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Neighborhood Allies


429 Fourth Avenue, Suite 1900
Pittsburgh, PA 15219






Neighborhood Allies 2019 Catalytic Investments Total Nearly $500K

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During 2019, alongside our other investments totaling $1.2 million, Neighborhood Allies also invested nearly $500,000 in capital through our catalytic grants program directly into organizations on the ground working to create and maintain healthy neighborhoods. These grants will help to drive new, comprehensive and resident-led change strategies to make Pittsburgh’s neighborhoods more competitive, inclusive neighborhoods of choice and opportunity. 2019 grants range from the creation of a stewardship program intended to beautify Wilkinsburg while developing resident capacity to the implementation of a Hilltop community needs assessment to inform community programming.

Neighborhood Allies’ Healthy Neighborhood Elements:

Spring 2019 Grants

CommunityCare Wilkinsburg

Grantee: Civically
Healthy Neighborhood Focus Area: Community Ownership
Amount: $75,000

CommunityCare Wilkinsburg is a stewardship program intended to beautify Wilkinsburg while developing the capacity of area residents. The program, which will be led in partnership with Grounded, incentivizes residents to engage with community clean-up and beautification efforts in exchange for credits that can be redeemed as safety-net resources, such as utility payments, bus passes and more. The financial incentives are intended to offset the barriers to civic engagement and volunteerism so that all residents may feel connected to and engaged in their neighborhood. This grant will result in increased civic participation and residents acquiring new skills, knowledge and capacity to respond to local land use issues and take action in their communities when they feel compelled to do so.

Unlocking the Home

Grantee: Hilltop Alliance
Healthy Neighborhood Focus Area: Market Confidence
Amount: $50,000

Unlocking the Home is a new Tangled Title Assistance Program at Hilltop Alliance. The program provides legal support to Hilltop families who need assistance transferring the title of their family homes, so they may receive additional resources for repairs, remain in their homes and build equity. The program will be paired with other existing services available through Hilltop Alliance, their Last Will and Testament program to ensure that the title of the residence remains clear after their own passing and so that cycle of abandonment ceases and the Emergency Stabilization Grant program to ensure residents can receive needed physical repairs during the deed transfer process. This grant will result in at least 12 families being assisted with untangling title to their homes and being supported through the deed transfer process which will create an additional $500,000 of wealth for LMI individuals/families and build equity and generational wealth for low-to-moderate income residents while protecting residents from involuntary displacement.

Beams to Bridges Mental Health Training and Education

Grantee: Steel Smiling
Healthy Neighborhood Focus Area: Quality of Life
Amount: $75,000

While Beams to Bridges is technically a re-launch for Steel Smiling, the program has been redesigned and is now exclusively centered around providing mental health supports and education to African American residents. The program is launching in the Hilltop to establish a cohort of residents who will be equipped to address their own mental health needs as well as the concerns of their neighbors. The program connects residents to African American clinicians, provides Mental Health First Aid Certification trainings, offers financial stipends to offset costs for participation and more. This grant will result in increased access and use of mental and behavioral support services for the Hilltop’s African American population while decreasing the stigma of mental health in the Hilltop’s African American population.

Millvale Community Youth Worker

Grantee: Millvale Community Library
Healthy Neighborhood Focus Area: Community Ownership
Amount: $40,000

The Millvale Community Youth Worker position expands Millvale Community Library’s capacity by hiring a full-time employee who will be responsible for engaging some of the neighborhood’s most “at-risk” pre-teens and teens. Notably, this position is backed by a public-public-public partnership between the Millvale Community Library, the Shaler Area School District and the Millvale Police Department. These three public entities will create a continuum of communication as they work together to ensure that vulnerable youth are connected to valuable community resources, realize their own voice and power, and are engaged in their communities. This grant will result in at least 30 Millvale youth receiving deeper, targeted support beyond their traditional academic settings and three youth mentorship programs related to community art, sustainability, and youth voice.

Fall 2019 Grants

Wilkinsburg Urban Agriculture Hub

Grantee: Grow Pittsburgh
Healthy Neighborhood Focus Area: Community Ownership
Amount: $74,550

Grow Pittsburgh is debuting an urban agriculture hub in Wilkinsburg at the former Garden Dreams location. Neigborhood Allies’ investment will support site preparation efforts to clear the existing structures on the property and create space for two large greenhouses. After completion of the new physical structures, the site will serve as a distribution location of fresh produce into the Wilkinsburg community, a workforce development location to bolster local youth employment, a revenue generator for Grow Pittsburgh through the sale of seedlings and a hub for urban gardeners all over the region to connect and collaborate with one another.

Catapult: Mentoring Small Business Startups

Grantee: Circles of Greater Pittsburgh
Healthy Neighborhood Focus Area: Equitable Development
Amount: $75,000

Circles of Greater Pittsburgh is expanding their organizational and staff capacity to support the Catapult program. Catapult is a successful retail incubator for deserving Circles participants to explore their own entrepreneurial endeavors. Entrepreneurs are provided with individualized mentorship and attend monthly workshops to build their business acumen. Contingent upon their business model, some participants choose to sell their goods/services at the Gallery on Penn in East Liberty, which is offered through the program. As Catapult continues to gain traction and support, the needs of the initiative have also grown substantially and Circles staff would like to hire a Program Manager to oversee the daily operations.

Brashear CARES: Community Access to Resources, Education and Employment Services

Grantee: The Brashear Association
Healthy Neighborhood Focus Area: Community Ownership
Amount: 75,000

The Brashear Association is launching a needs assessment of the Hilltop communities to inform programming at their new location. (The Brashear Association has plans to move to a new facility in Knoxville in 2022.) The new structure will serve community members across the lifespan and as such, the Brashear Association will be courting services as appropriate. To determine which services are needed, the Brashear Association will be surveying residents in high-traffic areas. Survey data will then be compiled and reviewed by a 30-member community-based steering committee. This committee, which will be composed of 1-2 residents per neighborhood, several Brashear Board Members and staff members, and other vested stakeholders, will use the information to decide which programs will operate out of the new facility.

Rolling Grants

StartUP Music Entrepreneurship Program

Grantee: Homewood YMCA
Healthy Neighborhood Focus Area: Celebrated Neighborhood Image
Amount: $14,500

The StartUp Music Entrepreneurship program is an eight-week summer entrepreneurship learning experience for youth and young adults in Homewood. The program allows youth to create their own musical projects and acquire the business and marketing skills required to become a young entrepreneur. The curriculum entails market research, target demographics, branding, social media management, budgeting, merchandising and more. Nationally-acclaimed musician, Poogie Bell, is the lead mentor for the initiative. This grant will result in 12 Homewood youth acquiring business and marketing skills while providing an outlet and platform for their creative expression. It will also support Homewood in becoming a thriving hub for African American arts and culture.

Greenwood Week Pittsburgh

Grantee: Cocoapreneur Pgh, LLC
Healthy Neighborhoods Focus Area: Equitable Development
Amount: $15,000

Greenwood Week Pittsburgh, a collaborative project between Cocoapreneur and SYLA Pittsburgh,  is a minority business conference aimed at making information about running a small business accessible to demographics of people who are generally do not fit within the confines of typical programs that address similar needs, thus affording these individuals the opportunity to strive for successful entrepreneurship. The week features a schedule of classes for current and aspiring entrepreneurs on mental health, finances, funding, business structure, marketing, and other essentials for small businesses. With an instructor panel made up of expert local MWBDE entrepreneurs, attendees are given the opportunity to hear real-life examples of running a business in Pittsburgh, as well as obtain important resources and engage in invaluable networking opportunities.

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