Menu Contact

Neighborhood Allies


429 Fourth Avenue, Suite 1900
Pittsburgh, PA 15219







$50,000 FOCUS Pittsburgh: Trauma-Informed Community Development

2228 Centre Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

PROJECT: Trauma-Informed Community Development Planning and Pilotphoto(12)

PROGRAM: Spring 2015 Catalytic Grants


To address the effects of trauma, FOCUS Pittsburgh and its partners intend to launch a Trauma-Informed Community Development Strategy. This comprehensive pilot initiative is being developed by combining, layering-on and adapting existing, proven studies and models that address individual program areas and issues (trauma, behavioral health, psychology, community organizing and engagement, etc.) to address the over-arching issue of community-based trauma and the direct and indirect effects it has not only on individual residents, but the community as a whole. The goal of this initiative is to establish and promote healthy, healing micro-communities in the Hill District. FOCUS Pittsburgh will build an Advisory Board consisting of a broad network of partners and experts that will help guide efforts to achieve positive outcomes in support of the implementation of a Trauma-Informed Community Development Initiative, led by FOCUS Pittsburgh in the Hill District. They will also launch the Well-being, Relational, Stability and Competency (W.R.S.C) Index Tool which will use an algorithm to determine a person’s overall well-being, while at the same time indicating what areas of his or her life might need serious intervention to improve overall health.


View Page

$75,000 Made Right Here: Larimer Youth Maker Training

TechShop, Bakery Square Boulevard, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

PROJECT: Larimer Youth-Maker Training Pilotimage007

PROGRAM: Spring 2015 Catalytic Grants

GRANTEE: Made Right Here/Catalyst Connection

Made Right Here will implement a year-long youth program for 10-15 Larimer youth, training them on cutting-edge technologies and the tools of the future utilizing the space, equipment, and capacity of TechShop in Larimer. Through the 2015-2016 school year, the youth will be provided with a one year “Leveling Up” program where they will begin the Maker Professional Training Program with the goal of entering the job market upon completion OR working in the manufacturing/making field during their next educational step.

During the school year, youth will be trained on how to use a range of digital tools and equipment while learning relevant production knowledge. Students will come to the Maker Space at TechShop for no fewer than 24 formal workshops, classes, and group sessions (12 during fall semester, 12 during spring semester). Over winter break, youth will complete a group project to hone their technical skills. They will also be expected to complete individual and group projects throughout the year. The year-long training will culminate with a structured program during the summer of 2016 where students will work closely with a local artist/maker to complete a Larimer-based community maker project that will be part of the neighborhood for years to come (e.g. a sign for Larimer, a bench for a public park, artful stormwater design, or another community project that fits into the plans for Larimer redevelopment). Made Right Here will work closely with the neighborhood to determine a project that will be most impactful and fit best into the neighborhood vision and plan.

2016-02-01 20.04.59 DSCN1212 2016-02-01 20.29.51 2016-02-01 20.03.27 2016-02-01 20.01.59 2016-02-01 19.59.462016-02-01 19.45.29 2016-02-01 19.53.35

View Page

$65,000 Good All Over Wilkinsburg

Penn Avenue, Wilkinsburg, PA, United States

PROJECT: Good All Over WilkinsburgIMG_5564

PROGRAM: Spring 2015 Catalytic Grants

GRANTEE: Wilkinsburg Community Development Corporation (WCDC)

The Borough of Wilkinsburg was once a prosperous community with a thriving business district. In 1950, Wilkinsburg reached its peak population of 31,500 residents. Today, that number has dwindled to less than 16,000. More than 23% of these residents live below the poverty level, which is 10% more than the Pennsylvania state average. As the population has fallen, Wilkinsburg’s vacancy rate has increased more dramatically than most municipalities. More than 29% of the buildings in the business district are vacant. Many are severely dilapidated, posing a health and safety risk. Despite the high commercial availability on Penn Avenue, there is a lack of code-compliant space available for move-in. This lack of space limits the opportunity for new commercial businesses in Wilkinsburg, and deprives residents of access to a broader range of goods and services. This project has four components:

