2015 Program Recap

The Summer Youth Philanthropy Internship Program allows The Heinz Endowments to incorporate a youth voice in its grantmaking by engaging young adults as grant and media makers. In 2015, the program included 39 interns working in eight teams, each of which awarded $25,000 in grants. Six of the teams were in Pittsburgh while two were based in Johnstown, where they worked with the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies.

Each team researched issues related to making our communities more sustainable and connected with experts to learn more about the field of philanthropy. Relying on their new knowledge, the interns developed and distributed requests for proposals to solicit project ideas that they would consider funding. Graduate fellows Tiffany Kim and Tessa Hochberg guided the interns in their work day to day.

While waiting for grant proposals to be submitted, the interns learned about media and then produced short radio features — sometimes collaborating with students from different teams — highlighting issues in our communities that they cared about. Interns in both cities worked with SLB Radio to create their audio stories. While SLB provided training and coaching, the features presented here were conceived and created entirely by the students in a single week. The interns in Pittsburgh produced the seventh season of “The Green Compass,” and the interns in Johnstown created the third season of “Inclined to Care.” The recordings can be accessed online and also will be broadcast on SLB’s weekly radio program, The Saturday Light Brigade.

Interns working with Sustainable Pittsburgh focused their grantmaking on the promotion of positive outdoor experiences for youth. Their project “Bring Youth Outdoors” sought to fund the revitalization of an existing community green space through the creation of a youth stewardship program in an underserved area. First-year interns Emanule Cargile, Anna Fireman, Paige Golden and Marcus McGinniss, along with the help of their senior intern Elizabeth Vargo, created three radio pieces, "Invisible Victims: Youth with Incarcerated Parents," "Protecting PA’s Children through Background Checks," and “Recognizing Refugees - Pittsburgh’s Somali Bantu Students.” The team also created a blog, "Guide to Pittsburgh's Sustainable Green Spaces,” to highlight the various sustainability initiatives in Pittsburgh area parks and gardens.

Through their project "Technological Education for a Sustainable Future," interns working with the Student Conservation Association recommended grant funding to support the academic and technological growth of African American youth in Pittsburgh. Interns Sara Mannes, Marna Owens and Siraji Hassan, along with their senior intern Nick Koebly, produced radio pieces in partnership with The Saturday Light Brigade titled “Family Matters: Raising Children with Mental Illness,” “#BlackGirlsMatter: Criminalization of Black Girls” and “Recognizing Refugees - Pittsburgh Somali Bantu Students.” The team also constructed a blog highlighting their internship experience and documenting SCA’s work with mentoring youth.

Project Brush: Providing Victims of Trauma Access to Creative Arts,” was developed by the team located at the Allegheny County Department of Human Services, who was interested in recommending funding for creative arts programming for youth who have been involved in traumatic experiences. Interns Javier Arreola, Miciah Foster and Jamee-Akeylah Garth worked with senior intern Matthew Walker to create a tumblr blog titled “Ohana,” which is Hawaiian for “family.” The blog was centered on teen parenting resources, articles and testimonials. All three of the first-year interns collaborated with The Saturday Light Brigade to create radio pieces titled "Fostering Higher Education for All," "Balancing Forces: Women & Policing," and "Transgender Students: Experiences and Resources."

The Next Oxygen-eration” was developed by interns Freesoul El-Shabazz, Dante Barbetti, Azania Lane-Majestic and Kelly Wall, who worked with senior intern, Joshua Grail, and were located at the Endowments. Their project aimed to engage citizens in an underserved community of southwestern Pennsylvania about issues surrounding air quality. The team created a blog to document their research on air quality and air quality monitoring in the Pittsburgh region. Interns worked in partnership with The Saturday Light Brigade to produce radio pieces titled "Transgender Students: Experiences and Resources," “Family Matters: Raising Children with Mental Illness,” "Fostering Higher Education for All" and "Balancing Forces: Women & Policing."

Interns stationed at Sarah Heinz House created “Operation Opportunity,” which sought to reduce the opportunity gap experienced by children and teens from disadvantaged backgrounds by supporting programs that teach youth life lessons and important skills through sports. Senior intern Symphony Kendrick, working with Sophie Roe, Kailyn Chichilla and Andrew Scherbarth also created a social media project that advertised each Sarah Heinz House summer camp. The team’s radio pieces included "Transgender Students: Experiences and Resources," "Fostering Higher Education for All" and "Balancing Forces: Women & Policing."

Working at the United Way of Allegheny County, first-year interns Amma Ababio, Christina Ambrosino, Isaiah Cofield and Stephen O’Brion, along with senior intern Donshaé Pollard, created “Civically Engaging Youth for Tomorrow,” an opportunity to empower youth. The project supported efforts demonstrating that through youth leadership, organizing and civic engagement, youth can become valuable resources in the process of crafting and advocating for successful solutions to issues of public concern in their communities. The interns also worked on a social media project that highlighted a United Way program, Be a Middle School Mentor. Interns worked in partnership with The Saturday Light Brigade to produce radio pieces titled “#BlackGirlsMatter: Criminalization of Black Girls,” “Recognizing Refuges - Pittsburgh Somali Bantu Students” and "Invisible Victims: Youth with Incarcerated Parents."

Both teams in Johnstown researched and wrote blogs that will soon be posted on the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies’ revamped website. The Johnstown interns produced four stories with SLB Radio: “Digging Deeper into Farmers Markets” profiled Farmers Markets in Bedford and Johnstown; “Women Leaders in Cambria County” featured women executives; “Tranquility Gardens” highlighted a unique garden museum in Johnstown; and “Mental Health Advocacy: Advocating for Mental Health Awareness and Eradication of Associated Stigmas” looked at the negative perceptions of mental illness. Additionally, they worked in two teams to develop requests for proposals. Interns Kylee Farabaugh, David Saylor, Hayden Spangler, Tabitha Weaver and Mikella Buncich designed "R.A.V.E. - Reducing Alcohol Violence & Experimentation." They awarded funding to the Cambria County Prevention Coalition for a program that will provide multiple mini-grants to middle and high schools in the Bedford/Cambria/Somerset County region that offer activities for students during after-school hours to deter students from dangerous alternatives.

Interns Mikita Hill-Cashaw, Kate McGrath, Leah Sprock, Joshua Wagner and Ryan King designed "The Youthful Direction Initiative," with an aim to foster leadership, networking and civic pride in high school students. They awarded a grant to the Bedford County Chamber Foundation for Youth Leadership Bedford County, a 10-month leadership training program for Bedford County high school sophomores. The goal is for the program to become a pivotal life experience for the participants who will serve in leadership positions today and in the future. Additionally, they awarded funding to Mount Aloysius College for the development of the Tri-County Student Leadership Institute to strengthen youth leadership skills, raise awareness of local communities and prepare students for the next steps in their lives. The project goal is to foster leadership in local youth while exposing them to the resources their community has to offer.