Vibrant Pittsburgh, Urban Affairs Foundation announce 2014 grant recipients

Vibrant Pittsburgh, Urban Affairs Foundation announce 2014 grant recipients

Vibrant Pittsburgh and the Urban Affairs Foundation, of the Community Relations Council (CRC) of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, have announced the grant recipients for the 2014 Civic Inclusion & Engagement Fund.

The fund is a joint venture of the two groups seeking to build and strengthen our region by supporting its diverse communities.

Each organization committed $25,000 to create a $50,000 pool to fund projects that increase civic engagement, improve quality of life and help strengthen our city and region.

More than 80 organizations submitted proposals and the 12 funded projects were selected by community leaders.

Grants awarded will provide services to diverse populations encompassing African-Americans, Latinos, LGBTQ communities, refugees and new immigrants, individuals with disabilities and faith-based community groups. 

Unique collaborations were formed among grant recipients such as Just Harvest, the Latino Family Center, the Bhutanese Community Association of Pittsburgh (BCAP) and One Woman Farm to increase awareness and expand the diversity of farmers’ market products for the region’s diverse communities.

Two student organizations from the University of Pittsburgh, FORGE and Keep It Real, will implement the Pittsburgh Refugee Youth Summer Enrichment (PRYSE) academy, providing academic skill building and creative expression workshops to the city’s refugee youth. These collaborations illustrate how seemingly different groups can join together to develop innovative and creative ideas for reinforcing how Pittsburgh, and Allegheny County, is a model region for inclusion and collaboration.

“The 2014 grants represent advancements on many levels,” Meyer “Skip” Grinberg, chair of the Community Relations Council, said in a prepared statement. “Not only will funding make possible creative and innovative projects touching populations that are generally under-represented.  But what really distinguishes this regional development initiative is the way it encourages small organizations working on behalf of targeted constituencies to think bigger — and it positions them to realize the power of partnership.”

The 2014 Civic Inclusion & Engagement Fund minigrants awarded will fund:

• Building an Accessible Welcome Strategy, making hands-on arts experiences more accessible and affordable to people with disabilities — a partnership between Union Project and Creative Citizens Studios;

Canta Pittsburgh: Choral Music and Culture as Tools for Family Inclusion, Integration and Retention, promoting Latino culture in Pittsburgh through a children’s choir, musical instruction and performances — a partnership between Coro Latinoamericano and the Latin American Cultural Union;

Fostering Unity in Westmoreland County, programs to promote diversity, unity and harmony, including the Annual Celebrate Diversity and Unity Rally  — a partnership between YWCA Westmoreland County and Central Westmoreland Unity Coalition;

• Growing Diversity: Farmers’ Markets in Transition, a project to expand the development of Citiparks Farmers’ Markets in diverse neighborhoods, with products and materials promoting cultural diversity and efforts to provide supplemental food for those in need — a partnership between Just Harvest, Latino Family Center, One Woman Farm and Bhutanese Community Association of Pittsburgh;

J-Serve Pittsburgh, a teen volunteer experience at varied sites, followed by an activity to deepen participants’ understanding of the importance of community work — a partnership between J-Serve International, the Agency for Jewish Learning, Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh and Repair the World Pittsburgh;

Pittsburgh Refugee Youth Summer Enrichment, a summer camp encompassing English and academic skill building and creative expression workshops and programming to shape the students into engaged members of the community — a partnership between the University of Pittsburgh’s Facilitating Opportunities for Refugee Growth & Empowerment and Keep It Real;

• Project to Attract and Retain Young Chinese Talent in the Greater Pittsburgh Area through Networking and Mentoring — a partnership between Chinese Association for Science and Technology, Pittsburgh Chapter, and Chinese Students and Scholars Association at Pitt;

Refugee Youth Employment Program, to enhance refugee and immigrant youth job readiness through experiential involvement in the workplace — a partnership between Junior Achievement of Western Pennsylvania, Jewish Family & Children’s Service (JF&CS), South Hill Interfaith Ministries and PRYSE Academy.

• speaQ: A Youth-led, Neighborhood Open Mic Program, engaging diverse neighborhood organizations in arts-based programming to build confidence and leadership among LGBTQ and allied youth and build awareness and understanding — a partnership between Dreams of Hope, Father Ryan Arts Center and Little House, Big Art;

• Union of African Communities (UAC) Events promoting the quality of life in a community, through both political and nonpolitical processes, including a Diversity Festival and Speaker Series — a partnership between Christian Evangelic Economic Development and UAC;

• World Refugee Day Celebration, to include dance, music performances from refugee groups, ethnic foods, an art exhibition, and booths for refugee resettlement and ethnic/cultural organizations — a partnership between JF&CS and Northern Area Multiservice Center; and

• Youth Summit Against Violence, advancing awareness and prevention efforts in a student-led daylong workshop — a partnership between the Black Political Empowerment Project, Pittsburgh Public Schools, Cease Fire/PA and Voices Against Violence.

Vibrant Pittsburgh is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting the growth and economic competitiveness of the Pittsburgh region by engaging the region’s employers, attracting, retaining and elevating a diverse talent pool, and positioning the region nationally and internationally as an inclusive and welcoming place for people of all backgrounds.  

The Urban Affairs Foundation promotes the involvement of Jewish organizations and individuals in urban concerns.  The Community Relations Council engages in public policy activities to promote social and economic justice for all, build amicable relationships among diverse community groups, and enlist support on behalf of Israel.