  1. Completing and implementing a Market Analysis: The analysis will be conducted and completed to gather data for marketing materials including the Business Resource Tool-Kit (#4), show the leakage in specific markets and highlight opportunities for growth and study economic trends and conditions, which will inform the vision and action plans.
  2. Growing the Business Improvement Image Fund: Currently, the Business Image Improvement Fund can only help a maximum of three business owners. By growing the fund, which includes a small match component, more business owners will be encouraged to invest in marketing. The goal is to benefit at least six additional businesses with an average project cost of $1,600 per business.
  3. Developing Marketing and Branding Videos: Videos are designed to: 1) position and introduce viewers to an up and coming community, 2)  provide a positive alternative to the negative perception of the business district and overall community and 3) highlight community assets, including local businesses, to bring potential customers, shoppers, and visitors to Wilkinsburg.
  4. Creating a Business Resource Tool-kit: With funding, this will evolve from concept creation to an actual project that can be used in marketing local businesses and will include tools to guide current businesses toward all of the resources available, to welcome and orient new businesses to the community, and to attract businesses to locate in the community.
View Page

$75,000 Hosanna House, Inc.: Bring It To Light

Hosanna House, Inc., Wallace Avenue, Wilkinsburg, PA, United States

PROJECT: Bring It To LightIMG_5417

PROGRAM: Spring 2015 Catalytic Grants

GRANTEE: Hosanna House, Inc.

Hosanna House will implement a placemaking project by completing beautification and infrastructure improvements (sidewalks, greenery, gardens, treescapes, benches, public signs, HHI signs) to improve the image of the area and connect Penn Avenue to the Hosanna House front porch, providing a sense of safety, security, and place for the community. Local youth will play a strategic role in the process, building and maintaining the garden/greenspace, and the Trade Institute of Pittsburgh will provide technical assistance and labor for the construction portion of the project. Bring It To Light will be the spark that begins to attract investors, developers, and new business and will connect business patrons and residents on Penn Avenue with the valuable resources provided at Hosanna House. The process will engage community residents and business owners and implement part of the community’s redevelopment plan, targeting their efforts with Wilkinsburg Community Development Corporation’s “Good All Over Wilkinsburg” Small Business Support & Investment project that will support established Wilkinsburg businesses and attract new business to Penn Avenue.

View Page

$75,000 Operation Better Block: Homewood Cluster 4 Implementation

Hamilton Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

PROJECT: Homewood Cluster 4 ImplementationCluster 4 OBB

PROGRAM: Spring 2015 Catalytic Grants

GRANTEE: Operation Better Block (OBB)

OBB has prioritized neighborhood revitalization though homeowner stabilization and blight remediation as keys to Homewood’s renaissance and created the Cluster Plan to guide that change in the interest of Homewood’s residents. The Cluster Planning process created a detailed land-use vision for Homewood’s future based on the needs and desires of existing, present-day community stakeholders. The main tenets of this process are 1) relationship building with the residents and property owners, 2) giving those who want to stay in the neighborhood tools to be able to do so though residents services, 3) after assessing each parcel’s status though on-the-ground data collection, 4) working with each neighborhood “cluster” to determine future uses for vacant parcels and ultimately, 5) creating a vision for the area.

OBB will build upon work that has already happened in cluster area four and implement the resident-driven vision and the broader cluster four vision by continuing blight removal in conjunction with placemaking to truly make an impact in one of the most catalytic parts of Homewood. Cluster area four is located along the East Busway, bordered by North Homewood Avenue, Hamilton Avenue and North Braddock Avenue. The two main facets of this approach will utilize homeowner stabilization and placemaking.

View Page

$75,000 Community Empowerment Association: Strategic Training Employment Program (STEP)

Kelly Street, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

PROJECT: Strategic Training Employment Program (STEP)

PROGRAM: Spring 2015 Catalytic Grants

GRANTEE: Community Empowerment Association (CEA)

STEP is a workforce development resource to lets create jobsenhance the ability of local public and private developers, businesses, and organizations to recruit and retain an easily accessed, diverse, skilled, labor-ready workforce in the emerging industry sectors of the Pittsburgh region, and to better promote achievement by minorities in securing economic independence and self-sufficiency. STEP provides:

  1. Construction industry training as well as supplemental life/occupational skills training to local community residents seeking to enhance skill-sets and/or obtain entry-level employment in the construction trades industry
  2. Assistance to local public and private developers, general contractors, businesses and organizations needing to recruit and retain qualified community residents while fulfilling MWDBE, as well as HUD Section 3 participant goals and requirements on neighborhood development projects.

