Small and Mighty organizations awarded $341,000 in grants
Program provides more-than-money support to community-based nonprofits
PITTSBURGH, Jan. 22, 2019 – The Small and Mighty grants program, a special initiative of The Pittsburgh Foundation’s 100 Percent Pittsburgh organizing principle, has awarded grants totaling $341,000 to 24 small, community-based nonprofits. This third round of grants brings the total awarded through the Small and Mighty program since its inception in 2016 to $879,000.
Small and Mighty grantees meet the program’s $600,000-or-below budget threshold, and directly address 100 Percent Pittsburgh strategies: Assisting residents in economically underserved communities, particularly youth ages 12-24, single women raising children, and racial or ethnic groups disproportionately affected by poverty. Each organization also meets basic needs such as physical and mental health services, food, shelter, child care and education. Through 100 Percent Pittsburgh, the Foundation aims to strengthen the opportunities available for the 30 percent of the regional population living in or near poverty.
“The Small and Mighty program continues to provide vital support to community-based organizations that are directly serving our region’s most vulnerable populations,” said Foundation President and CEO Maxwell King. “Each Small and Mighty grantee has a track record for being savvy and innovative in developing opportunities for those most in need of access to Pittsburgh’s revitalized economy.”
In addition to grant dollars, organizations are invited to participate in the More Than Money initiative, which is Small and Mighty’s intentional effort to raise the visibility of the program’s grantees. The initiative provides grantees with training, such as grant writing and advocacy workshops, peer learning opportunities and networking events. These programs are also developed to boost confidence in staffs of participating organizations.
Michelle McMurray, the senior program officer for Health and Human Services who manages the program, said 80 percent of Small and Mighty grantees are dedicated to addressing basic needs for food, housing, education and health care. About 63 percent of the grantees, she said, identify as minority-led nonprofits. “The result of these organizations learning and working together is a more responsive and accessible nonprofit sector that is equipped to serve the needs of residents.”
This third round of Small and Mighty funding awarded $341,110 to these 24 organizations:
- 1Nation: $15,000. 1Nation works with Pittsburgh Public Schools to provide holistic support to students and their families. Since its inception in 2015, 1Nation has worked with more than 200 young people. It uses mentorship to encourage youth to develop positive relationships with other students and adults in their lives. Working mostly at Brashear High School, the nonprofit’s focus is on providing guidance to Black boys and addressing systemic disciplinary challenges. The Small and Mighty grant will help the organization create a sustainability plan with the continued assistance of The Forbes Fund, putting together a resource guide for students and families, and strengthening partnerships with other schools in the district. Annual operating budget: $150,000.
- 5A Elite Youth Empowerment: $15,000. Started in 2008, 5A Elite Youth Empowerment has worked to help youth in low-income communities reverse the effects of trauma through programming that encourages holistic health and wellness. As a previous Small and Mighty grantee, the nonprofit piloted the youth-led PeaceBuilders Institute for Social Justice and Non-violent Interaction program, which allowed students to address community needs while implementing non-violent solutions to those needs. The funds from this cycle will be used to pilot the PeaceBuilders Youth Fellowship for Social Change, a 10-month program that allows 10 high school students to lead an organizing and mobilization campaign. Annual operating budget: $144,176.
- Anchorpoint Counseling Ministry: $6,760. Anchorpoint Counseling Ministry, founded in 1966, is a non-denominational nonprofit for individuals and families across northern Allegheny and southern Butler counties. Its mission is to assist residents with gaining access to mental health services and educational resources for both students and families. The grant will help Anchorpoint launch a Single Moms Care group in Bellevue. The group provides a therapeutic and educational space to support the mental health and wellness of 10 to 15 single mothers. The program will also provide family meals and child care. Annual operating budget: $492,750.
- Black Urban Gardeners and Farmers of Pittsburgh Co-op (BUGS): $15,000. This Homewood-based organization educates community members about the holistic benefits of urban gardening and farming. With the help of a previous Small and Mighty grant, BUGS recently completed Homewood’s first temporary outdoor greenhouse, or hoop house, for community use. Volunteer days are organized for participants of all ages to help maintain the cleanliness of the neighborhood and combat food insecurity. This cycle’s grant will assist BUGS in implementing its nutrition education program, allow focus groups to provide feedback regarding the building of a co-op grocery store and recruit community members to attend a community farmers market. Annual operating budget: $53,000.
- Brothers and Sisters Emerging (BASE): $15,000. Brothers and Sisters Emerging (BASE) began as a youth football and cheerleading program and has now grown to a full-year program that includes an after-school program, summer camps and mentoring. BASE primarily serves African American young people in East End neighborhoods and has aimed to provide employment readiness and academic success for participants since 2008. The grant will help the organization expand two new initiatives: a Digital Literacy program for young men ages 16 to 24 focused on interviewing and computer skills and a post-secondary and career preparatory program for youth ages 12 to 18. Annual operating budget: $367,700.
