable them to host three FREE summer community dinners in order to provide a family setting and engage conversation among the community. PSSA will purchase a 16’x’32 pre-fabricated portable building with a kitchen and a pavilion from Ken’s Sheds of Slippery Rock that will be delivered fully constructed and usable to the site. This building will afford them the opportunity to sell and provide milk and cheese products and refrigeration to ensure freshness of the farmed products. The building also has a covered pavilion that offers a sheltered farmer’s market retail space as well as a classroom space for children’s programming, communal dinners, cooking demonstrations and meeting space. PSSA will also monitor and provide opportunity for youth that are court-ordered to perform community service hours. The site will mentor all youth who attend their summer youth programming. This will help reinforce positive behaviors and attitudes of youth who may be inclined to be involved in delinquent behaviors. Rewards will be earned based on attendance and behavior.

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No Place Like Homewood Mural | Moving the Lives of Kids

7008 Bennett Street, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

dscf7007PROJECT: No Place Like Homewood Mural

PROGRAM: 2016 Small & Simple

GRANTEE: Moving the Lives of Kids

MLK Mural focuses on the arts, youth development and education. MLK Mural was founded by artist and muralist Kyle Holbrook and opened their office in Homewood in 2002.

The Murals are guided by qualified professional artists/educators experienced in working with youth, public art and community engagement. The Youth Artists learn about the history and culture of their own community, and then translate their images into vividly colorful Murals in public spaces. The Youth Artists are paid for their commitment to neighborhood beautification and civic duty. They learn job responsibilities while participating in positive peer groups making positive impacts on their communities. MLK teamed up with Mayor Peduto, the Homewood Renaissance, and many other stakeholders to create a mural program that will kick off in the summer of 2016.

Moving Lives of Kids will select local youth through partner organizations, PSYEP programs, and from the website to participate in the summer mural program. Each student will have the opportunity to work for 6 weeks side-by-side with professional artists creating works of public art that both beautify the community and express the positive vision of Homewood.

Once the location has been selected and a selection committee has volunteered to review submissions, a call for artists is held. After artists have been prescreened and prequalified, they receive information from MLK Mural on themes and ideas expressed by the community. Once MLK Mural has submissions from three to five artists, they pre-sent them to the community. Community Empowerment and Homewood Renaissance are the collaborative partners.

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Homewood Community Sports: Stargell Field NFL/LISC Predevelopment

Frazier Street, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

IMG_2789PROJECT:  Stargell Field NFL/LISC Predevelopment

PROGRAM: 2016 Small & Simple

GRANTEE: Homewood Community Sports

Homewood Community Sports will work with Operation Better Block (OBB), Studio for Spatial Practice, Neighborhood Allies, neighborhood residents, city government agencies and other community stakeholders to submit a competitive application for the NFL/LISC Grassroots grant opportunity. OBB will serve as the lead applicant for the NFL/LISC grant.

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Community Kitchen Pittsburgh Relocation | Action Housing:

Hazelwood, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

70a2ee_65d0843d07d2439fb1936f60a11aa779-mv2PROJECT: Community Kitchen Pittsburgh Relocation

PROGRAM: 2016 Small & Simple


Over a three week period, ACTION-Housing contracted with Fourth Economy to complete an initial scan of possible federal and state funding opportunities to assist in the relocation and consolidation of the Pittsburgh Community Kitchen Commissary into the Oddfellows building in Hazelwood. Fourth Economy identified multiple opportunities, with the Economic Development Assistant Program being the strongest possibility since they have a rolling application period. This grant will support securing a consultant to help Community Kitchen and ACTION-Housing in the preparation of the application to the Economic Development Assistant Program.

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Data 101 Training Series | UCSUR

University of Pittsburgh, Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

parcel-extractor-1024x736PROJECT: Data 101 Training Series

PROGRAM: 2016 Small & Simple


Data 101 is a training series, jointly developed by the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and the Western Pennsylvania Regional Data Center, teaches foundational skills and concepts to help people become data literate. This funding will support the creation of a toolkit in partnership with Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh for extending the Data 101 concept to public libraries and other organizations. This work includes documenting existing workshops and materials, developing and testing two additional Data 101 workshops, and piloting training and other models for knowledge transfer to allow new organizations to adopt and teach the Data 101 series. The Regional Data Center and the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh intend to release these materials with an open license, allowing others to use and modify them to meet the needs of their audience. While the Regional Data Center’s involvement with Data 101 is largely limited to the first year of the program, the Library intends to institutionalize the series as part of its core programming.