In addition to classroom training, practical field work experience gives the trainees hands-on training on an actual construction site and provides them the opportunity to demonstrate their capabilities based on what they have learned while in the program. This also gives potential employers the opportunity to preview the trainees’ abilities and performance while rebuilding disenfranchised communities and revitalizing neighborhoods.

View Page

Centre Avenue Corridor Promotions and Re-brand

1900 Centre Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

PROJECT: Centre Avenue Corridor PromotionsDSCN0446

PROGRAM: 2015 Small & Simple Grants

GRANTEE: Hill House Association

Local leaders are collaborating on an initiative to create a committee to re-brand the Centre Avenue corridor in the Hill District. The new Centre Heldman Plaza has opened possibilities for increased visibility and commerce on Centre Avenue. The new Shop ‘n Save and adjacent retailers offer the opportunity to launch a re-branding of the area to create a firmer connection to downtown, attract consumers and build a bustling, welcoming andpositive neighborhood. In addition, the new Thelma Lovette YMCA, located on Centre Avenue, the new Passport Academy Charter School located in the Kaufmann Center on Centre Avenue and the Carnegie Library on Centre Avenue, opened in 2008, and all provide catalysts for increased neighborhood usage.

As part of this project, key individuals will be invited, representing a variety of organizations to participate in a committee for the planning and implementation of the rebranding. Expectations and roles will be developed and offered to selected individuals as befitting the project for the most positive outcome. Additionally, foundations, healthcare organizations, universities, entrepreneurs, developers, civic and social organizations and corporations will be approached for participation within the committee.

Outcomes of the project will be measured against the specific objectives set by the committee. Each objective will be deliberated and assigned a control, such as a budget or timeframe and a measurement will be established. Reviews and acknowledgement of the outcomes based on the measurements will be explored by committee members on a quarterly basis, with a dashboard established for committee updates. An annual dashboard will be prepared to track the objectives on a yearly basis.

View Page

$6,000 Marketing and Promotions of Regional Job Fairs

Eastside Neighborhood Employment Center, Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

PROJECT: Marketing & Promotions for local job fairsDSCN0270

PROGRAM: 2015 Small & Simple Grants

GRANTEE: Eastside Neighborhood Employment Center

Youth Job Fair/April 2015: served as an opportunity fair for approximately 250 youth, as well as an application event the Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program. The fair will include space for employers to set up information/experience tables to network with local teen job seekers, a press conference for elected officials to promote the summer employment program, workforce development-related training sessions, workshops of resume development, interviewing, soft skills, financial literacy, and distribution of summer employment program applications.

Ex-offender, Foster Care Youth, and Veteran-focused Job Fair: building on the youth-focused job fair, a larger job fair served to drive broader interaction between approximately 85 employers and approximately 1,700 local job seekers. The scale of this far allows employers and agency representative to network with a high volume of the East End’s at-risk job seekers.

View Page

$15,000 Wilkinsuburg CDC: Vacant House Tour

Rebecca Avenue, Wilkinsburg, PA, United States

PROJECT: Vacant House Tour

Photo credit: Greg Sculli

Photo credit: Greg Sculli

PROGRAM: 2015 Small & Simple Grants

GRANTEE: Wilkinsburg CDC

The Wilkinsburg Vacant Home Tour is a self-guided tour, showcasing abandoned and vacant properties, leading tour participants on a journey back in time through the narratives of these homes and buildings. Stories of the families and people who lived in, worked in, who cared for, and who were sheltered by these homes, are unearthed and revealed throughout the tour route. The memories of these homes map out, through physical markers, their historical impact in creating the communities and neighborhoods in which they exist. Residents from the neighborhood serve as Tour Guides, greeting participants at each stop and telling the forgotten stories of these properties. Tour participants are provided with a tour map that works hand-in-hand with the visual prompts along the tour route, additional background information on each of the properties, and information on resources available to aid participants to more positively engage vacant homes. At each stop, there are tools to help them visualize what the house once looked like in full vibrancy, and what the house might look like again in the near future.  The event also includes a resource workshop for those interested in learning more about how they might be able to shape the future of these properties. The workshop includes a look at “next steps,” the process, tools available, and the risks, challenges, and rewards of such an endeavor.

