Closet Installations Scheduled for 10 Schools
Superintendent Wayne N. Walters Ed.D. and Pittsburgh Obama students joined Steelers' defensive tackle and team captain Cameron Heyward for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of Craig's Closet at Pittsburgh Obama 6-12. As part of Cam's foundation, The Heyward House, Craig's Closet provides high school boys access to new and gently used dress clothes at no cost for interviews, internships, banquets and special occasions. In addition to the Craig's Closet at Pittsburgh Obama, students will have access to closets at nine other schools, including Pittsburgh Allderdice, Brashear, CAPA, Carrick, Milliones, Perry, Sci-Tech, Student Achievement Center and Westinghouse, by 2023.
"Thanks to the Heyward House and Sport Clips, 'what to wear' will not be a barrier for our high school boys seeking to pursue their goals and interests," said Dr. Walters. "We are truly thankful for this gift that honors the legacy of Cam's father by giving students the confidence they need to walk into the spaces where they belong."
Coming to the University of Pittsburgh from a single-parent home with six siblings, Craig "Ironhead" Heyward arrived with one suit to this name for the formal wear required of Pitt Panther football team players on game days. The Heyward House and Sport Clips developed Craig's Closet to ensure students have what they need to obtain their goals and walk proudly into any situation. Thanks to the collaboration, students at 10 PPS schools will soon be able "shop" for clothes, such as dress shirts, suits, clothes, and ties, to help them achieve their goals right at school.
"Many young people in our community face the same plight as my father, and I want them to know that they are seen, heard, and through this program, we are here to support them as they push forward in their future goals," said Cameron Heyward. "Yesterday would have been my father's 56th birthday. He was a man that took great joy and pride in his family and his community. I am proud to continue his legacy of giving back and helping move our community forward."
Community members interested in volunteering or donating to Craig’s Closet may reach out to Nicole Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org. Monetary and in-kind donations of new and gently used items accepted.
Rep. Aerion A. Abney, D-Allegheny, is introducing a bill today that would provide capital to small, local businesses eager to open their doors.
“Local businesses are the engines driving our economy,” Abney said. “A financial jumpstart to help small businesses get established should encourage entrepreneurship.”
A modernization and recapitalization of the Small Business Incubators Act, House Bill 2839 would provide up to $20 million in grants and loans for small businesses in Pennsylvania. These funds can be used to cover startup and overhead costs.
Workers and investments also would be protected in Abney’s bill because grant recipients who leave the commonwealth would be required to repay those funds awarded to them in full.
“Successful, local businesses help grow our economy and create good jobs everywhere,” Abney said. “These jobs pay real wages and offer both real benefits and a chance to retire, so all Pennsylvanians can have a better future.”
City of Pittsburgh, Computer Reach Form Partnership to End Digital Divide
Initial donation of over $92,000 worth of IT equipment will be refurbished and reused
The City of Pittsburgh and Computer Reach announced the successful donation of 324 desktop computers, 74 laptop computers, 427 monitors, 243 keyboards, and 170 mice to Computer Reach. This first donation, completed in early August, is the culmination of multiple years of work by the Department of Innovation & Performance (I&P) to give back these devices to the community and avoid paying an e-waste recycler for proper disposal.
“Our department is laser-focused on ensuring innovation and technological excellence are at the forefront of Pittsburgh’s future,” said Heidi Norman, Director of the Department of Innovation and Performance. “This is but one aspect of the city’s commitment to close the digital divide and promote increased digital literacy in Pittsburgh. Our partnership will create opportunities outside of the city government to enable residents to learn how to use new technology and protect our environment by reusing these devices.”
Computer Reach is a Wilkinsburg-based organization focused on making technology available to people most in need through refurbished equipment, computer literacy, training, and support. Their vision is to create a computer-literate world where the benefits of technology are shared by all. In addition to refurbishing devices, Computer Reach works to end the digital divide with their Digital Literacy Classes, Digital navigator Program, and Computer Lotteries.
