The Pittsburgh Foundation

Foundation’s Small and Mighty grants reach $1.25 million

Program provides more-than-money support to small-budget nonprofits

PITTSBURGH, Dec. 18, 2019 – The Small and Mighty grants program, a special initiative of The Pittsburgh Foundation’s 100 Percent Pittsburgh organizing principle, has awarded grants totaling $371,000 to 23 small, community-based nonprofits. This fourth round of grants brings the total awarded through the Small and Mighty program since its inception in 2016 to $1.25 million.

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 serves basic needs such as physical and mental health services, food, shelter, child care and education. Programs and services funded under the 100 Percent Pittsburgh provide new opportunities for the 30% of the regional population unable to participate in the region’s resurgent economy.

“We have learned a lot from our Small and Mighty grantees, including how to leverage their front-line experience to provide essential human services in the community more effectively than much larger organizations,” said Pittsburgh Foundation President & CEO Lisa Schroeder in announcing the grants. “These are smart, nimble people running these organizations and they know exactly what the priority list of needs is for the communities they serve.”

In addition to funding, grantees can participate in “More Than Money” events and training sessions, which include grant writing and advocacy workshops, peer-learning opportunities and networking events that help participants develop skills and self-confidence.

“The Small and Mighty program opens doors to philanthropy for small organizations that, despite their enormous value to the communities they serve, experience barriers when navigating traditional grantmaking,” said Michelle McMurray, director of grantmaking for Children, Youth and Families. She and Program Associate Jamillia Kamara manage the program.

This round of Small and Mighty funding awarded $371,000 to these 23 organizations. Those marked with * have received Small and Mighty grants previously:

  • *100 Black Men of Western PA, Inc.: $12,000. 100 Black Men of Western PA’s work includes mentoring, academic support, leadership development training, financial literacy and wellness programming for Black boys in grades 8 to 12. With this grant,100 Black Men seeks to expand its Collegiate 100 Program to serve at least 50 students. The program connects Black male college students to professional mentors in fields that interest them with the goal of fostering career awareness and creating strategies to prepare students for a variety of careers. Including this grant, the organization has received two Small and Mighty grants totaling $21,978. Annual operating budget: $104,250.
  • *Arsenal Family and Children’s Center: $15,000. Arsenal Family and Children’s Center was established in 1953 to promote and advocate for the healthy development of children while supporting their parents in building a nurturing relationship with each child. With this grant, Arsenal Family and Children’s Center seeks to provide tuition assistance to 10 to15 children from families experiencing poverty to allow them to attend the Developmental Preschool program. The preschool program is built around a play curriculum that focuses on the child as an active participant in the learning process. Including this grant, the organization has received two Small and Mighty grants totaling $30,000. Annual operating budget: $554,500.
  • *Bethany Community Ministries: $20,000. Bethany Community Ministries, formerly known as 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, Bethany Community 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 primarily provide partial salary support to Bethany Community Ministries’ new program director – the organization’s first-ever paid staff. Including this grant, the organization has received two Small and Mighty grants totaling $35,000. Annual operating budget: $137,024.
  • Bhutanese Community Association of Pittsburgh: $15,000. BCAP’s mission is to ensure a high quality of life for all members of the Bhutanese community in Pittsburgh and to support their integration into American society through culturally-informed services and activities. BCAP remains a resource to Bhutanese refugees through year-round programming that includes: literacy and civics education, family and youth programs, in-language services and outreach for older adults, and cultural programming. This grant will support development and education for the Bhutanese youth; assistance to families, girls and women navigating systems and accessing services; and connecting older adults to services. Annual operating budget: $192,470.
  • *Brothers and Sisters Emerging (BASE): $20,000. Brothers and Sisters Emerging (BASE) began in 2008 as a youth football and cheerleading program and has now grown to a -year-round operation that includes an after-school program, summer camps and mentoring. BASE primarily serves African American young people in East End neighborhoods and aims to provide employment readiness and academic success for participants. Including this grant, the organization has received two Small and Mighty grants totaling $35,000. Annual operating budget: $337,940.
  • Coraopolis Community Development Foundation: $15,000. Since 2006, the Coraopolis Community Development Foundation has been encouraging and assisting in neighborhood renewal by providing relief, resources, and redevelopment. The organization primarily serves individuals who are experiencing food insecurity by offering a food pantry and a community garden to provide immediate food relief. Along with stabilizing the organization’s annual budget, the funds will also support the purchasing of a donor management tool that will streamline individual donor management with the goal of increasing annual donations from the community, and the creation of a weekend food program to provide food for children while they are out of school. Annual operating budget: $100,700.
  • *Foster Love Project: $20,000. 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 continue to expand access to free basic needs resources for children and their foster families. Including this grant, the organization has received two Small and Mighty grants totaling $32,000. Annual operating budget: $282,741.
  • Garfield Community Farm: $15,000. Garfield Community Farm, a program of Open Door Presbyterian Church, was founded in 2008 to grow and provide affordable produce to the Garfield community. The farm offers opportunities for environmental education and invites neighbors to use and enjoy a thriving community greenspace. Garfield Community Farm will use the funds to make its part-time production manager a full-time position, which will allow the organization to increase access to fresh produce and enhance the educational programming. Annual operating budget: $391,200.
  • *Global Minds Initiative, Inc.: $20,000. 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 for social and educational needs of Pittsburgh Public Schools students. The funds will support the expansion of student leadership training within the program and the design of individualized support and action plans for participants. Including this grant, the organization has received three Small and Mighty grants totaling $49,810. Annual operating budget: $190,099.
  • *Hilltop Urban Farm: $15,000. Hilltop Urban Farm serves residents of 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. With this grant, Hilltop Urban Farm seeks to build out its Youth Farm programming, which provides practical nutrition and agricultural education to the students it serves. Including this grant, the organization has received two Small and Mighty grants totaling $30,000. Annual operating budget: $518,620.
  • Mooncrest Neighborhood Programs: $15,000. Mooncrest Neighborhood Programs, which is funded through Hopefound Ministries, was founded in 2002 to promote the spiritual, intellectual, physical, social and emotional development for children and families in Mooncrest. The organization provides after-school programming and summer camps for children, adult education programs and a mobile medical unit. The funds will help fund a staff member for the organization’s immigration outreach services. Outreach workers from Mooncrest Neighborhood Programs serve as an important resource for Latino families, helping them navigate vital services, such as housing, medical care, legal aid, and school registration. Annual operating budget: $262,000. 
  • *Kitchen of Grace, Inc.: $20,000. 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 support assessment of program design, standardizing operational procedures, supporting staff recruitment and/or training, assessing student supports and increasing food production and distribution to support revenue goals. Including this grant, the organization has received three Small and Mighty grants totaling $50,000. Annual operating budget: $97,950.