View Page

$15,000 Entrepreneur Incubator

Work Hard Pittsburgh, East Warrington Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

PROJECT: Entrepreneur IncubatorIMG_3696

PROGRAM: 2015 Small & Simple Grants

GRANTEE: Work Hard Pittsburgh (Hardware Store)

To create a business incubator model that is owned by the regional entrepreneurs receiving the services. The model will provide a legal and fiduciary framework for self-organization anywhere there is entrepreneurial density, but will be piloted and tested at The Hardware Store in Allentown.

The proposed incubator will improve the function and effectiveness of businesses that are not appropriate for institutional investment and entry into existing or traditional regional business incubators. The incubator model will be focused on smaller rounds of funding and entrepreneurs supporting each other’s goals. The businesses that are being incubated and the entrepreneurs receiving the incubation services will be the owners of the entity that does the incubation.

The framework that is developed will support essential, community serving and enriching businesses like the restaurant down the street and the daycare provider, who will never be companies of scale that generate hundreds of millions of dollars, but, they are the backbone of our economy, providing color to our communities and jobs for the residents. The proposed framework will allow the Hardware Store to create test-classes of entrepreneurs for incubation, put forth a meaningful crowdfunding ask to the broader community, and solicit appropriate funding channels for the associated investments.

View Page

$10,000 Gateway Placemaking/Community Green Space

Mountain Street at Wagner Street Pittsburgh, PA, United States

PROJECT: Lot Beautification at Mountain and WagnerPop UP Hilltop May 15, 2010 046

PROGRAM: 2015 Small & Simple Grants

GRANTEE: St. Clair/Mt. Oliver Block Watch (Hilltop Alliance)

Mt. Oliver City/St. Clair Block Watch received funding to complete work on a vacant lot in the neighborhood to establish an outdoor community area and to in order to be more visible at a prominent intersection in the neighborhood and to bring people out of their houses encouraging them to inquire why residents are meeting. The project is the conversion of a city-owned property into an outdoor community gathering pace for social and leisure activities and is part of GTECH Strategies ReClaim South program. The site was previously improved by adding two cement checkerboard/chess tables and four cement corn hole boards and a mini lending-library. The next phase and completion of this project includes further excavation of the soil so that grass can be planted add a walkway and seating area with benches and chairs. The lot is on a main thoroughfare and near a bus stop and highly visible and traveled. Our funds would be used to cover the landscaping and construction costs(. In addition to the support and funding that the group has already received through GTECH, they have also secured $2500 from Birmingham (to be used for pavers/sand/gravel), trash cans and bike racks from the City and community members will be donating plantings as well as their time to help with landscaping.

View Page

$75,000 Vibrant Pittsburgh: Ready Now/Ready Future

707 Grant Street, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

PROJECT: Ready Now/Ready Futuredownload

PROGRAM: Catalytic Grants $75,000

GRANTEE: Vibrant Pittsburgh

Currently, the Pittsburgh region is one of the least diverse metropolitan regions of the top 100 metro areas in the country. Our low level of diversity, particularly among foreign born individuals, puts the region at a competitive disadvantage. Given the changing demographics of the nation, growing talent demands of the region, and ongoing need for leaders to develop and drive the region’s future, it is an economic imperative that we seed a pipeline of diverse individuals who are ready to move into leadership roles throughout the region. Vibrant Pittsburgh and The Urban League propose to pilot and test the Ready Now/Ready Future Initiative that will develop a culture of professional sponsorship that positions more diverse talent for leadership roles in the region. This project proposes a multi-pronged approach:

  1. Ready Now/Ready Future Tool: Identify, source and pool diverse talent and build an online directory that is accessible to regional decision-makers.
  2. Ready Now/Ready Future Opportunity Holders: Develop a partnership and commitment with leaders that have the authority to select candidates for immediate and future senior or executive job openings, board positions and commission appointments, host group “connector events” to help position these individuals to pursue “ReadyNow/ReadyFuture” spots on the lists of the region’s opportunity holders.
  3. Professional Development Opportunities: Organize connections and/or match-making strategies designed to propel the candidates onto the “Ready Now” or “Ready Future” lists.


