Sustainability

Hazelwood community members talking to developers about the Hazelwood Green development. They are pointing to different sections of the master plan and writing comments. Hazelwood development community meeting. Photo by Annie O'Neill
At a Glance

  • Inclusive Economy
  • Clean Economy
  • Equitable Development
  • Environment & Public Health
  • Sustainable Food Systems
  • Military Veterans

Overview

The Endowments’ Sustainability strategic funding area incorporates the activities of the foundation’s former Environment & Health and Community & Economic Development program departments. The Sustainability funding area seeks to address underlying threats to Pittsburgh’s quality of life while focusing on opportunities to support the region’s health, safety and prosperity, now and for the future.

The Sustainability area’s vision is to contribute to a Just Pittsburgh, where economic and community development and healthy environment systems protect and benefit all citizens, where race, experience, identity and zip code do not determine life outcomes, where air and water are safe and where large sections of poor and vulnerable populations are not left behind.

As part of our Sustainability strategy, the Endowments seeks to improve the economic position of marginalized populations and places by advancing a clean economy, protecting the environment and public health and pursuing equitable development.

The Endowments also is focused on reducing disparities in our broad community related to environmental health, increasing access to healthy foods and successfully reintegrating veterans and their families into our community, in recognition of the assets they represent for our region.

Goals & Strategies
Goal 1: Inclusive Economy

Improve people's economic position through higher wages, family-sustaining employment and entrepreneurship.

Strategies:

  • Connect workers on the margins to family-sustaining employment.
  • Expand minority entrepreneurs’ access to capital and business development assistance.
  • Bolster opportunities for minority entrepreneurs to manage and increase their own income.
  • Connect opportunities from the innovation economy to all residents.


Endowments point of contact: Rob Stephany, Director, Community & Economic Development

Goal 2: Clean Economy

Advance a clean economy with renewables, green infrastructure and climate-friendly solutions.

Strategies:

  • Implement renewable and alternative energy solutions.
  • Apply green infrastructure best management practices to improve the water quality in Pittsburgh’s rivers and streams while providing secondary benefits to communities.
  • Promote innovative strategies at the neighborhood, local and regional level to reduce climate pollution.


Endowments point of contact: Philip Johnson, Director, Environment & Health

Goal 3: Equitable Development

Pursue socially just economic opportunity so that distressed neighborhoods thrive without displacing vulnerable residents.

Strategies:

  • Target distressed neighborhoods that are adjacent to strong markets that can leverage public and private capital to improve housing markets without displacing vulnerable residents.
  • Embrace first-in-class civic design.
  • Connect Pittsburgh through “complete streets,” transit-oriented development and alternative transportation.
  • Engage the arts and artists in socially just community revitalization, ennobling culture and neighborhood beautification.


Endowments point of contact:  Rob Stephany, Director, Community & Economic Development

Goal 4: Environment & Public Health

Restore and protect Pittsburgh’s environmental systems, and enhance its public health.

Strategies:

  • Protect all populations from disproportionate harm caused by pollution and reduce environmental health burdens, especially among those experiencing environmental injustice.
  • Encourage socially and environmentally responsible use of western Pennsylvania’s natural resources.
  • Deepen community engagement and leadership networks through education, outreach and advocacy.
  • Advance independent, comprehensive and fact-based scientific knowledge to foster healthy environments.


Endowments point of contact: Philip Johnson, Director, Environment & Health

Goal 5: Food Systems

Promote community health and vitality through sustainable food systems, especially in food deserts.

Strategies:

  • Improve access to fresh, healthy, local foods in low-income neighborhoods.
  • Promote urban agriculture as a means of increasing food security and educating participants about food systems.


Endowments point of contact: Andrew McElwaine, VP of Sustainability

Goal 6. Military Veterans

Create communities where military veterans and their families are welcomed, valued and understood.

Strategies:

  • Create easy-to-navigate pipelines to family-sustaining jobs, services, and opportunities for veterans and service members in the region.
  • Equip post-9/11 veterans and service members with the skills and networks necessary to become regional leaders.
  • Promote changes in workforce initiatives, social services, program funding and community conversations about veterans by supporting and advancing the narrative that veterans are assets for the region.
  • Work proactively and preventatively in the support of veterans, service members and family members, and promote best practices to impact predominantly reactive public policy.


Endowments point of contact: Megan Andros, Program Officer, Community & Economic Development

Highlighted Grantee
Highlighted Grantee The Positive Spin program  improves self-confidence, teaches self-reliance, and integrates healthy activity into everyday life.  (Photo by Steven Yeh)
Bike Pittsburgh's Positive Spin

Positive Spin, Bike Pittsburgh's youth cycling program, teaches young people the essential skills they need to safely operate bikes and navigate city streets, trails and parks. Participants in the program, which pairs adult mentors with youth to complete bike rides, advocacy projects, and learn basic maintenance, have collectively clocked thousands of miles across our region.  