“A reused computer is so much more valuable than one that is just disposed of in a landfill,” said Dave Sevick, Executive Director of Computer Reach. “It is one less chip to be made, one less rare metal to mine, and one more opportunity for a person to get connected to the world. I am thankful to the City of Pittsburgh for their commitment to ending the digital divide and look forward to getting these devices back into the hands of communities in need.”
A total of $135,000 for 10 local arts and community-building programs. Support also goes to Los Angeles-based center for homeless youth.
Girls Rock! Pittsburgh, Steel City Arts Initiative and Afro-American Music Institute are among the organizations receiving operating-support grants from the Mac Miller Fund.
Established at The Pittsburgh Foundation by the family of the world-famous musician following his death in 2018, the fund’s mission is to carry on Miller's artistic and creative legacy, primarily by supporting programs that help youth from underserved communities recognize their full potential.
“We are proud to support these incredible organizations in honor of Malcolm's dedication to art and making communities kinder places,” family members said in a statement. “They are doing groundbreaking work by giving access and opportunities to young people in Pittsburgh and Los Angeles—two places central to his life. The fund is made possible by Malcolm's fans, so together we can support work in honor of his heartful spirit.”
Grants ranging from $5,000 to $20,000 were awarded to the following local organizations for general operating support:
In keeping with another facet of the Miller Fund’s mission – supporting organizations that directly assist youth aged 27 and under in need of a range of essential human services, including addiction-recovery treatment – a $20,000 grant will go to Los Angeles-based Safe Place for Youth.
The funding will support programs that offer young people facing homelessness opportunities to thrive by providing lasting, community-driven solutions that address racial and social inequities.
The Mac Miller Fund was established at The Pittsburgh Foundation in 2018 by the family of the late Malcolm McCormick (Mac Miller) to honor the Pittsburgh native and internationally celebrated music artist and producer. The Fund is managed through the Foundation’s Center for Philanthropy. It is one of only a few programs in the country offering expertise to donors to help them determine how to meet philanthropic goals through grantmaking and nonprofit management, personalized education sessions and guidance on multi-generational giving.
With help from the Sustainability Fund, the Gardening Team at Braddock Youth Project built new compost bins this summer.
Apply to the Community Garden Sustainability Fund for materials like compost, fencing, tools, or other garden supplies and infrastructure.
The CGSF is a project of Grow Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, sponsored in part by Allegheny County Economic Development, that exists to provide material and technical assistance to existing community food gardens in Allegheny County. These include gardens managed by schools, community organizations, shelters, religious institutions, and individuals. The Sustainability Fund supports projects that will improve or enhance gardens so that they may have a long-lasting positive impact as part of their communities. The program has been active since 2013, having supported 125+ community gardens with over $175,000 of materials.
Important information: Due to reduced staffing and less funding available this round, we will be prioritizing:
Applications for this round are due by September 1, 2022.
Community collaborations in urban agriculture are receiving support through a partnership between the United States Botanic Garden (USBG) and the American Public Gardens Association (Association). Under the third year of the Urban Agriculture Resilience Program, 24 urban agriculture collaborations between public gardens and community partners across 19 states are receiving $440,800, the largest amount awarded through the program to date.
Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, in collaboration with Operation Better Block,
is one of the recipient gardens for the Homegrown program. Homegrown is a Phipps program dedicated to increasing community access to fresh produce, promoting better food choices and improving the overall health of families and children. Since its inception in 2013, Homegrown has installed over 300 raised-bed vegetable gardens at households in underserved neighborhoods and provided mentorship and resources to hundreds of community members. “Phipps is excited to continue our work supporting healthy food access through backyard gardening and are thankful to APGA and USGB for supporting these efforts nationally,” said Gabriel Tilove, Phipps Director of Adult Education and Community Outreach. Homegrown will continue to nurture healthy communities as it expands into neighborhoods that are challenged by food insecurity and its significant impacts on health and families. To learn more about Homegrown, visit phipps.conservatory.org/Homegrown.
The Urban Agriculture Resilience Program supports food growing and education activities in urban communities experiencing food insecurity and strengthens their capacity to engage in urban agriculture. In 2022, 73 organizations will participate in the program, representing a wide range of community partnerships including botanic gardens, arboreta, public schools and school districts, universities, parks and recreation departments, youth organizations, community centers, food banks, health centers, urban farms, community gardens, faith-based organizations and small businesses.