Measuring Impact:

The impact of the Data 101 toolkit will be measured by continuing to survey Data 101 attendees and tracking the number of organizations that adopt the Data 101 training model. Participants at every workshop have completed a satisfaction survey providing feedback on the workshop, an understanding of the motivation for attending, and ideas for future workshops. Continued use of this survey will allow the partners to assess the quality of new workshops, and understand how the training conducted by new organizations compares to the initial workshop series. The partners will refine our dissemination plan and workshop materials based on this type of feedback.

The partners will also keep track of the number of organizations that adopt the Data 101 training model. Their plan is to publicly post all training materials on the Regional Data Center’s open data portal. Doing so will allow them to track metrics such as the number of downloads and views. They will also track the number of technical assistance requests, and record anecdotal information on the number of cities that adopt this model as discovered through their professional networks.

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Oakland Affordable Living Project | OPDC

2561 Allequippa Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, United States

PROJECT: Oakland Affordable Living

PROGRAM: 2016 Predevelopment Loan

PARTNER: Oakland Planning and Development Corp.



Aligning with Oakland 2025, the neighborhood’s community plan, the Oakland Affordable Living Project supports the plan’s identified housing goal to provide innovative, sustainable housing choices for diverse new residents who are attracted To Oakland’s vitality and amenities. It will also preserve workforce housing in Oakland and begin to address the need for affordable housing for
low-income working people looking for good quality housing in Oakland near jobs and transportation.

The OAL Project will:

  • Preserve and improve 24 affordable units as Allequippa Place
  • Produce an additional 25 affordable units
  • Five of the units will serve households earning at or below 20% AMI
  • Twenty of the units will serve households earning at or below 50% AMI
  • All units will serve residents at or below 60% AMI
  • Six units will be handicap accessible and two units will designed with audio/visual elements
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Omicelo Cares | Real Estate Co-Powerment Series

980 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

Real Estate Co-Powerment Series | Omicelo Cares | $75,000 Catalytic Grant

Learn more about the impact and results of this investment.

Neighborhood Allies and Omicelo Cares are the co-creators of the Real Estate Co-Powerment Series (“Co-Powerment Series”) which serve as an education platform to demystify the real estate development process, explain its associated terminology and demonstrate how community members/organizations can meaningfully contribute to real estate projects within their own neighborhoods. This initiative is a combination of in-class instruction, coaching, and mentorship.

An overarching goal of the education series is to shrink the technical proficiency gap that exists between real estate developers and community leaders that are involved in local development projects. We hope to create long-term, working relationships between private developers, real estate experts, community based organizations, business owners and active community members.

As the co-creator and primary administrator of the program, Omicelo Cares will produce the final curriculum, create two real estate course-tracks: one for beginners and another for those more advanced, administer pre-and post- class surveys, interview and hire instructors and monitor mentee/mentor relationships.

Other key partners include the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, Green Building Alliance and NeighborWorks of Western PA.

The Co-Powerment Series will include 3 months of instruction specifically geared toward the participants’ projects. Each session will be a learning circle/workshop environment with the assistance of technical experts where the lessons learned become immediately applicable to the participants’ day-to-day leadership activities. Our goal is for at least 1 of the real-world projects to be developed after each course is complete.

The pilot class will consist of 20 students (2 cohorts of 10) from neighborhoods on the cusp of significant change, specifically Neighborhood Allies’ 6 priority geographies (Homewood, the Hill District, Hilltop, Larimer, Millvale and Wilkinsburg)  with the potential of having additional participants from other local neighborhoods. Students will be community residents, CDC/CBO staff members, non-profit board members, small business owners with varying levels of exposure to the real estate discipline.