- Coraopolis Youth Creations, Inc.: $15,000. Coraopolis Youth Creations, Inc. (CYC) has provided programming to youth and families in the Cornell School District since 2012. With guidance and input from community members and stakeholders, the organization has implemented initiatives that work to build bonds between members of the Coraopolis community. In addition to offering educational help, social opportunities and cultural and physical activities, CYC works with other local organizations to help youth achieve their goals. CYC is also a part of the current Buncher Capacity Building Program with The Pittsburgh Foundation to help strengthen the organization. This grant will help CYP expand its programming and improve its fundraising plan. Annual operating budget: $170,305.
- Day One Project: $15,000. The Day One Project’s mission is to eliminate the burden of poverty for single parent families. Through its housing, education and career support programs, Day One provides opportunities for the social and economic advancement of its participants. The grant will help Day One focus on operational priorities, including refining educational curriculum, exploring the possibility of a rent stipend program and creating and implementing a policy and procedure manual. Annual operating budget: $160,306.
- Diakonia Ministries: $15,000. Diakonia Ministries aims to contribute to community development in Homewood-Brushton by providing food services, youth ministry, counseling and education. As the outreach organization of Bethany Baptist Church, Diakonia Ministries’ many programs include the Bethany Summer Youth Program and the Bethany Food Pantry, along with several mentorship and tutoring opportunities. This operating support grant will allow Diakonia Ministries to hire staff to head fundraising and programming operations, create and implement a fundraising action plan and to establish a fundraising advisory committee. Annual operating budget: $144,724.
- Foster Love Project: $12,000. The Foster Love Project, started by foster parents Andrew and Kelly Hughes, began as an organization to provide clothing and necessities for foster children who often arrive at a new foster home with few personal belongings. Since becoming an incorporated organization in 2016, more than 300 volunteers have worked to support foster parents and children by organizing and distributing donations, especially luggage for foster children’s belongings, to local agencies and shelters. The funds will help expand the organization’s donation center and introduce new outreach programming for foster families and the community alike. Annual operating budget: $202,000.
- Global Minds Initiative: $15,000. The Global Minds Initiative is a nonprofit committed to connecting English to Speakers of Other Language (ESOL) students and Native English Speaking (NES) students through after school tutoring and programming. Founded by Peyton Klein, a student at Taylor Allderdice High School for students at her school and around the district, the program allows for cross-cultural exchange and support to account for social and educational needs students have in Pittsburgh Public Schools. The funds will support student leadership training within the program and help with designing individualized support and action plans for participants. Annual operating budget: $136,979.
- Hilltop Urban Farm: $15,000. Hilltop Urban Farm serves residents of the 11 south Pittsburgh neighborhoods. The goal of the farm is to promote food education and provide services to neighborhoods classified as food deserts, such as St. Clair where the farm is located. This grant will be used to support a collaboration among the farm and other nonprofits for the farm’s food nutrition education program. The goal is to educate at least 250 south Pittsburgh students during the school year and over the summer about health and wellness and the benefits of urban gardening.. Annual operating budget: $175,000.
- His Place Contact Center: $14,850. His Place Contact Center has served the Northside community for 45 years by providing basic needs programming for residents based on Christian principles. In 2003, the organization began an after-school program for elementary and middle school students to increase literacy and mathematics skills. Based on last year’s standardized test scores, positive outcomes were observed 80 percent of students who attended the program. His Place has now added a focus on supporting the single mothers whose children attend the after-school program by providing them assistance with basic needs such as employment, health and transportation. This grant will be used to establish a resource center for these mothers. Annual operating budget: $101,617.
- Helping Ourselves Produce Excellence for Tomorrow, Inc. (HOPE for Tomorrow): $15,000. HOPE for Tomorrow, founded in 2010, aims to help students be competitive in the global community despite various economic and societal risk factors. Its principal program, K.E.Y.S. to Promise, works with at least 20 students at a time to improve social and academic readiness for students at Brashear High School and the Langley School. To make measurable changes in the program, the grant will be used for working toward the following: increasing school attendance, decreasing tardiness and disciplinary referrals, and ensuring that students attend planned community events with their families.
- Kitchen of Grace, Inc.: $15,000. Since 2016, Kitchen of Grace Inc. has provided for youth ages 16 to 20, giving them instruction on how to be competitive in the food and hospitality industry. By developing the skills necessary to enter this industry, participants who have previous engagement or risk of engagement with the juvenile justice system can focus on cultivating their expertise. This cycle’s grant will be used to further expand the nonprofit’s program model by adopting updated curricula, strengthening partnerships and recruiting instructors. Annual operating budget: $51,050.
- The Light of Kimberly Corporation: $15,000. Light of Kimberly was founded in 2016 by Kimberly Doubt, a social worker who found herself without a reliable source of shelter and services for herself and six children after fleeing an abusive situation. The organization helps individuals and families affected by violence and abuse by providing them with much-needed resources through its 24-hour crisis hotline. To date, the hotline has helped more than 100 women with safety strategies and solutions, along with giving them information on where to secure basic needs. Through this grant, Light of Kimberly will provide clients with tangible aid such as financial assistance for basic needs, as well as continuing to provide advocacy and case management support for abuse victims. Annual operating budget: $64,630.