“We are so happy to continue this program supporting urban agriculture education and food production among public gardens and partnering organizations across the country,” said Saharah Moon Chapotin, USBG executive director. “Growing food is such an important way to build community and resilience as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, and in many food-insecure neighborhoods, having ready access to fresh, nutritious fruits and vegetables is equally critical.”
"We are pleased to partner with the USBG on this effort that results not just in thousands of pounds of food being delivered to urban communities but also in furthering our knowledge so as to create and improve hundreds more partnerships like those who have received these awards,” Association Executive Director Dr. Casey Sclar said. “It's simply fantastic!"
The Urban Agriculture Resilience Program began in 2020 as a way for the USBG and the Association to help public gardens continue urban agriculture and food growing programs facing funding and capacity challenges due to COVID-19. Learn more about previous awardees at www.USBG.gov/UrbanAg.
Today, more than 80 percent of the U.S. population—and 50 percent of people worldwide—live in and around urban centers.
The Graduate Certificate in Urban Ministry is a flexible program allowing community members and seminarians to explore their Christian vocation in urban settings. This program allows students from all denominations to think about how to apply their faith to where they work, live, and play.
New non-profit to increase support for single-parent families in pursuit of higher education
(April 14, 2022, Pittsburgh, PA) The Pittsburgh Scholar House, an affiliate of the Family Scholar House based out of Louisville, KY, has appointed Dr. Diamonte Walker as its inaugural CEO. Walker recently served as the Deputy Executive Director of the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh. She will focus on establishing the Pittsburgh Scholar House as a critical resource within the continuum of care dedicated to helping income eligible single parents earn four-year degrees as a two-generation strategy to enable economic mobility within the City of Pittsburgh.
The Pittsburgh Scholar House will operate in alignment with the Family Scholar House strategic goal of helping participants complete their post-secondary education and enter high-growth careers to enable economic mobility and sustain a better quality of life for them and their children. This goal is achieved through outreach and expansion by providing resources that include innovative and ethical best-practices for data collection and data-informed services for this subset of the academic community.
"An intentional focus on higher educational attainment is needed to address Pittsburgh's protracted poverty and economic mobility issues. The data informed two-generation model has repeatedly demonstrated successful academic and life outcomes for families,” said Diamonte Walker. “Those outcomes translate to addressing the solvable, but real challenges adult learners with children face when pursuing higher education. I am honored to lead the Pittsburgh Scholar House as we take a humanistic approach to poverty mitigation by elevating the voices of these scholars as they become thriving college graduates.”
The Pittsburgh Scholar House is supported by all 11 colleges and universities that make up the Pittsburgh Council on Higher Education (PCHE) and funding partners at The Heinz Endowments, Henry L. Hillman Foundation, and PNC Foundation. In 2019, the foundations collaborated with PCHE to begin the process of bringing the Family Scholar House model to Pittsburgh and supported the search of a leader for the affiliate.
“The decision to establish the Pittsburgh Scholar House stemmed from a visit by leaders from several of Pittsburgh’s leading foundations to the five Family Scholar House campuses in Louisville,” recalled Dr. David Finegold, Chatham University President and PCHE Chairman. “They were very impressed by Family Scholar House’s results and the comprehensive wraparound services offered to single-parents and their children that helped them achieve college graduation rates of over 90%.” PCHE Executive Director Karina Chavez added: “We are thrilled to appoint Dr. Walker as the inaugural CEO of the Pittsburgh Scholar House, and confident that with her leadership we will successfully replicate similar educational outcomes here in Pittsburgh.”
PCHE will incubate the Pittsburgh Scholar House until a dedicated board of directors is formed and the affiliate secures 501(c)(3) status. Dr. Walker’s official start date is April 18, 2022.
Dr. Diamonte Walker as Inaugural CEO of the Pittsburgh Scholar House
Niche, the leading platform connecting students and families with schools and colleges, has released its 2022 Best Schools rankings, and Shady Side Academy maintained its No. 1 ranking on its list of the Best Private K-12 Schools in the Pittsburgh Area.