Start a youth cycling program in your community with the Positive Spin toolkit

Our grants tell the story of what we care about - people and the places where they live.

View All Grants Awarded

Cancer and the Environment Symposium

New data and personal stories bring urgency to examining link between cancer and our environment

What role do environmental factors – the harmful chemicals in our air, land, water and products – play in cancer severity and diagnosis rates in our region? That question was front and center at the recent “Cancer and the Environment Symposium: Priorities for Research, Policy, and Clinical Practice” at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. The event spotlighted eye-opening data and personal stories, underscoring the urgency of unified cross-sector action.    Learn more.

Capturing the Next Economy: Pittsburgh’s rise as a global innovation city

Pittsburgh’s innovation economy is strong and growing, but city leaders can do more with its existing assets to compete globally and capitalize on the region’s growing innovation clusters, according to a new report from the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Initiative on Innovation and Placemaking at the Brookings Institution.

The culmination of an 18-month study, “Capturing the Next Economy: Pittsburgh’s rise as a global innovation city” examines Pittsburgh’s unique opportunity to become a top global destination for technology-based economic activity and as a key part of Pittsburgh’s efforts to become a world-class innovation city.

Program Staff
Andrew S. McElwaine
Andrew S. McElwaine Vice President, Sustainability
Karen Abrams
Karen Abrams Program Officer, Equitable Development
Megan Andros
Megan Andros Senior Program Officer for Veterans
Matthew  Barron
Matthew Barron Program Officer, Sustainability
Philip R.S. Johnson
Philip R.S. Johnson Director, Environment & Health
Rob Stephany
Rob Stephany Director, Community & Economic Development
Mary M. Program Assistant, Community & Economic Development
Michele Tonti
Michele Tonti Administrative Assistant, Sustainability

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Find out how to apply for a grant and other details related to the application process.

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As of Jan. 1, it is mandatory for children residing within Allegheny County to undergo blood screenings between 9 and 12 months old and again at 2 years of age to detect lead exposure...

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Pittsburgh Organization Offering Free Water Filters, Hosting Events On How To Prevent Lead Exposure Pittsburgh Organization Offering Free Water Filters, Hosting Events On How To Prevent Lead Exposure

A local nonprofit is offering free water filters to Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority customers, while working to educate Pittsburgh-area residents on preventing lead exposure...

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$15M in tax credits to transform former steel mill into tech hub $15M in tax credits to transform former steel mill into tech hub

Gov. Tom Wolf announced Wednesday that the state will pitch in $15 million in tax credits to expedite construction at Hazelwood Green — the site of a massive abandoned steel mill that a group of

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Karen Abrams appointed program director for equitable development

The Heinz Endowments has appointed Karen Abrams program director for equitable development. Abrams, who most recently was manager of diversity and community affairs for the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh, starts her new post at the

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Continuing to serve: A bipartisan PAC wants more vets in Congress

Congress needs less partisanship and more earnest problem-solvers. That means calling in the Marines, along with the Army, Navy and Air Force, according to one newly launched political action committee...

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Endowments names Karen Abrams Program Officer for Equitable Development

The Heinz Endowments today announced the appointment of Karen Abrams as program officer for equitable development. Ms. Abrams joins the Endowments Dec. 7 and will focus on infusing equity into the Endowments’ redevelopment funding

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A free Primanti's sandwich or Sheetz car wash? Businesses offer thanks for vets' service A free Primanti's sandwich or Sheetz car wash? Businesses offer thanks for vets' service

The grizzled military veterans stood sentry in a line that started around 9:30 a.m. Saturday and grew longer by the minute. Many had beaming families by their side, children and grandchildren in tow.

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'Veterans Breakfast Club' offers help to heal from moral injuries 'Veterans Breakfast Club' offers help to heal from moral injuries

For several months, Diana Nelson Jones has been listening to the stories of war veterans over coffee, at their workplaces, in lunch booths, at conferences and at gatherings of the Veterans Breakfast Club. Each one

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Nonprofit sets goals for connecting Pittsburgh-area veterans and jobs Nonprofit sets goals for connecting Pittsburgh-area veterans and jobs

At least 50 organizations in the Pittsburgh region have declared a mission to serve veterans in some capacity, from housing assistance to education to social services. For one of the most basic — getting a job

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Google launches $250,000 Pittsburgh Impact Challenge for nonprofits Google launches $250,000 Pittsburgh Impact Challenge for nonprofits

Google officially launched a $250,000 challenge that will provide funding to Pittsburgh-area nonprofits with ideas on how to grow the local economy.

