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Love My Neighbor! Grantees Turn Up the Heat for Summer 2019

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This year, the Grassroots Grantmaking Committee funded 47 resident projects, totaling $96,073 in funding for our neighborhoods! Check out some of the hottest projects that took place in Summer 2019!

Style Engineers Wilkinsburg Fashion Design Bootcamp

Kameron and Dominique Branson, proud residents of Wilkinsburg, wanted to find a way to serve their community while introducing middle school kids in the neighborhood to potential future careers! The pair’s unique mix of business administration and fashion design experience inspired them to create a STEAM-based fashion design workshop. The goal of the two day workshop was to expose middle schoolers to careers in science, technology, engineering, art, and math through fashion design, and equip students with the skills to promote their products through entrepreneurial and business training. The course included the basics of construction, pattern making, and materials design, as well as the basics of running a fashion business. 10 kids participated in the program and even more attended the closing fashion show!

Teaching Artist Series

The Teaching Artist Series in Millvale, run by Sheena Carroll and Abi Beddall, offers free educational workshops for adults taught by local artists. The goal of the series is to provide free artistic resources to community members while also offering paid opportunities for local artists. Each workshop features a new artist and a different style of art. Some examples include a worry doll workshop, where attendees created their own worry dolls, a DIY soy candle workshop, and a portrait oil painting session!

Music in the Gardens of Millvale

Music in the Gardens of Millvale is a community concert series featuring local artists and local foods sourced straight from the Gardens of Millvale (like the awesome pie made from the garden’s own husk cherries that we enjoyed there last time)! The casual events are meant to give the community a space to come together to learn more about the Gardens, hear local music, and engage with neighbors. The concerts also provide paid opportunities and exposure for local musicians, which helps to support the local arts scene.

Zara Street Tire Garden

Carolyn Holmes’ Zara Street tire garden aims to cultivate, plant, and reuse discarded items in order to reclaim a vacant lot in Knoxville. In addition to improving the neighborhood’s image, Holmes wanted to bring together community members to create intergenerational relationships and ultimately encourage compassion and care between neighbors. Although Carolyn had been working to clean up her street for some years now, she now has been able to hold a community event and unveil the tire garden as a beautiful community green space!

Harambee Ujamaa Black Arts Festival Opening Ceremony: A Second Line Parade

This year, Anita Drummond aimed to involve more East End Neighborhoods in the annual Harambee Ujamaa Black Arts Festival in Homewood. It is a well-loved event by many, and she desired to spread the celebration further to her own neighbors on Larimer Avenue. Thus, she decided to hold a parade that would march through Larimer and East Liberty and end in Homewood at the festival. The parade would not only be another way to celebrate, but would also encourage her neighbors to join in as they marched and attend the Black Arts Festival together! The parade would also give youth in the neighborhood a chance to display their talents and adults a chance to network across communities!

While we highlighted just a few projects in this article, all 47 of our grantees have been doing wonderful work in their communities! Congratulations to each and every one of them on their success! We can’t wait to see what’s next for our neighborhoods!

Love My Neighbor!, an initiative founded by Neighborhood Allies, invests in the ingenuity, talent, creativity, and hope in our communities by investing in resident-led projects that aim to improve neighborhoods and engage neighbors. Once a year, residents who live in one of our target communities and are passionate about making a positive change in their neighborhood, can apply for small grants ranging between $500 – $2,500. Contact Tamara Cartwright, Program Manager for Social Impact Design, at

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