At the end of the course, students will:

  1. Be able to evaluate deals and negotiate based on market realities and for the benefit of residents;
  2. Improve their ability to articulate community vision and expected outcomes utilizing the language of development;
  3. Identify creative ways to participate financially in development opportunities;
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New Granada Capital Campaign | Hill CDC

2015 Centre Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

New Granada Capital Campaign | Hill CDC | $15,000 Catalytic Grant

This grant supports a capital campaign planning study to asses the potential of raising as much as $10 million for the revitalization of the New Granada Theater. The comprehensive planning study, being conducted by David Goettler of Goettler Associates, is a critical evaluation of the organization’s capabilities and readiness to attain its goals and it will yield a specific strategy to reach those goals. This study ensures that the Hill CDC launches a campaign that encompasses the highest and best use of the building for the socio-economic benefit of the corridor and surrounding community.

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Moose Lodge | New Sun Rising

112 e Sherman Street, Millvale, PA, United States

Related News:

Moose Lodge | New Sun Rising | $260,000 Loan | $72,000 Catalytic Grant

New Sun Rising’s (NSR) Moose Project is a direct result of the growth in food, energy, water & equity initiatives supported through the resident-driven Millvale EcoDistrict Pivot Plan, which along with a dedicated group of leaders and residents, drives development and planning throughout the community. 

One of NSR’s signature initiatives is the MODE Incubator System. Seeded by a Small & Simple grant from Neighborhood Allies in 2014, the NSR MODE social innovation system incubates clusters of underserved business and project leaders through programming, services, and resources. Leading up to the launch of the Moose Project, NSR implemented the Launch Millvale Food Enterprise Incubator, which consisted of 10 social enterprises comprising a local food system, including food waste reduction, composting, growing and education, logistics, retail, and a food hub. In just one year, the cluster established new food businesses, created jobs, and attracted additional investment and food businesses.

Building upon that success, with LISC/Neighborhood Allies investment and support, NSR will be repurposing the old Moose Lodge in the community to become sustainability resource hub. The 10,000 sq. foot building will not only be a vibrant community asset and home of NSR, it will also house a minimum of 5 food businesses, serve as a fresh food access point for the community including fresh food from the Gardens of Millvale, 412 Food Rescue, and Sprezzatura (cafe), and serve as the backbone facility for the development of the Millvale EcoDistrict Food System.

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Millvale: Nurture Nature | Pittsburgh Schweitzer Fellows Program

Millvale, PA, United States

Millvale: Nurture Nature | Pittsburgh Schweitzer Fellows Program | $1,600 Catalytic Grant

Amanda Hagl, a Fellow/Physican Assistant at Duquesne University’s School of Health Sciences, will work with Millvale children and families with asthma to improve their health literacy and efficacy of inhaler use as well as triggers inside and outside. She will provide asthma health education classes at the Millvale Library and information about the existing resources available to underprivileged people suffering from asthma in Pittsburgh. Additionally she will provide radon kits for families and radon education.

Environmental health is a school of thought that recognizes the social, economic, and physical determinants of health. Creating healthier communities requires more than just expanding access to care, but also establishing environmental justice and expanding health education. Due to the need to expand public health knowledge to address health care disparities and to raise interest in environmental concerns, Amanda plans to develop interactive environmental health classes that educate parents and children about additional environmental health factors that may influence health.

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Pgh Mobile Toolbox | GTECH Strategies

GTECH Strategies, Hamilton Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

PGH Mobile Toolbox | GTECH Strategies | $15,750 Special Initiatives Grant

You bring the team. We bring the tools. That’s the slogan for the PGH Mobile Toolbox, which supports a growing network of Pittsburgh residents who are ready to mobilize to transform their communities. Beginning in April, 2017, this shared community resource will be available, free of charge, to volunteer groups and organizations who need landscaping tools for neighborhood cleanups, vacant lot beautification, or the implementation and maintenance of food gardens, green infrastructure, trails or general community gathering spaces.

Visit the Lots To Love website to learn more and even reserve the PGH Mobile Toolbox for your community project!

