2013 Program Recap

The Heinz Endowments employs young adults each summer as youth philanthropy interns to incorporate a youth voice in its grantmaking. This year, the program included 42 interns working in nine teams, each of which awarded $25,000 in grants. The teams researched issues related to making the Pittsburgh region more sustainable and worked with experts to learn more about exciting developments in the field of philanthropy. 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 to be submitted, the interns worked with Saturday Light Brigade and Pittsburgh Filmmakers to learn about media, and then produced short features highlighting issues in our communities that they cared about. Graduate Fellow Megan Neuf guided the interns in their work day to day.

Interns Bennett Gould, Lauren Leblanc, Jeremy Moore, Ashley Negron and Dynae Shaw were based at the Endowments and wanted to fund a project focusing on improving the health of adolescents in the foster care system. “H.I.F.I.: Health Improvements for Fostered Individuals” sought to support programs that will improve the physical, sexual and/or mental health of youth in the foster care system. Leblanc, Negron and Shaw also created the radio feature “Ratings Reality: Most Livable for Whom?” about how Pittsburgh’s title of “Most Livable City” does not apply to all communities in the city. Moore completed “Is College Worth It?” about alternatives to college for high school graduates. In addition, these interns developed a blog about their experience working to help spread the message of the Endowments-sponsored Breathe Project air quality initiative.

The second team working at the Endowments created “Project G.P.S.” to support international travel for students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Interns Deanne Human, Jackie Sharp, Tersha Stover, Chad Wallace and Annie Widom also recorded a radio piece called “Aging Out - A Special Needs Dilemma,” which examined the mindset of employers and families of those with special needs once the individuals reach adulthood. Finally, the interns also created a media project using photography and audio recordings focusing on the cultures of immigrants to Pittsburgh over the years.

The third team at the Endowments, “G.R.I.P.: Green Renovations in Progress,” focused its grantmaking on green infrastructure, such as rain gardens, green roofs, innovative lighting and other sustainable features. They also wanted these projects to be used to educate others about sustainability. This team included interns Kierra Arnold, Brandon Briscoe, Morgan Burton and Jessica Cohen. They produced a radio piece titled “Perceptions: Achieving Equity in Education,” which examined a 1996 conciliation agreement between Pittsburgh Public Schools and Advocates for African American Students to address complaints about how black students were treated in the district. Their photography project documented the experience of being a youth philanthropy intern.

Interns Nehemiah Norris, Rina Matsuda, Alexandra Sorce, Alexander Schempf, and Megan Wall, working with Sustainable Pittsburgh, focused their grantmaking on the promotion of safe biking and walking practices through “Pedals and Pedestrians.” The grant focused on creating bike/“ped” advocacy committees in local municipalities and encouraging better education of individuals about these forms of transportation. Norris, Matsuda and Sorce recorded “An Up Hill Battle,” about efforts to redevelop the city’s Hill District neighborhood. Schempf’s radio feature, “Get in the Groove,” examined renewed public enthusiasm for vinyl records. The team also continued the blog, "Greening Southwest PA,” which was started by interns last summer. It includes a promotional video for Sustainable Pittsburgh’s Sustainable Community Essentials Certification program.

The Student Conservation Association interns, Nina Barbetti, Alec Brown, Aamin Davis and Kaylia Smith, created “Greenovation” to award a grant to train youth in green renovation. Davis and Smith’s radio feature was “Police Profiling,” which examined relations between police officers and communities. Barbetti recorded “Don’t Appropriate, Appreciate,” about the adoption of the symbols or traditions of a culture by another culture. The team also produced a video project to raise awareness on ALCOSAN’s Wet Weather Plan to address Pittsburgh’s Combined Sewer Overflow problems.

The interns working with the Sarah Heinz House created “Applied Academics” to fund programs that facilitate connections between academics and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). Interns Seth Diggs, Michael Forrest, Kelsey Miller and Patrick Rielly recorded a video titled “Future of Biking in Pittsburgh” and completed two radio broadcasts. Forrest and Rielly produced a radio feature “STEM for All” while Miller produced “Discover the Underground,” about Pittsburgh’s positive hip-hop scene.

The United Way of Allegheny County interns, through “Local Outdoor and Camping Opportunity,” wanted to help children and youth build healthy living habits that can be carried into adulthood. They invested in programs that help youth develop healthier and more active lifestyles through outdoor recreation and other forms of exercise. Interns Sarah Amick, Hema Neupane, Evan Sweeney, Gentry Taylor and Grace Trocano produced a radio feature about school discipline policies, “Consequences of Zero-Tolerance Discipline." Their multimedia blog focuses on the stories of Bhutanese refugees settled in Pittsburgh.

"Great Greenhouses,” the team of interns working with the Allegheny County Department of Human Services, supported the acquisition of greenhouses for community gardens. Interns Michelle Callaway, Tiffany McCartan, Ramond Nelson and Jonah Wright completed a video titled “Pittsburgh Fitness” about staying healthy in Pittsburgh. The interns also created a radio broadcast titled “Discrimination Speaks” that presented stories of discrimination in the Pittsburgh community.

In addition, The Community Foundation for the Alleghenies’ inaugural class of interns sought to support educational programs aimed at preparing students for jobs that can be attained in Bedford, Cambria and Somerset counties. Interns Keith Hartman, Kylie Putman, Kendra Slis, Janae Staicer and Anthony Wagner issued a request for proposals called "Routes: Linking Students, Families and Businesses for Success," to connect students, parents and businesses in a cohesive, sustainable and measurable way to prepare students for entering the regional workforce. Funding was ultimately awarded to the Somerset County Chamber of Commerce Foundation. Additionally, under the title “Inclined to Care,” the interns recorded reflections on the internship experience, as well as two radio documentaries. "Spotlight on Cambria City" explored a dynamic neighborhood of Johnstown, and "Food Security in our Region," looked at the growing problem of hunger in the region.