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Grassroots Grantmakers “On the Ground” Connects Pittsburghers with funding opportunities for resident-led efforts

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The On The Ground Conference, hosted by Grassroots Grantmakers a consortium of place based funders, was held in Pittsburgh this year from September 13th-16th at The New Hazlett Theater.

The annual event gathers together grant funders and resident stakeholders to collaborate on how to encourage asset based community development, and how to connect neighborhoods with funding opportunities for resident-led efforts. With Neighborhood Allies support, 13 members of the Love My Neighbor! Grassroots Grantmaking Committee (GGC) shared their work and efforts with the home based Love My Neighbor! grant program.

Grassroots Grantmaker’s Executive Director Lisa Duran and the Sprout Fund’s Mac Howison led large group discussions on resident-led neighborhood change, bringing together a national panel of funders and community stakeholders to share their knowledge. There were also opportunities to engage in smaller conversations as well as resident led neighborhood tours of Pittsburgh.

During a panel discussion Pittsburgh Funders and Grassroots Grantee partners, Tia Torres a resident grantmaker of the Love My Neighbor! grant program and Roy Blankenship, a grantee of the program, both shared their stories and spoke about the power and importance of resident-led change:

Photo Credit: Renee Rosensteel

“Grassroots grantmaking means cutting out the middle man and funding those who are directly impacted. Because those folks are the ones who are the experts at their experience. Folks on the ground know what it takes to create and maintain sustainable and systematic change. When done correctly, grassroots grantmaking is radical and everlasting.”

– Tia Torres, GGC member

Photo Credit: Renee Rosensteel

“We need to have initiatives that will grip our community, and funders who see us as the experts. As someone who has made the transition to become a productive member of my community, all the doors are opening and I hope that the right people are listening.”

–Roy Blankenship, GGC member

Through the exchange of knowledge between funder and stakeholder, the conference concluded with a call to action to promote a greater understanding on the importance of approaching residents as asset-based, engaging stakeholders in the funding process, and strengthening community networks through relationship building.


For more information on Grassroots Grantmakers and the “On the Ground” Gathering, visit their website.

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