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2017 Shale & Public Health Conference Nov. 13 In Pittsburgh

The League of Women Voters of PA and University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health will host the 2017 Shale and Public Health Conference on November 13 at the Pitt University Club, 123 University

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Breathe Initiative Transitions to Independent Local Nonprofit Organization

PITTSBURGH, Pa., Oct. 26, 2017 – The Breathe Project, a web and social media platform developed by The Heinz Endowments to increase community awareness about Pittsburgh’s poor air quality, has completed its transfer to local

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Getting Real About Climate Change Getting Real About Climate Change

This week in Pittsburgh, about 1300 people are in training to become climate leaders in their communities. That means convincing other people to make changes to their lives. But how? Ken Berlin is the president ...

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Al Gore: We’re Getting Close to Bipartisan Action on Climate Al Gore: We’re Getting Close to Bipartisan Action on Climate

Al Gore says he’s optimistic the U.S. will break its political standoff over climate change, and that the U.S. is “not that far” from a bipartisan consensus on climate change.

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From Flint to Pittsburgh, children need protection from lead, pediatrician says From Flint to Pittsburgh, children need protection from lead, pediatrician says

“How do we preserve the tomorrows of our kids?” asked Flint, Mich., pediatrician Mona Hanna-Attisha at an event Wednesday sharing her ongoing advocacy for eliminating lead exposure in children, first sparked by her city’s water

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Gore Tells Climate Activists: ‘We’re Going to Win This’ Gore Tells Climate Activists: ‘We’re Going to Win This’

Al Gore stood on a stage at Pittsburgh’s David L. Lawrence Convention Center showing a crowd of 1300 would-be climate activists what is by now his signature visual aide: his slide show.

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Last Major Pittsburgh Steel Mill Site Reborn As Hazelwood Green

With key infrastructure elements and land remediation at or near completion at the 178-acre Almono site in Hazelwood, Allegheny County elected officials, community leaders and Almono LLC Project Director Rebecca Flora gathered October 13 to

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Al Gore hosts 3-day climate change workshop in Pittsburgh this week Al Gore hosts 3-day climate change workshop in Pittsburgh this week

Just days after the Trump administration signaled its continued retreat from Obama-era climate change policies, former Vice President Al Gore will open his latest Climate Reality Leadership Corps training program in Pittsburgh this week.

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Pittsburgh's last major steel mill development site renamed Hazelwood Green Pittsburgh's last major steel mill development site renamed Hazelwood Green

The owners of Pittsburgh's last major industrial property rechristened the 178 acres along the Monongahela River on Friday after its host neighborhood: Hazelwood Green.

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Al Gore coming to Pittsburgh next week for climate change workshop Al Gore coming to Pittsburgh next week for climate change workshop

Al Gore will be in Pittsburgh next week headlining a three-day climate change workshop for more than 1,000 environmentally minded activists, scientists and community leaders.

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Crossing the Corporate Bridge: BNY Mellon Hosts Veterans Leadership Forum in Pittsburgh

A recent Veterans Leadership Forum (VLF), hosted by the Pittsburgh chapter of BNY Mellon's VETNET employee resource group, brought together senior BNY Mellon executives and talent professionals, members of the broader Pittsburgh nonprofit and academic

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Ahead of our time in life sciences

Pittsburgh is usually ahead of its time. Occasionally we get reminded of this in surprising and satisfying ways.

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Study: Pittsburgh and its universities aren't leveraging full economic potential Study: Pittsburgh and its universities aren't leveraging full economic potential

Pittsburgh talks a lot about its great universities, hospitals and their draw for businesses, but the region isn’t really exploiting the assets that have been so attractive to so many tech giants, among others, according

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New Pittsburgh multicultural unit to translate 5 languages for immigrants New Pittsburgh multicultural unit to translate 5 languages for immigrants

Pittsburgh will translate messaging from its public safety departments into Arabic, Chinese, Nepalese, Spanish and Swahili as part of an effort to ensure that immigrants and refugees can access city services.

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Pittsburgh's new multicultural unit will help communication — in Arabic, Chinese, Nepali, Spanish and Swahili Pittsburgh's new multicultural unit will help communication — in Arabic, Chinese, Nepali, Spanish and Swahili

Pittsburgh's Public Safety department is angling to strengthen ties — and trust — with refugee and immigrant communities through a multicultural program.

