Media Coverage | Steel Smiling secures largest grant in organization’s history

Mar 17, 2022

By Jordyn Hronec  | Pittsburgh Business Times | Mar 16, 2022 | Read the full article

Steel Smiling, an organization-in-residence at Neighborhood Allies that is dedicated to connecting communities with mental health support, announced that it has secured the largest grant in its history.

The $1 million multi-year grant is being gifted by the Henry L. Hillman Foundation. The grant funds will be used to support the organization’s goals of exposing every Black resident in Pittsburgh to “a positive mental health experience that improves their quality of life” by 2030.

“This generous investment from the Henry L. Hillman Foundation will allow the Steel Smiling team to deliver upon our planned growth over the next two years,” Cait Lee, operations director of Steel Smiling, said. “Through this award, we will be able to scale our programming, hire additional talent, and better serve the local demand for mental health services in our region’s Black communities.”

Steel Smiling as been an organization-in-residence of Neighborhood Allies since August 2021. The organization-in-residence program was designed with the intention to elevate local, Black-led nonprofits by interrupting inequitable patterns of resource distribution in the nonprofit sector. The program mirrors business incubators in the for-profit sector.

The relationship allows Neighborhood Allies, a nonprofit dedicated to creating opportunity through capital programs and strategic resources and moving low-income residents in Pittsburgh up the socio-economic ladder, to serve as a mentoring entity to Steel Smiling. Since 2020, Steel Smiling has worked to coordinate over 3,000 hours of mental health support, has reinvested almost $1 million and has supported over 300 members of the community via its Beams to Bridges and Black Mental Health Fund programs.

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