  • *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 support the continuation of the nonprofit’s recovery coach training, recovery support services for older adults and providing education for families of a person in addiction. Including this grant, the organization has received three Small and Mighty grants totaling $45,000. Annual operating budget: $134,540.
  • Nabhi Christian Ministries: $12,000. Nabhi Christian Ministries was established in 1996 in response to the needs of families impacted by the gang violence in Pittsburgh’s black community. Since that time, it has evolved to a more robust social service program that engages individuals and families in intensive case-management to monitor progress and provide family strengthening programs that simultaneously address parent-child relationship skills alongside economic supports to help low-income families achieve child well-being, family stability and self-sufficiency. With this grant, Nabhi will hire two part-time staff, recruit one additional volunteer, and purchase three computers that will allow the organization to aid a greater number of families. Annual operating budget: $44,991.
  • *Off The Floor Pittsburgh: $20,000. 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. With this grant, Off the Floor aims to increase its number of households assisted to 600 per year, to add at least four new referral agency partners to meet the growing need for furnishing assistance and to increase its volunteer base while recruiting new partner agencies. Including this grant, the organization has received three Small and Mighty grants totaling $48,000. Annual operating budget: $172,900.
  • *Pittsburgh Dream Center: $20,000. 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 Dream Center offer additional opportunities for individuals and families to receive emotional, spiritual, and educational support; the hiring of a network director to establish new partnerships; add two additional neighborhoods that are serviced by the mobile food bank; and create a new internship program. Including this grant, the organization has received two Small and Mighty grants totaling $32,500. Annual operating budget: $160,000.
  • *Serenity Living Transitional Home: $15,000. Founded in 2007, Serenity Living Transitional Home’s mission is to educate, equip and empower at-risk women and girls with the tools to overcome life’s obstacles to success. Serenity Living Transitional Home offers two core services. The first is providing housing for young women who are at risk of homelessness, experiencing truancy and/or involvement with the child welfare system. Second is the Taking Youth Higher Mentoring Program, which offers workshops on topics such as financial literacy, goal planning, job readiness and conflict resolution and provides items such as clothing for job interviews and school supplies. The funds will continue to support these essential programs. Including this grant, the organization has received two Small and Mighty grants totaling $29,868. Annual operating budget: $138,240.
  • Shepherd Wellness Community: $15,000. Shepherd Wellness Community, founded in 1987, is a safe and caring community that provides a significant source of wellness information and social support for people living with HIV/AIDS. The organization’s core programs include wellness dinners throughout the week to help improve nutrition, reduce isolation and provide social support, health and wellness programs and transportation assistance. The funds will be used to expand program participation and outreach to engage more individuals living with HIV/AIDS. Annual operating budget: $422,500.
  • *SisTers PGH: $15,000. Founded in 2011, SisTers PGH primarily provides emergency and short-term housing assistance to transgender, non-binary and gender nonconforming individuals residing throughout Allegheny County. Its primary housing service is the Home Habilitation Program, which currently serves six participants and facilitates three-, six- or nine-month housing arrangements using partnerships with vetted community members or hosts. The funds will support the cost of the space where the Home Habilitation program workshops are held. Including this grant, the organization has received two Small and Mighty grants totaling $30,000. Annual operating budget: $85,365.
  • St. Paul’s Meals on Wheels, Inc.: $15,000. Since 1971, St Paul's Meals on Wheels has provided home delivered meals, five days a week to the elderly, home-bound and people who cannot help themselves in the Pitcairn, Wall, Wilmerding and Monroeville communities of Allegheny County. Clients pay $5 a day for two meals. This grant will be used to increase the number of low-income and homebound clients served by helping to cover the $5 fee for clients who cannot afford it. Annual operating budget: $60,000.
  • STEM Coding Lab, Inc.: $15,000. STEM Coding Lab provides computer science classes of varying difficulty to elementary and middle school students (fourth to sixth grade) through a partnership with Pittsburgh Public Schools. With this grant, STEM Coding Lab will continue growing the knowledge base of students who participated last year by increasing the difficulty of the course load and hiring a part-time staff member to engage an additional 50 to 100 students at the basic level of programming. Annual operating budget: $62,000.
  • When She Thrives: $12,000. When She Thrives is committed to becoming a local hub for needed human services and employment resources for single mothers, while continuing to support and always build on the strengths of the local community of women. The funds will be used to secure an office space to serve as a central, stable hub for all of their services and to implement an emergency small grants program to provide small one-time grants of $50 to $250 to single mothers for crisis prevention when hardships such as a car repair, an unexpected utility bill, housing or health care co-pay or other barriers often relating to obtaining and maintaining employment arise. Annual operating budget: $124,600.
  • *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 provides basic needs and support to women making a transition from homelessness to permanent housing. As a previous Small and Mighty grantee, the organization has launched the Zellous Hope Bridge Fund to help women procure essential items and offers service coordination to connect community members with other resources. The organization has also hosted three annual community events in collaboration with other nonprofits. The grant will help Zellous Hope continue to provide emergency financial assistance through its Hope Chest Voucher program, host a monthly Civic Education Series for McKees Rocks residents, and add a part-time and temporary staff person to expand evening services. Including this grant, the organization has received three Small and Mighty grants totaling $38,000. 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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