- Message Carriers of Pennsylvania, Inc.: $15,000. For more than 20 years, Message Carriers of Pennsylvania has worked with individuals in recovery and those who have been affected by substance abuse. It was started and continues to be led by individuals who are in recovery. With the growth of its operations, Message Carriers has increased its administrative working days, on-boarded two new board members and launched its first Recovery Roundtable, a community forum that provides a platform for discussing issues related to recovery. This grant will provide resources for the implementation of the nonprofit’s Recovery Training Institute, hosting educational events about recovery and further strengthening its organizational capacities. Annual operating budget: $134,300.
- Monumental Baptist Church Mission Ministries: $10,000. For the past 15 years, the Monumental Baptist Church Mission food pantry has served underprivileged residents of the Hill District by providing them food and basic needs. Last year, the volunteer-run pantry assisted 766 individuals from a variety of backgrounds, mostly single mothers struggling to make ends meet. Starting in 2016, Monumental Baptist Church was unable to properly support the operations of the pantry. The funds will assist in covering the pantry’s operating budget while the church restructures its financial process. Annual operating budget: $7,294.
- Off The Floor Pittsburgh: $15,000. Off The Floor Pittsburgh’s primary focus is to furnish the homes of individuals and families transitioning to permanent housing, including veterans, refugee populations and people dealing with domestic violence. The organization received a 2017 Small and Mighty grant and now reports that there is even greater demand for its services. With this grant, Off the Floor aims to increase its number of households assisted to 600 per year, speed up its delivery timeline for furniture and increase its volunteer base while recruiting new partner agencies. Annual operating budget: $172,900.
- Pittsburgh Dream Center: $12,500. Since 2011, the Pittsburgh Dream Center has provided free local services that provide education and help eliminate hunger, poverty, homelessness and human trafficking. Its programs include Adopt-a-Block; Homeless to Housing, a household furniture disbursement initiative; Backpack of Hope, which provides food assistance for local school children; and a mobile food bank, which has distributed nearly 40,000 pounds of food since its inception. This grant will help the nonprofit expand its food bank by adding six more monthly sites. Annual operating budget: $211,000.
- Rainbow Kitchen Community Services: $15,000. Rainbow Kitchen Community Services has served residents of Homestead and its surrounding communities for 34 years through its Anti-Hunger and Case Management programs, both centered on improving its clients’ self-sufficiency. As a previous Small and Mighty grantee, the organization has utilized funding to support its Anti-Hunger program, a source for low-income families in the community to receive nutritional food. Last year, the program served 945 households in the community. This year’s grant will help Rainbow Kitchen maintain its Anti-Hunger services by supplementing its Kid’s Café, Food Pantry and Breakfast program, along with supporting staff salaries. Annual operating budget: $445,941.
- Raising Achievement in Monroeville and Pitcairn (RAMP): $15,000. Raising Achievement in Monroeville and Pitcairn (RAMP) was developed in 2007 after a committee on Gateway School District’s school board investigated the achievement gap between Black and white students. Though the hiring of a full-time equity director was recommended, the position went on to become part-time. Unfortunately, it was believed that this did not adequately support students’ needs. To better support students, after school tutoring with school staff was implemented, but stipends to support tutors were discontinued. To increase student and teacher participation, this grant will support 15 teachers who will act as one-on-one tutors for students in grades K to12, with each teacher receiving a $1,000 stipend. Annual operating budget: $435.
- Western Pennsylvania Diaper Bank: $15,000. The Western Pennsylvania Diaper Bank serves families in the region struggling to procure diapers and other childcare necessities. Through its previous Small and Mighty grants, the Diaper Bank made its executive director role a paid, part-time position, has strengthened its partnerships and has increased its number of donation drop-off sites. For this cycle, the organization plans to establish full-time, paid leadership roles, expand its services to match its increase in donations and develop its board. Annual operating budget: $178,729.
- Will Allen Foundation: $15,000. Founded by former NFL safety Will Allen, this organization’s mission is to provide Pittsburgh-area students with opportunities to achieve their dreams. The Will Allen Foundation is committed to removing students’ barriers to success, such as financial insecurity, education challenges, socioeconomic inequity and obstacles in joining the workforce. At least 40 students from Perry High School and North Hills High School participate in the sessions, which are integrated into their school day. With the grant, the nonprofit will support the Quest For Life Mentoring Program, which aims to build strong relationships between high school students, colleges and universities and local employers. Annual operating budget: $77,500.
- Zellous Hope Project: $15,000. Zellous Hope Project, incorporated in 2013, is a volunteer-run program serving Westside communities in the Pittsburgh area. The organization assists women making a transition from homelessness to permanent housing through its basic needs programming. As a previous Small and Mighty grantee, it has implemented the Zellous Hope Bridge Fund to help women procure essential items, as well as service coordination to connect community members with other helpful resources and has hosted three annual community events in collaboration with other nonprofits. The grant will help Zellous Hope launch Breaking Cycles, a peer support program that helps women learn critical workforce skills, secure a permanent base of operations and hire paid staff. Annual operating budget: $46,000.
For more information regarding the next cycle of Small and Mighty grants, please visit the program’s website. Images of many of the Small and Mighty grantees, courtesy of the nonprofits, are available upon request.
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