View Page

$75,000 Farm Truck Foods: Mobile Farmers Market

Millvale Boro Office, Lincoln Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

PROJECT: Mobile Food Market Pilot

PROGRAM: 2014 Catalytic Grants

Guy Wathen, Trib Total Media

Guy Wathen, Trib Total Media

GRANTEE: Farm Truck Foods

Farm Truck Foods’ mission is to bridge the gap between farmers and community members throughout the Greater Pittsburgh region. They are piloting a mobile market program that provides universal access to whole, nutritious, affordable and local foods to residents living in food deserts or in communities with poor access to healthy food. Their business approach is three pronged: 1) Mobility: to reach multiple communities; 2) Education: to inform and communicate the presence of and positive effect of accessing, preparing and eating nutritious foods; and 3) Locally Sourced: to create a local multiplier effect throughout the region. As part of this proposal, Farm Truck Foods purchased and retrofitted a truck and is creating community-specific, tailored approaches as they move into the pilot neighborhoods, helping to increase early adoption and allowing for trust to be built within each individual stop. Farm Truck Foods also accepts Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits and Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) to accommodate the needs of each individual. Available food will include produce, meats, dairy, and grains, and will run year-round.

View Page

$15,000 The Door Campaign: 20/20 Vision Project

101 Hazlett Street, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

PROJECT: 20/20 Vision Project

John Heller/Post-Gazette Local / Perry High School Pittsburgh - Nov. 20, 2014 - Quincy Swatson, 23, started The Door Campaign to expose kids to aquaponic systems where gold fish and basil co-exist in a mutually beneficial relationship.

John Heller/Post-Gazette
Local / Perry High School
Pittsburgh – Nov. 20, 2014 – Quincy Swatson, 23, started The Door Campaign to expose kids to aquaponic systems where gold fish and basil co-exist in a mutually beneficial relationship.

PROGRAM: 2015 Small & Simple Grants

GRANTEE: Hill House Association

This grant covered the costs of purchasing 20 ECO-cycle aquaponics systems and to develop an aquaponics sustainability curriculum which will be adopted and embedded into 20 local classrooms throughout Pittsburgh school districts. Ultimately, this project will provide hands on educational experiences with a purpose of engaging student in STEAM learning, giving them the opportunity to improve upon practices of environmental sustainability. The main objectives are:

  • Developing students interest in STEAM by teaching the value of contemporary education
  • Increasing the amount of aquaponics systems in classroom settings
  • Further improve students cognitive skills through the use of a hands on educational experience
  • Generate an increase student interest in applying and attending colleges and universities
View Page

$50,000 The Mission Continues: 2nd Pittsburgh Service Platoon

7048 Bennett St, Pittsburgh, PA 15208, USA

PROJECT: Pittsburgh Service Platoonmission continues pgh

PROGRAM: Catalytic Grants $50,000

GRANTEE: The Mission Continues

The Mission Continues was founded on the belief that veterans are an untapped leadership asset for communities, and should play a pivotal role in rebuilding neighborhoods. As a city with one of the largest veteran populations in the country, this is an opportunity to build a veteran-community collaboration model to transform distressed neighborhoods into healthy communities by placing a Mission Continues Platoon with non-profit partners.

Pittsburgh is ripe for the mobilization and organization of veterans around continued service to neighborhoods with the most need. The Mission Continues proposes to launch the second Pittsburgh Service Platoon:

  • Recruit, mobilize and organize a Platoon of 40-60 veterans led by a post-9/11 veteran
  • Plan and execute service missions in our six priority neighborhoods
  • Empower veterans in Pittsburgh to focus their talents and leadership on addressing community needs
View Page

$8,000 Allegheny Land Trust: Transfer Development Rights Education and Outreach

Allegheny Land Trust, 416 Thorn Street, Sewickley, PA, United States

PROJECT: TDR Education and OutreachALT

PROGRAM: 2015 Small & Simple Grants

GRANTEE: Allegheny Land Trust

With our support,  Allegheny Land Trust will develop and produce educational materials outlining the details and benefits of creating and implementing a Transfer Development Rights (TDR) Program in the City of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County. A TDR Program can be a powerful tool to generate a new source of private revenue to care for the green space and infrastructure by:

