Heinz Endowments mini-grant initiative distributes nearly $250,000 to 12 local nonprofits


PITTSBURGH, Pa., Nov. 2, 2017 – A dozen nonprofits in the Pittsburgh region have been awarded grants of up to $25,000 as part of a Heinz Endowments mini-grants program to support community-inspired family and child well-being projects and innovative education opportunities in the city’s Hazelwood neighborhood.

The grants were approved at the October meeting of the Endowments board of directors and total nearly $250,000, ranging in amounts from $10,000 to the maximum of $25,000. The recipients and the awards they received are:

• Carnegie Institute – $25,000 to provide hands-on STEM programs for Head Start early learners, their educators, families and caregivers in Hazelwood
• Center of Life – $25,000 for the Greater Hazelwood’s Diversity Dialogue podcast, which tells the community’s story through the lens of race, diversity and ethnicity
• Council of Three Rivers American Indian Center – $15,000 for a workforce program offering early childhood development credentialing and commercial driver certifications
• Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council – $15,000 to provide adult basic education, high school equivalency programming and workforce preparation to residents
• JADA House International – $25,000 for programs that help neighborhood youth learn how to incorporate critical, creative and ethical thinking into their daily lives
• New Sun Rising – $10,000 to launch pilot of the Digital Bridges mentorship program, which teaches young adults safe strategies for exploring technology-based resources
• Pittsburgh Association for the Education of Young Children – $10,975 for Buzzword Initiative’s programs and activities that promote early learning vocabulary development
• Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy – $23,177 to promote healthy, active families and children through the Parks Prescription Program
• Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania – $24,997 for community-wide effort to address sexual and reproductive health care education, services and other issues
• POORLAW (People of Origin Rightfully Loved and Wanted) – $25,000 to build the effectiveness of the Hazelwood Youth Media Justice Program
• Three Rivers Village School – $25,000 to strengthen connections between the school and the community, and increase the understanding of an alternative education model
• Unity through Creativity Foundation – $25,000 for the Grounding Lab to provide residents with instruction in coping strategies and meditative practices

The mini-grant program is an initiative of the Endowments’ Learning strategic grantmaking area and focuses on two of its goals: family and child well-being, and holistic education. The awards are part of a broad giving strategy that includes increased community participation, an emphasis on equity, and efforts to encourage partnerships that can leverage more resources. The Learning team plans to expand this grantmaking approach to several other Pittsburgh neighborhoods in the future.

Next steps in the initiative include convening the grantees to develop plans for working together to bring about change in Hazelwood and supporting each other’s success in program implementation.

“These initial mini-grants are the result of thorough community consultation and input, and we’re excited to see how our nonprofit organizations will put innovative ideas into practice with the aim of continuing Hazelwood neighborhood’s transformation,” said Endowments President Grant Oliphant.

As one of three strategic priorities established last year to guide the Endowments’ grantmaking, Learning focuses on a range of health, education, social and economic issues affecting families and children in the Pittsburgh region.

The Endowments’ other strategic areas are Creativity and Sustainability. The three work together to advance a Just Pittsburgh, a core principle in the Endowments’ mission to improve the quality of life for all residents in the region, and to support cutting-edge programs with the potential of serving as models that can be replicated elsewhere.

Development of the mini-grant program included a series of meetings and workshops in Hazelwood this summer, including meetings with neighborhood youth. Proposals were selected that built on the neighborhood’s strengths while addressing its challenges.

At an Endowments-sponsored community conversation in July that drew more than 70 people, several praised Hazelwood’s diversity, resilience and sense of community, but identified needs such as more job training programs, improved access to transportation and a wider range of social services.

For information contact:
Carmen Lee
The Heinz Endowments
412 338 2628


© 2017 The Heinz Endowments