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Media Coverage | Pittsburgh communities receive over $5.2 million in grants, Neighborhood Capital program to launch

Sep 20, 2022

By: Hannah Wyman | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | September 20, 2022 | Read the full article

Initiatives in Pittsburgh’s Hill District, Uptown, and West Oakland communities were among organizations awarded over $5.2 million in grants by McAuley MinistriesPittsburgh Mercy’s grant-making foundation, the nonprofit announced Monday.

The 18 grants awarded are to support advocacy, capacity building, community and economic development, education and health and wellness initiatives in specific Pittsburgh neighborhoods. 

This will include a $2 million grant to a three-year program by Neighborhood Allies, an organization aimed to support neighborhoods by providing resources, facilitating networks and hosting collaboration. The program, Neighborhood Capital, would complete the continuum of real estate investment capital for local Black developers and Black communities starting with the neighborhoods of the Hill District, Uptown and West Oakland.

According to Pittsburgh Mercy, these specific communities are facing development pressure that threatens to destabilize and displace long-time residents. Black and low-income communities are often forced to compromise their visions or compete against other demographically similar neighborhoods for scarce resources. 

The project will support 10 real estate projects in these communities.  

Neighborhood Capital is the first initiative to come out of a new focus by McAuley Ministries in which the foundation works to diminish racism and violence in communities.

“We believe that a healthy and vibrant society is one in which all people are respected, their gifts and cultural heritage are appreciated, the opportunity to participate fully in the life of the community is available, and people can live in the community of their choice in peace and security,” said Marisol Valentin, executive director of McAuley Ministries. “We, along with our neighborhood partners, want to intentionally address and remedy the evils of racist ideological thoughts, structural racism, and violence by working together in programs McAuley Ministries currently supports as well as new initiatives toward this goal.”

McAuley Ministries will start an advisory council composed of members who represent and advocate for change to launch an expanded community engagement initiative.

Grouped by grant-making priorities, the 18 grant recipients announced Monday are below.

Advocacy

  • Regional Housing Legal Services: $153,000 payable over two years to continue working on McAuley Ministries’ affordable housing priority.

Capacity Building

  • The Citizen Science Lab: $500,000 to expand operations to accommodate growth and provide youth with full access to premier hands-on STEM programs by relocating to the Martin Luther King Jr. Reading and Cultural Center in the Hill District.
  • Jubilee Association: $500,000 to renovate/expand their facility to increase accessibility, space, and safety and strengthen programming including enhancing their Preventing Homelessness Program.
  • Program to Aid Citizen Enterprise: $252,450 to support leadership coaching and the Regional Indicators of Community & Nonprofit Well-Being Program for three years.
  • Pilot Community Ambassador Project: $238,000 to support staff, technical assistance and training while creating a comprehensive digital catalog of resources anyone can easily navigate.

Community Development

  • Food Helpers: $130,000 to Moving Lives of Kids Arts Center to create four permanent works of public art in the Hill District. 
  • Neighborhood Allies: $2 million to launch Neighborhood Capital in the greater Hill District. The program will support 10 transformative real estate projects in the neighborhood.
  • Travelers Aid: $76,500 to renew their Transportation Assistance Program, which removes the transportation barrier for individuals to attend training programs at the Energy Innovation Center.

Education

  • 1Hood Media: $153,000 payable over three years to resume educational programming for youth ages 16 to 26 and those who interact with them by adding staff and offering staff development opportunities.
  • Center that CARES: $173,400 to support its after-school program, Passport to Success, and Hill Loop transportation programs for the next year.
  • Hug Me Tight Childlife Centers: $224,400 for operational support for the fiscal year 2022/2023.
  • The Pittsburgh Promise: $153,000 payable over three years to support their “Promise Coaches” at Pittsburgh Milliones University Preparatory School in the Hill District to increase the percentage of ninth graders who earn a post-secondary credential within 10 years to 80% by 2030.
  • Small Seeds Development Inc.: $153,000 payable over two years to support for the Mother to Son Program, providing single mothers and female guardians, their male children (ages 5 to 18), and their sons’ siblings with emotional support, training and workshops to build family self-sufficiency.

Health & Wellness

  • ACH Clear Pathways: $76,500 to start up their arts programming for senior citizens.
  • American National Red Cross Western PA Region: $10,200 to help the Red Cross support fire victims in its neighborhoods.
  • The Neighborhood Resilience Project: $499,800 for the Community Support Programming of the organization.
  • The Pittsburgh Contingency: $73,440 to fund the Senior Jazz Connection for one year. The program will gather seniors living in the Hill District and connect them to vital community resources while providing recreational and social time and building a database of senior needs and community services.
  • Venture Outdoors: $51,000 to expand outdoor learning experiences and leadership opportunities for youth and young adults through outdoor learning, environmental career exploration and mentorships.

Top Header Image Photo Credit: Prototyping Larimer Stories by artist John Peña, photo by OPA