Pittsburgh, Pa, May 18, 2023 – In the Pittsburgh community’s continuing struggle with post-pandemic challenges, The Heinz Endowments has awarded nearly $11.1 million in grants to support programs that strengthen children and families, focusing on areas including food insecurity, education, housing, and environmental health.
A total of 62 grants approved by the Endowments Board of Directors covers all three of the Endowments’ strategic program areas: Creativity, Learning and Sustainability. The funding provides support for programs and projects that reflect the Endowments’ deep commitment to the wellbeing of all families and children in southwestern Pennsylvania.
“The Heinz Endowments is dedicated to ensuring prosperity for everyone in the Pittsburgh region,” said Heinz Endowments President Chris DeCardy. “Deepening our support for organizations and leaders focused on our children through strengthening family and youth-serving programs is foundational to that vision for our future.”
Among the largest grants addressing the needs of families and children in this round of grantmaking are $600,000 to Center of Life as part of the Endowments’ ongoing support of the Hazelwood organization’s outreach and education programs for children and adults, and $500,000 to the University of Pittsburgh to support the Just Discipline model of restorative practices and parent engagement in schools, an initiative the Endowments has supported for more than six years.
The Clean Air Council receives $480,000 as part the Endowments’ continued support of its education, outreach and advocacy to improve air quality in the region. Grants of $400,000 each are awarded to the Pittsburgh Council on Higher Education to help sustain and grow Pittsburgh Scholar House, launched last year as a holistic approach to helping single parents attain higher education degrees while providing services to meet their other socioeconomic needs, and to Casa San Jose for organizing, advocacy and case management programs aimed at improving the financial position of Latinos in the Pittsburgh region.
Also, $400,000 grants are awarded to City of Bridges Community Land Trust for programs to help first-time homebuyers purchase affordable housing and to increase the supply of affordable housing in Allegheny County, and Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future to continue support for its strategies to address pollution, protect the environment and expand sustainable economic development.
The POISE Foundation receives $350,000 to support the opening of a new Downtown Youth Enrichment Center, which will provide a safe, secure and enriching learning environment in Downtown Pittsburgh for youth from across the region. The center also is intended to address concerns from youth, parents and Downtown stakeholders about the lack of safe and positive gathering spaces for young people.
Awards of $300,000 each go to Rising Tide Partners to preserve affordable housing in communities and prevent displacement of low-income residents and to Three Rivers Waterkeeper to protect the quality and health of the waters in the urban areas of the Pittsburgh region. Fred Rogers Productions receives $300,000 to help fund a range of educational services for children and support for families as well as to help advance diversity, equity and inclusion in children’s media, and the Education Law Center receives the same amount to address barriers to public education and promote policies that allow all students to thrive.
“It is important to meet families where they are, to understand their dreams and aspirations as well as the barriers in all aspects of their lives that impede their progress,” said Carmen Anderson, the Endowments’ Vice President of Equity and Research and interim Vice President of Learning. “These grants are intended to help create pathways for success, invest in youth to help them realize their potential, and address structural barriers that include housing and health needs that obstruct advancement.”
Other grants to support families and children include:
- Sixteen grants totaling $2.75 million support projects designed to address environmental issues facing families and children. These include $150,000 to Women for a Healthy Environment for lead prevention work and $215,000 to the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies to support the work of the Cancer and Environment Network of Southwestern Pennsylvania in reducing the use of and exposure to hazardous chemicals, promoting safer alternatives to these substances, and fostering networks to pursue policy changes that will address cancer regionally and nationally.
- Thirteen grants totaling $1.32 million help fund programs that provide learning and mental health support or career and entrepreneurial guidance to youth through the arts. Among these are grants of $100,000 each to the arts nonprofit Dreams of Hope to support its work in providing creative opportunities and safe spaces for queer and trans youth through theater, school and community programs, and to the nonprofit Lakeside to work in collaboration with the Bartol Foundation to develop online training for teaching artists and arts education administrators in recognizing and responding to students’ trauma. The fabrication and design nonprofit Protohaven also receives $100,000 for a pilot program to train children of color interested in becoming makers and entrepreneurs in areas such as woodworking, metalworking, and textiles and jewelry making along with instruction in entrepreneurship and vendor operations.
- Seven grants totaling $890,000 assist in expanding the availability of healthy food, especially for vulnerable communities, and addressing food insecurity. Among these grants are $240,000 to Farm to Table Buy Local to increase locally grown food, improve nutrition and help food-insecure residents obtain fresh and healthy food, and $125,000 to Wilkinsburg Community Ministry to address food insecurity in Wilkinsburg, Edgewood, Swissvale, Braddock, and several eastern neighborhoods in the City of Pittsburgh.
- Seven grants totaling $1.8 million help fund initiatives that assist youth and families affected by the criminal justice system or aim to prevent youth from entering the system. In addition to the grants supporting the Just Discipline program, the Downtown Youth Enrichment Center and the Education Law Center, this group includes $200,000 awards to Duquesne University to provide legal representation for youth in Allegheny County, and to Three Rivers Youth for the Reintegrating Fathers Program, which assists fathers leaving incarceration to re-enter their communities and their children’s lives successfully.
- Seven grants totaling $2.1 million support programs that address short-term or long-term housing needs for local families, with some programs providing education and social service support as well. In addition to the grants for Pittsburgh Scholar House, City of Bridges, Casa San Jose and Rising Tide Partners, this group of awards includes a grant of $250,000 to Just Mediation Pittsburgh to expand eviction prevention mediation services needed to meet the demand while an alternative dispute resolution pilot program is being developed within Allegheny County magistrate courts.
- Four grants totaling $425,000 help fund maternal and child health. They include $175,000 to Footbridge for Families to bolster its direct services to families in crisis and support a new information technology platform to improve the efficiency of its work and $100,000 to Three Rivers Mothers Milk Bank to help increase the organization’s capacity to meet the growing need for donor milk throughout the region.
- Three grants totaling $425,000 support policies and practices affecting teacher preparation, including $200,000 to Teach Plus Incorporated to help fund the Pennsylvania Policy Fellowship and Pennsylvania Teacher Network, which are programs that train teachers to work for effective education policy reforms.
- Three grants totaling $725,000 help fund programs that advance literacy and promote reading comprehension among children. In addition to the Fred Rogers grant, these awards include $200,000 to the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh to support its program providing every student in the Pittsburgh Public Schools with a library card as a way of increasing awareness of the library’s resources and supporting students’ academic success.
- In addition to the $600,000 Center of Life grant, another grant specifically targeting the needs of children and families in Pittsburgh’s Hazelwood neighborhood is $50,000 to New Sun Rising for the nonprofit Digital Bridges’ educational, digital readiness, career preparedness and entrepreneurship programs for students in the community.
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