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Land Steward Professional Development in Hill District, Millvale and Hilltop | Landforce

2 South 6th Street, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

Land Steward Professional Development in Hill District, Millvale and Hilltop | Landforce | $65,000 Catalytic Grant

Landforce will recruit from and work in three of Neighborhood Allies’ priority geographies- the Hilltop, the Hill District and Millvale. Landforce has worked closely with the CBOs and other nonprofits in each neighborhood to ensure that the projects shown below reflect important priorities for each community, reflecting real ownership over the process and outcomes. A brief outline of the recruiting and project work in each location follows:

  • Hill District: working with FOCUS Pittsburgh to identify potential recruits and projects. FOCUS Pittsburgh, collaborating with GTECH Strategies’ ReClaim Central program, has asked Landforce to help clear debris and rebuild a retaining wall at 2956 Webster Avenue, a vacant lot owned by St. Luke’s Baptist Church. The ReClaim Ambassador will leverage Landforce’s contribution by adding benches, signs and artwork to the site.
  • Millvale: working with Millvale Library, Millvale Borough, and North Hills Community Outreach to recruit from the Millvale area. Landforce will work with Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, who have existing projects in Millvale, to maintain planted restoration areas in Millvale Riverfront Park, mulch and weed hillside plantings along Route 28, and possibly assist with tree care and bioswale events.
  • Hilltop: working with UrbanKind Institute, Beltzhoover Consensus Group (BGC), Knoxville Community Council (KCC) and the Hilltop Alliance to recruit potential crew members and identify potential projects. The project idea in Knoxville is to prepare a site for a Kaboom playground and in Beltzhoover, a heavy/initial clearing of vacant lots.

Anticipated Results:

  • Hire one crew member from each identified neighborhood: Hill District, Hilltop and Millvale;
  • Complete retaining wall & lot clearance in Hill District;
  • Complete 2 to 3 restoration / maintenance projects in Millvale;
  • Complete 2 vacant lot projects in Hilltop;
  • Hire 14 crew members
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Life Home Ownership and Housing Services in and for Larimer | WAVES

547 Paulson Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15206, USA

Willissae’s Agency for Vision and Empowerment (WAVEs) is providing home ownership workshops to individuals residing in the inner city Pittsburgh neighborhood of Larimer.

This $15,000 investment will positively impact Quality of Life in Larimer.

Anticipated Results:

  • 35 people receiving homeownership training
  • 8 first-time homebuyers
  • 26 participants become home-ownership eligible


Willissae’s Agency for Vision and Empowerment provides home ownership workshops to individuals residing in Larimer. They help individuals to set attainable goals, learn valuable financial information, and connect with people who can help find a home that’s right for their needs! See some recent participants of the workshops, now home-ownership eligible, in the photo below! 

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Homewood Bennett Street Development | Habitat for Humanity

Bennett Street, Pittsburgh, PA, USA

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Pittsburgh intends to build four new homes on Bennett Street in Homewood, providing four families with financial literacy education and homeownership through a 30-year, 0% interest mortgage with a one-year warranty.

This $15,000 investment will positively impact Quality of Life in Homewood. 

Anticipated Results:

  • 4 first-time homebuyers
  • 4 properties stabilized
  • 4 people receiving homeownership training
  • 4 people receiving financial coaching
  • 4 people with increased wealth and savings


The homes have been built on Bennett Street! We cannot wait to see them filled with new homeowners! Check out the timelapse below to see Habitat’s build process.

Homewood Timelapse from Habitat Pittsburgh on Vimeo.

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Hill District Tenant Leadership Development Program | Hill District Consensus Group

126 Erin St, Pittsburgh, PA 15219, USA

The Hill District Consensus Group will design and deliver specialized trainings for 15 tenants and provide them with on-site technical assistance.

This $75,000 investment will positively impact Equitable Development in the Hill District.

Anticipated Results:

  • A solidified program including curriculum, modules, evaluation system and tools developed
  • 12 tenants completing the Tenant Leadership Development Program
  • 5 successful mediations/linkages conducted, with tenants noting improved housing conditions and/or housing access
  • 1 advocacy actions/policy recommendations to either prevent unwarranted displacement or improve housing conditions
  • 3 positive neighborhood stories included on website, social media, and newsletter


Above all, the HDCG wants to serve as an amplifier of resident voice. The tenant rights workshops serve as a venue for meaningful collaboration, inentional community support, and hope. HDCG has been at the center of the grassroots anti-displacement work in housing justice in the Hill District and continue to act as a support network, organizer, and resource center for residents. Yet, the important work of advocating for affordable housing in the Hill District and throughout Pittsburgh could not be done without the engagement, cooperation, and insight of residents.