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Almono mega-development in Hazelwood aims to be a “24/7 neighborhood” Almono mega-development in Hazelwood aims to be a “24/7 neighborhood”

The big piles of dirt move, sometimes. So far, one might think that’s the extent of the excitement at the long-awaited Almono development in Hazelwood. As much as $1 billion in development has been mapped

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Despite greater scrutiny, depth of schools' lead problem unclear Despite greater scrutiny, depth of schools' lead problem unclear

Ronald Joseph recalled waking up anxious every Friday for two months straight. The chief technology officer of Pennsylvania's second-largest school district described having "a hold-your-breath moment" each week during summer 2016 as he met with

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Hilltop Urban Farm in South Pittsburgh is set to become the largest urban farm in the country

"First ribbon-cutting for a farm in probably 100 years in the City of Pittsburgh,” quipped Mayor Bill Peduto at the future site of Hilltop Urban Farm, a 107-acre property in the city’s tiny St. Clair

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One of the country's largest urban farms is underway at former St. Clair Village public housing project One of the country's largest urban farms is underway at former St. Clair Village public housing project

Aimee Mangham has found shoes, dolls, baby booties and jump ropes in the soil as she plows around the horseshoe that used to be Bonifay Street. With her husband James, she co-owns Go Supreme, a

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Urban farm planned for former Pittsburgh housing project site Urban farm planned for former Pittsburgh housing project site

Rev. Maurice C. Trent Jr. remembers walking the streets of St. Clair Village when the former Pittsburgh housing project was a notorious haven for drug dealers, gang activity and murder.

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New Tazza d’Oro coffee shop to anchor Millvale’s Bennett Station project New Tazza d’Oro coffee shop to anchor Millvale’s Bennett Station project

It took nearly 25 years, but Millvale is finally getting its Tazza d’Oro.

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No One Left Behind is the “first friend” to America’s wartime allies in Pittsburgh No One Left Behind is the “first friend” to America’s wartime allies in Pittsburgh

“The first thing we say is, ‘Welcome home,’” says Tiffany Landis, director of family services for the newly-launched Pittsburgh branch of No One Left Behind. “That’s when the real work begins.”

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Robotics institute set to anchor Pittsburgh's mammoth Almono development Robotics institute set to anchor Pittsburgh's mammoth Almono development

Carnegie Mellon University's Advanced Robotics Manufacturing Institute will be the first anchor tenant to set up shop in a former Hazelwood steel mill, officials said Monday.

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Al Gore wants Pittsburgh to join the fight against climate change, and he’s giving us the tools to do it

Want to do something about climate change but don’t know where to start? What better way to learn than through an event organized by one of the world’s most famous environmental activists: former Vice President

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Renovation of Elizabeth Pharmacy could be a sign of bigger things to come in Hazelwood Renovation of Elizabeth Pharmacy could be a sign of bigger things to come in Hazelwood

Joe Reich surveys the aisles of his pharmacy as he walks toward the front, winding his way around a cart with dry goods an employee has parked by the food shelves. He exchanges warm hellos

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Gore to host climate change workshop in Pittsburgh Gore to host climate change workshop in Pittsburgh

Al Gore, former vice president of the United States and climate change crusader, is bringing his Climate Reality Leadership Corps training program to Pittsburgh in October.

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CREATE Lab clears the air with improved Smell PGH app and new website CREATE Lab clears the air with improved Smell PGH app and new website

Smell PGH—a mobile app built by Carnegie Mellon University’s CREATE Lab—has provided residents with a tool to sniff out the sources behind noxious, and possibly dangerous odors in their neighborhoods. And in Pittsburgh, a city

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Foundations gather in Pittsburgh to talk about lending support to help low-wage workers Foundations gather in Pittsburgh to talk about lending support to help low-wage workers

Stephanie Fello, a prepared-foods clerk at the South Side Giant Eagle, rose through the ranks of the union representing workers during her nearly six years with the O’Hara-based grocer.

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Pittsburgh plans to spend $5 million to simplify building permit approval process

The city of Pittsburgh plans to spend more than $5 million in a bid to simplify and speed up its system for approving permits, an issue that has been the topic of growing complaints from

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Smell Something, Say Something Smell Something, Say Something

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University's CREATE Lab are rolling out new features in Smell PGH, a smartphone app that helps Pittsburgh area residents collectively report foul odors and alert each other to suspicious smells that

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After two years, countywide solar campaign ends on sunny note After two years, countywide solar campaign ends on sunny note

Randy Bondi had never given solar energy much thought until he noticed a serendipitous advertisement. One day in the fall of 2015, he saw an item in Etna’s borough newsletter about a campaign launching to

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Hire the vet: A comprehensive effort to employ veterans’ skills

The Heinz Endowments’ new campaign to promote the hiring of veterans is about more than putting people in jobs. It’s about getting employers to understand the sophisticated skills veterans bring to the table and matching

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Campaign urging Pittsburgh employers to hire vets

As a maintenance officer in Iraq during the Second Gulf War, Megan Andros commanded more than 100 troops in a heavy brigade combat team, and oversaw millions of dollars worth of weapons and other equipment.

