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Media Coverage | Mellon Foundation donates $5.25 million to local groups

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By Nate Doughty | Pittsburgh Business Times | June 23, 2020 | Read the full story

The Richard King Mellon Foundation announced it would be awarding $5.25 million in grants across 37 local groups representing 125 collaborating organizations that are fighting the Covid-19 pandemic and spurring economic recovery in the region.

“These projects will lead the way in showing all of us how to reverse the daunting economic impacts of this pandemic,” foundation director Sam Reiman said in a press release. “They will accelerate our recovery – with special attention to the people and communities hardest hit by COVID-19’s economic impacts.”

Out of 235 submissions, 80 finalists were chosen to provide additional information on how the group would approach widespread job loss and provide a jump-start to the region’s economic recovery. The final 37 groups represent the best of the best from the pool of ideas according to the foundation.

The Mellon Foundation selected five priority areas to target in determining which groups would receive a portion of the grants.

Alleviating economic impacts on low- and moderate-income employees was the first priority area the foundation wanted to address. To accomplish this, a grant was awarded to the Hazelwood Initiative, which aims to support small businesses and entrepreneurs, provide job seekers with employment training, and to assist families with rent, mortgage and food all in the Hazelwood area.

Another area of focus included bolstering the social safety net with a grant to Neighborhood Allies. The organization is looking to fund its Covid-19 Accelerated Relief Effort (CARE) with the grant funding which aims to combat the challenges brought from the pandemic in the city’s neighborhoods that are experiencing high levels of poverty.

Other priority areas included awards for organizations providing employment assistance, those that are addressing academic impacts, and groups that aim to jump-start regional economic activity.

The recent round of $5.25 million in grants from the foundation represents a fraction of its pledged $15 million Covid-19 response package.

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