The program currently entails monthly renter’s rights workshops, connection to local and national training opportunities and provides direct technical assistance to block clubs and tenant councils to help strengthen their work. Each monthly workshop covers a new topic, such as escrow accounts, credit building, state tenant laws, privacy rights, fair housing and disability laws, eviction process and prevention, community land trusts, development without displacement, and more. Read more:

Where Are They Now? | The Hill District Consensus Group Tenant Rights Workshop Series

  • Residents of the Hill District attended the Homes For All Renter Week of Action and Assemblies in 2017, one opportunity given to attendees of the renters rights workshops.

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2018 PopUp! Pittsburgh Project of Leadership Development Initiative

Millvale, PA, USA

Leadership Pittsburgh Inc.’s Leadership Development Initiative (LDI) Cohort will partner with Millvale community residents, leaders and stakeholders to create, select, and execute the 2018 PopUp! event in Millvale.

This $6,000 investment will positively impact Community Ownership in Millvale.

Anticipated Results:

  • 1 LDI-led PopUp project implemented
  • 50 emerging new leaders identified and engaged
  • 4 Community-based organizations and/or individuals actively engaged in the planning/execution of PopUp!


The Millvale LDI cohort and residents at Millvale’s 150th anniversary event – A Taste of Millvale – celebrating the creation of their intergenerational cookbook!

The theme for each PopUp event is created, selected, and then delivered by the class of young leaders, drawing on their critical interactions, discovery, and engagement with residents and community members, and the 2018 PopUp was no different.

In learning about Millvale through talking with the stakeholders in the community, the LDI cohort found that there was an opportunity to bring both sides of Millvale, the older and the younger generation, together through a community cookbook; Millvale is very proud of its “foodie” culture, both established and emerging. And, as we all know, food has a way of bridging, forging, and creating new relationships. Based on this common connection, the class chose to hone in on the general theme of “food.” Additionally, the class wanted to leave a tangible, lasting impact. All of these considerations led to an event designed to unify the community in celebrating Millvale’s 150th Anniversary PLUS creating a Millvale cookbook! Check out the cover of the Taste of Millvale cookbook and a featured recipe for “Rocky Road”!

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Equitable Business Development Program Designed for Minority East End Entrepreneurs | East Liberty Development Inc.

6308-6346 E Liberty Blvd, Pittsburgh, PA 15206, USA

East Liberty Development Inc. will pilot a 9-month Business Development Program, with the longer term goal of securing a permanent, supportive, co-working space for minority business development.

This $15,000 investment will positively impact Equitable Development in Larimer.

Anticipated Results:

  • 10 participants joining the Catapult Program: From Start Up to Storefront for 9 months
  • 10 one-on-one mentoring sessions held
  • 8 Educational Seminars hosted
  • 8 Networking Events for participants, program sponsors, community businesses, community leaders and strategic partners
  • 3 sites identified for Larimer storefronts


The Gallery on Penn, a brick-and-mortar triple storefront location, opened in November 2018. This offered a space in which entrepreneurs in the Catapult: Startup to Storefront program could incubate their business while receiving help with business knowledge and drawing in clients. The space offers a variety of craft goods, such as hair and skin care, clothing, and African crafts. The first cohort of participants graduated in January 2019. Read more:

Media Coverage | Incubator that fosters East End entrepreneurs graduates its first cohort

The grand opening of the Gallery on Penn in November 2018.

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BizFIT Plus Training Program | Riverside Center for Innovation

Riverside Center for Innovation, River Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, USA

Grantee: Riverside Center for Innovation (RCI)
Project Name: BizFIT Plus
Healthy Neighborhood Focus Area: Equitable Development
Amount: $75,000

BizFIT Plus is the next phase of the original BizFIT entrepreneurship training program designed to support the growth of local Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs) working within the construction industry. BizFIT provides technical training, strategy development, network-building opportunities and coaching to help DBEs grow into sustainable firms by building on their organizational strengths, core competencies and competitive advantages. Prime contractors, anchor institutions, government agencies, elected officials along with many DBE firms created the BizFIT curriculum to address the systemic issues and barriers that hinder the growth of DBEs.