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Heinz Endowments launches campaign for vets Heinz Endowments launches campaign for vets

The Heinz Endowments has unveiled a national campaign to help veterans re-enter the civilian workforce.

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Heinz Endowments' new messaging campaign to rethink veterans

PITTSBURGH Pa., June 1, 2017 -- A major public campaign was today launched in the Pittsburgh region in efforts to help create a true understanding of the challenges faced by veterans seeking to re-integrate into

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Etna receives funding for commercial, residential redevelopment

Etna has received two grants to revitalize its business district for commercial and residential use, according to borough Manager Mary Ellen Ramage.

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Penn State: Shale Gas Threat To Forests Can Be Eased By Consolidating Infrastructure

Fragmentation of ecologically important core forests within the northern Appalachians — driven by pipeline and access road construction — is the major threat posed by shale-gas development, according to researchers, who recommend a change in

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Pittsburgh groups work to rid schools and child care centers of lead, radon

Two nonprofits are launching a program to help Pittsburgh-area schools and child care centers get rid of lead and radon hazards.

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1,000 Hours a Year initiative will help local schools test for lead and radon 1,000 Hours a Year initiative will help local schools test for lead and radon

Women for a Healthy Environment (WHE) and the Green Building Alliance (GBA) announced at a joint press conference Thursday a new initiative, 1,000 Hours a Year, that will provide funding to local schools and early

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Pittsburgh environmental groups launch initiative to help schools and child-care facilities address lead and radon Pittsburgh environmental groups launch initiative to help schools and child-care facilities address lead and radon

Children spend an estimated 1,000 hours every year in schools, early-education centers and after-school programs. While parents can work to protect their children from environmental hazards like lead and radon at home, they have little

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This new initiative will help Pittsburgh-area schools and pre-schools test for lead and radon This new initiative will help Pittsburgh-area schools and pre-schools test for lead and radon

Superintendent Patrick Graczyk didn’t sleep for 48 hours after he had received his school district's lead testing results.

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Pittsburgh could spend $900K to restructure PWSA Pittsburgh could spend $900K to restructure PWSA

Pittsburgh has chosen a Maryland-based infrastructure consulting firm to manage a possible restructuring of the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority.

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Data Doesn't Solve Problems, But It Sure Can Help

Bob Gradeck can’t stand the term “data-driven.” It might seem odd that the project director of the Western Pennsylvania Regional Data Center would recoil at a data-centric phrase, but Gradeck sees data as tools and

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What it was like “Living Downwind” of Shenango Coke Works What it was like “Living Downwind” of Shenango Coke Works

In 2015, communities near Neville Island rejoiced when it was announced that the Shenango Coke Works, a plant blamed for pumping out noxious pollution, would shut down. In the months since it officially closed, organizations

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Shale gas threat to forests can be eased by consolidating infrastructure

Fragmentation of ecologically important core forests within the northern Appalachians -- driven by pipeline and access road construction -- is the major threat posed by shale-gas development, according to researchers, who recommend a change in

...

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Crazy Mocha banks on Braddock, invests in community revitalization

The blighted town of Braddock is poised for a jolt of caffeine from a brand-name coffeehouse that could open this fall if financing comes through.

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Kidsburgh: Local High School Students Jumpstart Redevelopment Kidsburgh: Local High School Students Jumpstart Redevelopment

A group of incredibly impressive kids and their passionate, dedicated teacher at Brownsville Area High School in Fayette County, are getting national recognition for helping jumpstart redevelopment in their boarded up downtown.
 

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Report Finds Fracking Companies Often Get Slap-On-The-Wrist Fines Report Finds Fracking Companies Often Get Slap-On-The-Wrist Fines

According to a new report from the group PennEnvironment, only 17 percent of environmental or health violations by fracking companies in Pennsylvania resulted in fines. And when companies did get fined, the penalties were relatively

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La Gourmandine opens new storefront and bakery facility in Hazelwood La Gourmandine opens new storefront and bakery facility in Hazelwood

Second Avenue in Hazelwood is smelling much sweeter these days as French bakery La Gourmandine prepares to open its third Pittsburgh location on Monday. The artisan bakery is a key part of the area’s revitalization

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