Many families in the Hill District are enthusiastic about the opening of the new Thelma Lovette YMCA, says Michele Rone Cooper, executive director of McAuley Ministries. "Yet lower-income families were concerned about being able to afford memberships," she says.
That's why McAuley, which gives grants from the Pittsburgh Mercy Health System
, stepped in with $70,000 to subsidize memberships for 100 families -- part of the current round of more than $310,000 in grants given to the Hill District, Uptown, and West Oakland to support health and wellness, community development, education and other programs.
A grant of $25,000 is helping to create the Pittsburgh Wealth Building Initiative, a collaboration of Duquesne University and Urban Innovation21. It is based on successful programs in Cleveland and elsewhere that look at anchor institutions in a community and ask what services and goods they need the most, then help create organizations -- often coops and employee-owned companies -- that serve those institutions. The idea is to generate well-paying jobs and build up local businesses.
A part of the city's Housing Authority called Clean Slate E3 is known for its state-of-the-art media training for teens, and $23,500 will help five kids in their after-school program produce a documentary on the closed Schenley High School and its significance to the Hill District. Another $23,770 will send four staff members from Mercy Behavioral Health to the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare for a week-long course in mental-health first aid: how to recognize and respond to signs of mental-health issues and substance-abuse problems. The group will then hold 10 workshops for approximately 250 people in community, to pass on their knowledge.
For a full list of the latest McAuley grants, click here
Get involved with another one of McAuley’s grantees on the Hill, Uptown Partners of Pittsburgh
, which has been concerned with abandoned properties, public safety, greening the community, transportation and public art since 2007.
Writer: Marty Levine
Source: Michele Rone Cooper, McAuley Ministries
Photo courtesy of the Thelma Lovette YMCA.