Seedling, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from Ray Smith’s photostream

Neighborhood Allies has a vision of a Pittsburgh full of thriving, healthy communities that are livable for all. To that end, they support the people, organizations and partnerships committed to improving the social and physical infrastructures of Pittsburgh’s distressed and transitional communities. Yesterday, they announced the recipients of their spring 2015 grants. Neighborhood Allies awarded a total of $540,000 to eight creative and collaborative projects and ideas that will help transform struggling neighborhoods.

Presley Gillespie, Neighborhood Allies President, said about these grants, “We really want to be a forward-thinking, solutions-oriented community developer that brings hope, fresh ideas, expertise and resources to distressed and transitional neighborhoods. We are excited about these projects and will continue to listen to the needs of our neighborhoods, while serving as a catalyst for change.”

The following grants were awarded:

  • $75,000 Operation Better Block: To implement a placemaking strategy, building off of and continuing blight removal while creating productive greenspace, completing baseline repairs and façade improvements on occupied homes in a cluster along the East Busway near Faison School.
  • $75,000 Made Right Here: To implement a year-long youth maker training and professional development program with Larimer Youth.
  • $75,000 Community Empowerment Association: Strategic Training Employment Program (STEP) that provides construction industry training and job placement for Homewood residents and assists local public and private developers and contractors to recruit and retain qualified community residents.
  • $50,000 FOCUS Pittsburgh: A planning grant to create, convene and manage a local advisory board made up of high-level experts and professionals who will inform the implementation of a pilot trauma-informed community development strategy in the Hill District.
  • $75,000 Hosanna House, Inc.: To implement a placemaking strategy that will complete beautification and infrastructure improvements that will connect the services Hosanna House offers at their facility with the Penn Avenue business district.
  • $65,000 Wilkinsburg Community Developent Corporation: To support a small business marketing/promotion and investment attraction program that incorporates physical façade and building improvements with tools that both current and prospective entrepreneurs can use to grow and maintain their businesses.
  • $50,000 The Mission Continues: To deploy a service platoon of 40-60 returning veterans to work with community leaders to plan and execute service missions throughout our focus neighborhoods.
  • $75,000 Vibrant Pittsburgh: To implement a pilot diversity advancement project that will create an online platform to identify, source and pool diverse talent and formalize a partnership with leaders to recurit and place that talent locally.