  • Generating revenue for nonprofits
  • Eliminating or reducing the concern from the taxing bodies that land is being removed from the tax rolls
  • Guiding growth and investment where it is needed and wanted
  • Ensuring that the improvements made to blighted parcels is not vulnerable to a future “higher and better use

Two options will be researched, outlined and included in the educational materials:

  • Option ONE: allows a landowner to sell the development rights from his property to a developer who then uses those development rights to increase the density of houses on another piece of property at another location, creating an incentive for the developer to buy the rights
  • Option TWO: establish a TDR Bank to transfer development rights. Developers who wish to develop at a higher density than current zoning allows, would purchase rights from the local gov’t, which could then use funds to purchase more rights from properties in the area that is wants to protect from development or use for green infrastructure.
View Page

$15,000 GTECH Strategies: Pittsburgh Resilient Cities Neighborhood Planning

GTECH STRATEGIES, Hamilton Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

PROJECT: Pittsburgh Resilient Cities Neighborhood Planning

PROGRAM: 2015 Small & Simple Grants


The purpose of this grant is to support the capacity of GTECH and partners to assemble a plan of Gtech logoaction for how the city’s Climate and Resilience Plan will connect to our most vulnerable communities. This planning process will create the capacity and support necessary to apply the City’s climate planning process to a community development context that each of our communities can use and lead to safer and healthier environments for residents. As part of this grant, GTECH will:

  • Benchmark other city community development systems and how climate and resilience planning is incorporated into planning, funding, capacity building and evaluation AND have that input incorporated into the the City’s strategy
  • Establish a plan to integrate climate risk assessment and hazard planning into the traditional community development planning process
    • Resident-driven data collection & sharing tools and process
    • Structured training for climate risk and hazard assessment with community based agencies
    • The design of community based resiliency plans to link to existing community plans
  • Craft an implementation plan to equip and empower residents in climate vulnerable neighborhoods to increase the capacity of their communities to adapt to climate related impacts
    • A fund for micro grants
    • An online inventory of projects and activities to facilitate collaboration
    • A network of individual community experts to help lead planning processes
View Page

$15,000 Bike Pittsburgh: Positive Spin Initiative

Bike Pittsburgh, 43rd Street, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

PROJECT: Positive Spin InitiativePositiveSpinPirates

PROGRAM: 2015 Small & Simple Grants

GRANTEE: Bike Pittsburgh

The purpose of this grant is to support the implementation and operation of the Positive Spin Summer Youth Cycling Program. The program will be implemented in conjunction with Pittsburgh Public School’s  Summer Dreamer’s Academy during the summer months and will focus on engaging middle schoolers from low/mod income neighborhoods across the city. Program activities and outcomes include:

  • Bicycle Transportation: students begin by earning the “bike license” after learning bike safety skills. By exploring the city streets and trails, student learn how to use bicycling as an alternative form of urban transportation allowing youth access to opportunities outside of their immediate communities
  • Connecting with Caring Adults: students bike in group-based mentoring relationships with adult staff. These caring mentors are trained to work with youth and foster community within the peer group. Each youth will connect with 4-5 caring adults throughout the program.
  • Bike Repair: students learn the basics of how to maintain and repair the bicycles such as patching a tube, adjusting breaks and general maintenance.
  • Fitness: students bike regularly and try other forms of exercise like running, yoga or strength training. They learn to log their miles and document increases in physical strength and endurance as they continue through the program.

With these funds BikePGH will cover staff and program costs to run this program in summer 2015 and to develop the program for the continuation and expansion beyond it’s current scope and time frame in the future. Expansion plans will include deep engagement and outreach in Neighborhood Allies priority neighborhoods and will incorporate a strategy to improve biking access in poor neighborhoods.

