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Neighborhood Allies 2018 Catalytic Grants | At Work On The Ground

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Thus far in 2018, Neighborhood Allies has invested nearly $470,000 in catalytic grant funding to directly support community serving and building initiatives. These investments range from a tenant leadership development program in the Hill District — to supporting a food cluster in Wilkinsburg. Read more to learn about all of our 2018 investments and the impact they are having on the ground in Pittsburgh neighborhoods!

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.

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.

Grantee: Wilkinsburg CDC
Project Name: Wilkinsburg 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

Find more details on all of 2018 Investments on our Impact Page.

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