2012 Program Recap

Every year, The Heinz Endowments employs recent high school graduates as summer youth philanthropy interns to incorporate youth voice in its grantmaking. This year, the program included 36 interns, working in eight teams, each of which awarded $25,000 in grants. This year, each team researched issues related to making the Pittsburgh region more sustainable and heard from experts about exciting developments in the field. Relying on their new knowledge, the interns developed and distributed requests for proposals to solicit project ideas for which they would consider funding. While waiting for grant proposals, the interns worked with Saturday Light Brigade, the Allegheny Front, and Pittsburgh Filmmakers to learn about media, and then produced short features highlighting issues of sustainability in our communities that they cared about.


One of the three teams of interns at the Endowments sought to fund projects that bring sustainability to youth through experiential learning. “Y.E.S.S.: Youth Education and Service for Sustainability” wanted to deeply engage youth in educational discussions and hands-on experiential learning projects related to sustainability. Interns Seth Diggs, Sami Rapp, Bennett Gould, Shavonte Parker and Tia Torres created radio features including “Combined Sewer Overflow – Effects on Water Recreation” and “Teacher Furlough Fairness.” In addition, they completed a video about their experience working to help spread the message of the Endowments-sponsored Breathe Project air quality initiative.

The second team at the Endowments, “A.B.C.D.: Active Building for Community Development,” was inspired to support an effort to revitalize and restore a building and increase the livability of an area business district. The team of Sakina Blackman, Rachel Weingart, Shaquille Daniel, and Kierra Arnold completed a radio project on “Prejudice and Profiling” and photography related to air pollution for the Breathe Project.

The third team at the Endowments, "Fitsburgh” - Healthy Eating and Exercise for Youth, inspired to create a healthier community, sought to fund projects and programs that promote positive eating and exercise habits for children. Interns Ethan Busis, Fatuma Muya, Cortney Williams, Cara Lucke and Evan Harris completed two radio broadcasts: “Impact of Arts Education on Future Workforce” and “Oh, Deer! Deer Overpopulation.” In addition, they completed a video about Hazelwood, a neighborhood in Pittsburgh.

Interns working with Sustainable Pittsburgh focused their grantmaking on enhancing local food access and making locally sourced food more visible and accessible to municipal residents through "Produce Change - Municipal Food Committees." Interns Autumn Vogel, Megan Wall, Sean Gaudio, Oliver Plunkett and Hannibal Hopson completed radio projects "Green Infrastructure Could Help Region's Sewer Problems" and "Looming Bus Cuts Could Discontinue Many Routes, Strand Riders, Kill Jobs" in partnership with The Allegheny Front. The team also created a blog, "Greening Southwest PA."

The Student Conservation Association intern group, under the banner of Operation Education, hoped to fund innovative programs that provide technology training for youth. Interns Cara Kennedy, Hydia Withrow-Davis, Melia Barnes and Alexander Brown produced a radio feature "The Green Wave - Green Jobs on the Rise in Pittsburgh" and a photography project to raise awareness of the issue of homelessness.

The interns working with the Sarah Heinz House created Green PLAY: Productive Learning Affecting Young Children to fund the creation, maintenance, modification or renovation of a green play space or addition of natural play structures to existing playgrounds. The team of Tori Hirata, Michelle Callaway, Victoria Peatross and Roman Benty created a radio feature called "Crossing Bridges - Immigrants Taking Root in Pittsburgh" and a video about local foods.

The United Way of Allegheny County interns, through “LifeCycle” wanted to help children and youth succeed through cycling. They invested in programs for youth from low-income families that develop character and life skills through a bicycling-centered experience. Interns Willa Seybolt, Sarah Amick, Michael Curry and Judah Sklan produced a radio feature "The Unspoken Conversation - Schools Abstaining from STD Education." Their video addressed public transit issues.

A team of interns working with the Department of Human Services, "R.I.S.E.” - Secondary Education for Foster Youth, targeted its grant making on programs that help youth in, and transitioning from, the foster care system to pursue higher education. Interns Jamahra Mosby, Tersha Stover, Brieona Burgwin and Antonio Robinson completed a feature article about the child welfare system and two radio broadcasts. Robinson worked on "Combined Sewer Overflow - Effects on Water Recreation," and Stover and Burgwin produced "Adolescent Brain Development and the Long-Term Impacts of Drug Abuse."