View Page

$15,000 Union Project: Strategic Plan Update

Union Project, North Negley Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

PROJECT: Strategic Plan Updateunion project drawing

PROGRAM: 2015 Small & Simple Grants

GRANTEE: Union Project

To complete a 2015-18 Strategic Business Plan, as well as, set up and implement an execution strategy approach with a strong focus on meeting and addressing growing community-based needs. Union Project will contract with two consultants to complete the plan: Jackson Clark Partners and Perato Strategy and Execution Consultants to ensure that the programming and services are as effective, impactful and as relevant and close to the community’s wants and needs as possible.

UP’s community serving program opportunities are in high demand and growing significantly and this strategic plan will grow UP into a more sustainable organization and better serve the community, including low-income and minority residents by:

  • clearly describing their unique model for service and help develop it into replicable model for other transitional neighborhoods
  • determining how best to add capacity to their programs, most likely in the area of education so they can continue to grow local programs including partnerships with other non-profits who are interested to use clay for educational, rehabilitation, and inclusion type services
  • planning and implementing an expanded artist in residence program to continue to bring in local, regional, and nationally known artists to work with UP artists, artists from around the region, novices who want to learn more
  • improving the process by which they measure progress and impact
View Page

$2,000 City of Pittsburgh: My Brothers Keeper Initiative

City of Pittsburgh: Mayor's Office, Grant Street, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

PROJECT: My Brothers Keeper Initiativemy brothers keeper

PROGRAM: 2015 Small & Simple Grants

GRANTEE: City of Pittsburgh

With our support, the city will hire a consultant to facilitate a series of (3) Public Meetings with youth and community members, in order to gain their insight on the recommendations posed by the My Brothers Keeper (MBK) committee and to determine what information is missing from the report. The public will prioritize the recommendations and establish action steps set forth by the committee’s report in order to create ownership of the strategy. The findings and input from this engagement will inform the committee’s guiding principles and the goals and recommendations for the region to achieve goals outlined by the White House and MBK Initiative for all youth in Pittsburgh.

View Page

$8,595 MRCDC: Middle School Arts Education Pilot

McKees Rocks Community Development Corporation, Chartiers Avenue, McKees Rocks, PA, United States

PROJECT: Middle School Arts Education ProjectMRCDCLogo

PROGRAM: 2015 Small & Simple Grants


Due to severe budgetary restrictions, the Sto-Rox school district has been unable to offer any performing arts electives to its students for the past several years. To address this deficiency, the MRCDC is facilitating a collaboration between the Sto-Rox Middle School and local arts professionals to provide students with a quality arts education.

As part of this collaboration, the Middle School will identify 12 students- all of whom have demonstrated a keen interest in the arts- to take part in a comprehensive art course at the Father Ryan Arts Center. From January to May for twice a week/ over 18 weeks, students will learn and practice set design, videography, song, writing, dancing and stage managing. Six seasoned professionals will teach these mini courses. Upon the Initiatives’ completion, the 12 middle schoolers will perform their self-described and self-executed show in three locations: Sto-Rox High School, Middle School and the Father Ryan Arts Center. Family and community members who attend the show will see the vast potential that exists in the new but dramatically under-utilized $5 million Arts Center.


View Page

$15,000 MOKA (Mecca of Kulture & Art): Art Gallery and House of Culture

2297 Centre Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

PROJECT: Art Gallery and House of Culture

PROGRAM: 2015 Small & Simple Grants


MOKA is a contemporary art/music studio and gallery that is currently being created to share the rich cultural legacy of jazz and art that originated in the Hill District. To accomplish this resurgence, the organization will develop exhibitions, studio practices, artist talks, cultural exchanges, artist residencies and art classes. The Gallery will provide a space for artist and musicians to share their expertise with the Hill community.

MOKA will provide four distinct areas of program development:
– Exhibition space for artists
– Educational component of music and art
– Gallery access
– Artist residence and studios

Our Small and Simple investment covers a portion of the cost for the buildings’ elevator system. In addition to our support, the MOKA Project Team has invested over $105,000 of their own funds into the project and have received grants from McAuley Ministries, the POISE Foundation and Urban Innovation 21.

View Page

$7,500 MWCDC: Pittsburgh Conservation Corps

301 Shiloh Street, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

PROJECT: Pittsburgh Conservation CorpsEmerald Trail Corps learning to use safety ropes in Emerald View Park. Courtesy Mt. Washington CDC.

