PITTSBURGH, Pa., May 6, 2020 – The Heinz Endowments Board of Directors approved more than $6.7 million in funding yesterday (May 5) for equity-focused projects in the Pittsburgh region, including grants totaling over $2.3 million to support local criminal justice reform efforts.
The criminal justice grants are part of the Endowments’ three-year, $10 million reform initiative called the Restoration Project, which was launched at the end of 2018. The current round of funding is divided into three areas: advocacy and policy, promising practices, and research.
“The COVID-19 crisis is exacerbating issues of poverty and racial inequality in our community at the same time that it is illuminating them,” said Grant Oliphant, President of the Endowments. “We will never to be able to create the resilient community of the future that we strive for unless we address directly the deep issues of inequity that afflict our community and our nation.”
Among the criminal justice advocacy and policy grants are $250,000 to the Allegheny County Office of the Public Defender to support advocacy in the areas of indigent defense, juvenile justice and public policy, and $175,000 to the American Civil Liberties Foundation of Pennsylvania to build advocacy capacity and advance policies in Western Pennsylvania that focus on reforming bail and probation procedures and ending what is essentially a modern debtors’ prison system.
Funding for promising practices will cover $400,00 to the Pennsylvania State University for Project Giving Adolescents Meaningful Experiences (PROJECT GAME), a transition year program for students leaving the Community Intensive Supervision Program that helps prepare them for the workforce or college.
Other support in this category includes a $350,000 grant to the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas-Family Division to redesign the courthouse by upgrading the building’s technology and incorporating improvements in the courtroom and waiting areas that accommodate people with special needs and those experiencing the impact of trauma.
The Bloomfield-Garfield Corporation will receive $150,000 to help fund an innovative jail diversion program that offers participants opportunities for community service to pay down court fines and fees if they cannot afford to do so.
Among the research grants is $350,000 to the University of Pittsburgh to analyze disparities in the Allegheny County criminal justice system with an emphasis on racial discrimination.
“The Restoration grants address access to legal representation and jail diversion, advocacy around targeted policy reform, research aimed at identifying the root causes of race-based disparities, and implementation of evidence-based practices to improve services for those affected by the criminal justice system,” explained Endowments Chief Equity Officer Carmen Anderson. “We believe that addressing reform on multiple fronts can leverage momentum in the county and increase opportunities for changing the system, ultimately making it fairer.”
Ms. Anderson said the other $4.4 million in grants within the equity package focus on building capacity and leadership in the nonprofit sector and the broader community to tackle a range of equity issues.
The largest award – $500,000 – will go to the Forbes Fund to support its efforts to create a thriving nonprofit environment with a core focus on equity and inclusion. Among the other grants are:
- $400,000 to the nonprofit Locally Grown to support a business accelerator and community center in Wilkinsburg, focusing on community-serving nonprofit organizations and under-resourced entrepreneurs and residents.
- $250,000 to the POISE Foundation to support The Advanced Leadership Initiative (TALI), an organization that develops and implements programs to build a pipeline of African American executive leaders.
- $250,000 to Casa San Jose for its programs aimed at empowering the Latinx community in Pittsburgh through rapid response programs, community and youth organizing, and a new pilot program to provide intensive case management.
- $200,000 to Borealis Philanthropy to support the Disability Inclusion Fund intended to support the underserved disability community.
“There is significant evidence that the most impactful work is done by organizations most closely aligned with the communities they serve,” Ms. Anderson said. “As we acknowledge this – it is important to build partnerships and invest in approaches that support and strengthen these organizations to provide ongoing services and advocacy as they push for social change.”
The following is the full list of equity grants approved by a full meeting of The Heinz Endowments Board on Tuesday:
Restoration Project Grants
Pennsylvania State University: $400,000 to support Project Giving Adolescents Meaningful Experiences (PROJECT GAME), a transition year program for students leaving the Community Intensive Supervision Program (CISP), to help students transition into the workforce or college.
University of Pittsburgh: $350,000 to conduct disparities research in the Allegheny County criminal justice system with an emphasis on racial disparities.
Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas-Family Division: $350,000 to redesign the courthouse, upgrade technology and incorporate improvements in the courtroom and waiting areas to address special needs and impact of trauma.
Allegheny County Office of the Public Defender: $250,000 to support the Office of the Public Defender in areas of advocacy in the areas of indigent defense, juvenile justice, and public policy.