For the 2018 initiative, RCI will specifically target higher capacity DBE firms that have the growth potential to bid and service contracts of $100,000 or more through the support of the BizFIT Plus program. Many of the firms in the pipeline for BizFIT Plus are recent graduates of the original BizFIT Tier 1 and Tier 2 training programs.

Anticipated Results:

  • 15 MWDBEs will increase contract awards by 5-10%
  • 15 current MWDBEs will have informational websites created
  • 15 MWDBE microenterprises will increase their total annual revenues by 5-10%
  • 15 MWDBEs will be mentored in a CEO Roundtable Series
  • 15 MWDBE businesses will be enrolled in the new web portal for large contracting opportunities
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Summer Academy | St. Paul AME Church

St Paul AME Church, Orchard Place, Pittsburgh, PA, USA

Grantee: St. Paul AME Church
Project Name: Summer Academy
Healthy Neighborhood Focus Area: Quality of Life
Amount: $15,000

St. Paul AME Church will provide educational assistance to the children of the Hilltop Communities by offering a program with curriculum that combats summer slide.

Anticipated Results:

  • 1 youth-serving programs and/or spaces created
  • 3 people connected with a job
  • 20 positive neighborhood stories cultivated
  • 1 resident-led projects implemented
  • 25 emerging new leaders identified and engaged


Some photos from the 2018 St. Paul AME Hilltop Summer Academy:

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Supporting a Food Cluster | Wilkinsburg CDC

1000 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, USA

Grantee: Wilkinsburg CDC
Project Name: Food Cluster
Healthy Neighborhood Focus Area: Market Confidence
Amount: $75,000

The Wilkinsburg CDC has administered business workshops over the past two years. They have worked with many entrepreneurs to start their business, only to see them locate in other neighborhoods due to a lack of available code compliant space within the Wilkinsburg business district. The WCDC see this challenge as being one of supply not of demand and would like to both expand and refine their business workshop program to help link entrepreneurs to spaces in Wilkinsburg’s business district.

The project scope is built upon feedback from previous program participants and building owners and is designed to comprehensively address the barriers that inhibit occupancy. The project includes the following elements:
1) Business Workshops
2) Individual Business Consultations
3) Real Estate Feasibility & Technical Assistance
4) Matching Storefront Improvement Grants
5) Rental Assistance Program

Anticipated results:

  • 3 re-activated vacant or inactive commercial properties/units
  • 12 entrepreneurs and start-up businesses that will receive technical assistance
  • 4 existing businesses receiving long-term assistance


The Wilkinsburg Community Development Corporation held a free 8 week course for local entrepreneurs in order to support more businesses moving into Wilkinsburg storefronts. The photo below shows some of their graduates! We can’t wait to see what these entrepreneurs do next on their journeys! 

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Workforce Housing | Trade Institute of Pittsburgh

7900 Susquehanna Street, Pittsburgh, PA, USA

Grantee: Trade Institute of Pittsburgh
Project Name: Workforce Housing
Healthy Neighborhood Focus Area: Equitable Development
Amount: $75,000

Trade Institute of Pittsburgh (TIP) will offer transitional housing for program participants in their Apprentice in Training program (AITs) in need of stable and safe housing while they complete training programs and seek employment. This transitional housing will allow AITs to stabilize, save money, and prepare for independent living while simultaneously gaining construction and carpentry skills as they renovate and maintain the house. An apprentice who has successfully graduated from the AIT program at TIP will live in the community house, and serve as the house manager by orienting new students to the house, ensuring compliance with house rules. Residents will also have access to the supportive services available at TIP. While working on the house, students will contribute a portion of their salary to rent. TIP has committed to providing housing for at least twelve individuals from Sept. 1, 2018- July 1, 2019. This model addresses the pervasive issues of finding affordable housing for people who have criminal records. It provides the individuals housed with the opportunity to learn renovation, home repair, and maintenance skills, in addition to what they are learning through their training program; and it pilots a model that if successful, the Trade Institute of Pittsburgh can expand to other houses and other training/program providers can replicate.

