McAuley Ministries has only been making grants since 2008, but Executive Director Michele Rone Cooper believes the group's focus on the Hill, Uptown and West Oakland is already starting to have an impact.
The Hill District's Cliffside Park, Reading is Fundamental and five after-school programs are among the local concerns sharing more than $1.25 million in grants just announced by McAuley, the charitable arm of Pittsburgh Mercy Health System
One of the focuses of the Hill District's master plan, devised last year by the Hill District Consensus Group and Hill Community Development Group, is restoring some of the area's green spots for reasons of both community health and esthetics. McAuley has awarded the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy $200,000 to revamp the Hill's Cliffside Park overlooking the Allegheny River, which was built in 1975 but has already decayed.
“We know that there is a persistent achievement gap in the schools located around the Hill District,” says Cooper. That's why McAuley has also given $358,000 to five after-school programs in the Hill: Boy Scouts of America, the Center that C.A.R.E.S., Oakland Planning and Development's School-to-Career Program, Ozanam and Schenley Heights Development Program. “Children who attend high-quality after-school programs [increase] their academic success,” she says.
That's also the reason McAuley has granted $150,000 over the next three years to two programs of Reading is FUNdamental. Everybody Wins is a literacy program pairing 2nd
graders with adult volunteers from various local companies and nonprofit groups who share books and conversation during the lunch hour. The Storymobile goes to childcare homes, daycare and public housing, where kids can check out books and also get free books to take home, “ so they are also building their own home libraries," Cooper says. "The research shows that children from economically disadvantaged communities often have very few books in their homes.”
To see all the grants announced by McAuley Ministries, click here
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Writer: Marty Levine
Source: Michele Rone Cooper, McAuley Ministries