PROGRAM: 2015 Small & Simple Grants

GRANTEE: Mount Washington CDC

In order to establish an innovative workforce development program that pairs a range of land stewardship services with a range of different land types known as The Pittsburgh Conservation Corps, MWCDC and Pittsburgh Community Works sought financial support from Neighborhood Allies to engage existing community based companies/organizations to co-design a model of cooperation and partnership.

Funds will be used to provide stipends to participating agencies and facilitate a two-part focus group to co-design a model of collaboration. Goals include: 1. Enhance and expand capability of existing community based businesses that provide land stewardship services; 2. Co-design a model of education, training and employment to link existing service providers to the development of a Pittsburgh Conservation Corps (PCC); 3. Help address unmet land stewardship needs – ultimately contributing to the health, safety, and justice of each community.

View Page

$15,000 OPDC: Oakland Affordable Living

Atwood Street, Pittsburgh, PA, United States

PROJECT: Oakland Affordable LivingImage result for oakland planning and development

PROGRAM: 2015 Small & Simple Grants

GRANTEE: Oakland Planning and Development

OPDC’s Small and Simple grant will be used to re-apply to the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) for Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) to finance the Oakland Affordable Living project. OPDC will develop 49 units of 100% affordable housing in Oakland. Specifically they plan to renovate Allequippa Place, a 25-year-old, 24-unit multiplex and construct a new 25-unit fully accessible apartment building on adjacent vacant land. The project team includes OPDC as developer, Diamond & Associates as application consultant, Sota Construction as general contractor, Loysen Kreuthmeier Architects, and Regional Housing Legal Services. The URA, the Mayor’s Office, and community groups enthusiastically support the project. OPDC is meeting with potential equity investors, including a recent meeting with Tony Lyons of National Equity Fund.

Oakland Affordable Living will provide high-quality, energy efficient housing in a desirable heart-of-the-city location – close to employment, education, public transit, and strong neighborhood groups. The development seeks to provide the housing that low income families need, can afford, and in a location that further reduces their living expenses. The project will help to maintain housing opportunities for a diverse mix of residents – to keep Oakland a vibrant, equitable, and attractive community consistent with The Oakland 2025 Master Plan goals.

View Page

$15,000 New Sun Rising/Pittsburgh Chamber of Cooperatives: Think Outside The Boss!

510 East 10th Avenue, Munhall, PA, United States

PROJECT: Think Outside The Boss!

PROGRAM: 2015 Small & Simple Grants

GRANTEE: New Sun Rising/Pittsburgh Chamber of Cooperatives (PCOC)

The Pittsburgh Chamber of Cooperatives’ (PCOC) target audience are workers and business owners who are interested in a non-hierarchical enterprise; especially people who experience difficulty making a living wage or who are locked into part-time employment, displaced workers, minority business and trades people who very often find inadequate opportunity and people who are working in industries that typically have poor working conditions.

PCOC will work in transitional communities such as but not limited to: the Hilltop neighborhoods, Hazlewood, the Hill, Homewood, Larimer and areas outside of the city such as Braddock and Homestead. The PCOC is working with inclusive and neighborhood based efforts to provide more opportunity for their residents and with early stage businesses to explore the benefits of their becoming cooperative businesses and to help them get established as cooperatives.

To effectively reach more people, the PCOC will:

  • Raise awareness of the benefits and the how-to of cooperatives through informational workshops, speaking at relevant community development and entrepreneurship events, and “game nights” featuring a board game appropriately named “Co-opoly”.
  • Conduct educational and networking events to help grow the cooperative movement in collaboration with other organizations such as the New Economy Campaign, the Braddock Library, and Urban Innovation 21.
  • Provide hands-on technical assistance to new and existing cooperatives, focusing on worker-owned businesses but able to advise producer and consumer cooperatives. The approach is to help develop the whole enterprise and use existing business development resources in tandem with the PCOC’s guidance on matters unique to cooperatives.
  • Gather intelligence on what members need and advocate on their behalf regarding cooperative business needs, challenges and issues, and opportunities. This is continuously done through the PCOC web site, member surveys, the channels listed above, and occasional group interviews.
  • Financing to strategically support the establishment of small new cooperatives
View Page
Let's be allies!