Juvenile Law Center: $250,000 to address racial injustice as part of the reform of the juvenile justice system in Pennsylvania.
A Childs Place: $177,681 to provide case management, substance abuse information, and referrals for Allegheny County women with a history of incarceration and to support a project that will enable these women to read, record and send storybooks to their children.
American Civil Liberties Foundation of Pennsylvania: $175,000 to support policy and advocacy capacity building that addresses the criminal justice reform movement in Western Pennsylvania with a focus on bail reform, probation reform, and modern debtors’ prison.
Pennsylvania Innocence Project: $150,987 to sustain and grow the Pennsylvania Innocence Project’s work providing free legal services to likely innocent individuals in prison and advocating for systemic change to increase access to justice and prevent future wrongful convictions.
Bloomfield-Garfield Corporation: $150,000 to support an innovative alternative adjudication/jail diversion program that provides community service opportunities to pay down court fines and fees for participants who cannot afford to do so.
Kidsvoice: $100,000 to support a program that leverages Allegheny County-provided data to dramatically expand representation of current and former foster youth in summary offense cases before magistrate district judges.
Other Equity Grants
The Forbes Funds: $500,000 to create a thriving nonprofit environment that is aligned with the emerging economics that is transforming the City of Pittsburgh and directly impacting 252 organizations in providing capacity building services, with a core focus on equity and inclusion.
Hazelwood Initiative: $475,000 for general operating support, capacity building, and planning for the stabilization of a strategic vacant former school facility.
Locally Grown: $400,000 to support a business accelerator and community center in Wilkinsburg, with a focus on community-serving nonprofit organizations and under-resourced entrepreneurs and residents.
Carnegie Mellon University: $289,000 to support Visualization for Equity, a program that continues the work of the CREATE Lab in building data layers to identify barriers to equity, including demographics, economics, housing, opportunity, education, and environment.
POISE Foundation: $250,000 to support The Advanced Leadership Initiative (TALI), an organization that develops and implements programs to build a pipeline of African American executive leaders.
Casa San Jose: $250,000 to support and empower the Latinx community in Pittsburgh through community organizing, rapid response programs, youth organizing, and a new pilot program to provide intensive case management.
Pittsburgh Conservation Corps: $250,000 for general operating support to recruit, train, prepare, place and support hard-to-place workers using land management contracts for wages and program support.
ACTION-Housing: $250,000 to renovate the historic Centre Avenue YMCA as single room occupancy housing for men at risk of homelessness.
Christian Immigration Advocacy Center: $225,000 to increase organizational capacity, long-term sustainability, and strategic development.
Borealis Philanthropy: $200,000 to support the Disability Inclusion Fund intended to support the underserved disability community.
Gwen’s Girls: $200,000 to support the continued operation and programming of the Black Girls Equity Alliance, which provides collaborative, interdisciplinary initiatives that address structural inequalities and subsequent disparities experienced by black girls.
Latino Community Center: $200,000 to assist the Latino Community Center with providing comprehensive education and family support services as the lead fiscal agency of the Latino Family Center.
Light of Life Ministries Inc.: $200,000 to support Light of Life Ministries’ plans to expand, relocate and increase programming for homeless men, woman and children on Pittsburgh’s North Side.
Pittsburgh United: $164,430 to benchmark, research best practices, engage stakeholders and generate a strategic plan for a black worker center in the Pittsburgh region.
University of Pittsburgh: $125,000 to assess the state of affordable housing and housing market conditions in Allegheny County and develop a comprehensive data portal to help organizations proactively address the housing crisis.
New Voices Pittsburgh: $100,000 to support the SistahSpeak! Youth Project, a leadership development program for young black women, femmes and girls focused on health education, cultural enrichment and social justice.
Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh: $100,000 to fund the Global Anti-Hate Conference and Legacy Project aimed at fostering the development and implementation of rule-of-law initiatives to counter hate around the world.
Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh: $75,000 to incubate an educational program that will empower students and communities to be resilient against hate, and build a national coalition to bring the program to other cities.
Operation Better Block, Inc.: $70,000 to support the Homewood Green initiative.
Northside Industrial Development Company: $50,000 to support the Black Environmental Collective and environmental justice projects.
Repair the World: $40,000 to fund a series of monthly Community Conversations, in partnership with 1Hood Media and World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh, providing guided conversation around social issues including racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and poverty.
For information contact:
The Heinz Endowments