Anticipated results:

  • 12 unemployed/underemployed workers gaining access to living-wage jobs
  • 12 people gaining access to affordable housing in a redeveloping neighborhood
  • 3 residents positioned to stay in their home when facing displacement
  • 2 affordable units preserved
  • 12 people facing barriers to housing are housed while learning a skilled trade


The Trade Institute of Pittsburgh will be offering transitional workforce housing to students in training and those that have graduated TIP and are working jobs throughout Pittsburgh. They will be able to house eight individuals after the renovations, performed by the current Apprentices in Training, are completed in late 2019. After graduates live in TIP’s workforce housing for one year, TIP plan believes that they will be stable enough to rent their own apartments or buy their own houses throughout Pittsburgh neighborhoods! See some photos of the construction below!

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Bedford Dwellings Choice Planning Grant | Allies and Ross

Webster Ave & Bedford Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15219, USA

Grantee: Allies and Ross 
Project Name: Bedford Dwellings Choice Planning Grant
Healthy Neighborhood Focus Area: Community Ownership
Amount: $15,000

To further the development of Choice Neighborhood’s People Plan through the facilitation of 6 focus groups, 4 strategy development teams and writing the draft plan focusing on employment, education, public safety and health.

In June 2016, The Housing Authority of Pittsburgh and the City of Pittsburgh were awarded a Choice Neighborhoods (CN) Planning Grant for Bedford Dwellings/Hill District. The CN Initiative is HUD’s place-based initiative in support of a comprehensive approach to neighborhood transformation based on the three core goals of: Housing, People and Neighborhood, which are defined as follows:
• Housing: Revitalize severely distressed public and/or assisted housing
• People: Support positive outcomes for residents health, safety, employment, mobility and education
• Neighborhood: Transform distress neighborhoods into viable, mixed-income neighborhoods with access to services, public assets and amenities.

The People working group, led by Duquesne University and the Hill House Association, has completed a comprehensive data gathering and needs assessment which included a resident needs assessment that surveyed 78% of Bedford Dwellings residents and multiple community meetings including a July Community Visioning Session.

The People Team will compile what they have learned through all of the community meetings, resident survey, focus groups and stakeholder meetings to determine the strategies the community has identified to meet the needs identified. After the second Community Visioning Session in October, strategy development teams, led by Duquesne faculty and consisting of residents, providers, government agencies, and other stakeholders will meet to create action steps and timelines for each strategy identified through the community planning process. Duquense is responsible for writing the actual people plan.

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Community Makers Local Fair Trade | Ujamma Collective

1901 Centre Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15219, USA

Grantee: Ujamma Collective
Project Name: Community Makers Local Fair Trade
Healthy Neighborhood Focus Area: Quality of Life
Amount: $15,000

To provide cultural connections and entrepreneurial exploration through practical art and making activities for teens and young adults, with a focus on African American females.

This project builds upon Ujamma’s ongoing focus around identifying and affirming the value of Africana makers/artisans who primarily come from marginalized communities in our local region and global family, as well as their respective crafts. In addition, this project also answers the current concentration on developing grassroots cooperative crafting groups using creative interests matched with some of the proven strategies of the global fair trade movement. Ujamaa Collective has worked with refugee and immigrant African populations to bring clothing and art décor from their respective homes, along with the local African American community, and several fair trade organizations and social enterprises located around the world. In November of 2015, we launched our first Ujamaa-branded line of skirts and accessories called Royal Roots Collection. Royal Roots was birthed among Ujamaa’s members and a partnership with an NGO based in Karagwe, Tanzania in East Africa. Designed locally, the skirts were produced over a two week trip in a fair trade exchange of labor with women and youth learning sewing skills as a strategy to reduce poverty in their global community. It is our intention to continue building upon this relationship, applying for Fair Trade certification and bringing an international flair into our local Pittsburgh market. This experience has helped shape what we see as possible here in Pittsburgh.

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