12 projects that will strengthen collaboration between diverse Pittsburgh communities
PITTSBURGH – January 21, 2014 – In the spirit of cooperation and inclusion celebrated yesterday on Martin Luther King Day, Vibrant Pittsburgh and the Urban Affairs Foundation, of the Community Relations Council (CRC) of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh announced the grant recipients for the 2014 Civic Inclusion & Engagement Fund, a joint venture of the two groups seeking to build and strengthen our region by supporting its diverse communities.
Each organization committed $25,000 to create a $50,000 pool to fund projects that increase civic engagement, improve quality of life and help strengthen our city and region. More than 80 organizations submitted proposals and the 12 funded projects were selected by community leaders.
Grants awarded will provide services to diverse populations encompassing African Americans, Latinos, LGBTQ communities, refugees and new immigrants, individuals with disabilities and faith-based community groups.
Unique collaborations were formed among grant recipients such as Just Harvest, the Latino Family Center, the Bhutanese Community Association of Pittsburgh (BCAP) and One Woman Farm to increase awareness and expand the diversity of farmers’ market products for the region’s diverse communities. Two student organizations from the University of Pittsburgh, FORGE and Keep It Real, will implement the Pittsburgh Refugee Youth Summer Enrichment (PRYSE) academy providing academic skill-building and creative expression workshops to the city’s refugee youth. These collaborations illustrate how seemingly different groups can join together to develop innovative and creative ideas for reinforcing how Pittsburgh and Allegheny County is a model region for inclusion and collaboration.
"The response to our call for grant proposals was amazing – and aptly demonstrates so much of what is unique and wonderful about the Pittsburgh region," said Melanie Harrington, CEO of Vibrant Pittsburgh. "These collaborative initiatives will dramatically impact the quality of life in our neighborhoods and position Pittsburgh to be the Beloved Community that was the dream and hope of Dr. Martin Luther King. And beloved communities make for a strong city and a more competitive region."
"The 2014 grants represent advancements on many levels," said Meyer “Skip” Grinberg, chair of the Community Relations Council. "Not only will funding make possible creative and innovative projects touching populations that are generally underrepresented. But what really distinguishes this regional development initiative is the way it encourages small organizations working on behalf of targeted constituencies to think bigger – and it positions them to realize the power of partnership."
"I am proud of this initiative that will foster civic engagement projects across our region. Our county is committed to fostering diversity and inclusion initiatives like the Civic Inclusion and Engagement Fund. We already have all the necessary components for our region's future success, and encouraging organizations to work together on civic engagement projects brings those components together,” Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said, "By supporting the region’s diverse communities as they work together, we focus attention on engaging new residents as well as those who have called this region home for years. We need everyone’s contributions to make our community the very best."
2014 Civic Inclusion & Engagement Fund mini-grants awarded will fund:
Building an Accessible Welcome Strategy, making hands-on arts experiences more accessible and affordable to people with disabilities. A partnership between Union Project and Creative Citizens Studios.
Canta Pittsburgh: Choral Music and Culture as Tools for Family Inclusion, Integration and Retention, promoting Latino culture in Pittsburgh through a children's choir, musical instruction and performances. A partnership between Coro Latinoamericano and the Latin American Cultural Union.
Fostering Unity in Westmoreland County, programs to promote diversity, unity and harmony, including the Annual Celebrate Diversity and Unity Rally (founded in 1997 in response to the Ku Klux Klan presence in Greensburg). A partnership between YWCA Westmoreland County and Central Westmoreland Unity Coalition.
Growing Diversity: Farmers’ Markets in Transition, a project to expand the development of Citiparks Farmers’ Markets in diverse neighborhoods, with products and materials promoting cultural diversity and efforts to provide supplemental food for those in need. A partnership between Just Harvest, Latino Family Center, One Woman Farm and Bhutanese Community Association of Pittsburgh.
J-Serve Pittsburgh, a teen volunteer experience at varied sites, followed by an activity to deepen participants' understanding of the importance of community work. A partnership between J-Serve International, the Agency for Jewish Learning, Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh and Repair the World Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh Refugee Youth Summer Enrichment (PRYSE), a summer camp encompassing English and academic skill-building and creative expression workshops and programming to shape the students into engaged members of the community. A partnership between the University of Pittsburgh's Facilitating Opportunities for Refugee Growth & Empowerment (FORGE) and Keep It Real.
Project to Attract and Retain Young Chinese Talent in the Greater Pittsburgh Area through Networking and Mentoring. A partnership between Chinese Association for Science and Technology, Pittsburgh Chapter, and Chinese Students and Scholars Association (University of Pittsburgh).
Refugee Youth Employment Program, to enhance refugee and immigrant youth job readiness through experiential involvement in the workplace. A partnership between Junior Achievement of Western PA, JF&CS, South Hill Interfaith Ministries and PRYSE Academy.
speaQ: A Youth-led, Neighborhood Open Mic Program, engaging diverse neighborhood organizations in arts-based programming to build confidence and leadership among LGBTQ and allied youth and build awareness and understanding. A partnership between Dreams of Hope, Father Ryan Arts Center and Little House, Big Art.
Union of African Communities (UAC) Events promoting the quality of life in a community, through both political and non-political processes, including a Diversity Festival and Speaker Series. A partnership between Christian Evangelic Economic Development and UAC.
World Refugee Day Celebration, to include dance, music performances from refugee groups, ethnic foods, an art exhibition, and booths for refugee resettlement and ethnic/cultural organizations. A partnership between Jewish Family and Children’s Services (JF&CS) and Northern Area Multiservice Center.
Youth Summit Against Violence, advancing awareness and prevention efforts in a student-led day-long workshop. A partnership between the Black Political Empowerment Project, Pittsburgh Public Schools, Cease Fire/PA and Voices Against Violence.
The collaborations between grantees is paralleled, on a larger scale, by the collaboration in this granting venture between Vibrant Pittsburgh and the Jewish Federation. Both organizations support a growing and vibrant Pittsburgh through direct programming and funding of agencies and groups that promote the well-being of individuals, neighborhoods and the collective in our region.
About Vibrant Pittsburgh
Vibrant Pittsburgh is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting the growth and economic competitiveness of the Pittsburgh region by engaging the region’s employers, attracting, retaining and elevating a diverse talent pool, and positioning the region nationally and internationally as an inclusive and welcoming place for people of all backgrounds. Learn more at www.vibrantpittsburgh.org.
About Urban Affairs Foundation and Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh
The Urban Affairs Foundation promotes the involvement of Jewish organizations and individuals in urban concerns. The Community Relations Council engages in public policy activities to promote social and economic justice for all, build amicable relationships among diverse community groups, and enlist support on behalf of Israel. CRC is part of the
Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, a member agency of The Jewish Federations of North America. The Federation raises and allocates funds to build community locally, in Israel and around the world. With the vision of a thriving, vibrant and engaged Jewish community, the Federation aims to carry out its work in the context of cooperation and inclusiveness. Learn more at www.jfedpgh.org.