Love Your Block Grant Award Program Seeking Applications

love-your-block-grant-award-program-seeking-applications

Thistles in the community garden, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from sermoa’s photostream

PITTSBURGH, PA – Mayor William Peduto today announced that applications are available for the City’s Spring 2014 Love Your Block grant award program. The block revitalization program gives organizations $2,000 to purchase supplies and equipment necessary for a neighborhood block improvement project that mobilizes community volunteers. Applications will be available until Friday, Feb. 28 and project implementation will begin April 15.

“With the generous support of The Home Depot Foundation, I am excited to announce that we have doubled this year’s round of mini-grants. This will help create more prominent and sustainable projects throughout our city,” said Mayor Peduto. “The grassroots work supported by this program will change the landscape of our neighborhoods.”

Selected groups will also receive support from City departments through services such as trash collection and graffiti removal, as feasible. A full list of available City services can be found in the Love Your Block application.

Applicants must be a qualified nonprofit organization or have the support of a nonprofit fiscal agent and their impacted area must be within City limits. Applications must be received no later than 5 p.m. on Feb. 28. Late applications will not be accepted. Applicants will be notified of their status by mid-March. A mandatory grantee orientation will take place in April 2013 with location and time to be announced to grantees at a later date.

All qualifying groups are eligible for an additional award. The two best block revitalization projects will receive an additional $3,000 Home Depot gift card for future block enhancements based upon judgment criteria listed in the application details. Special consideration will be given to Love Your Block projects that engage local veterans and veterans’ organizations.

To date, grantees have impacted approximately 290 blocks by collecting more than 37,000 pounds of litter, creating 197 green spaces, leveraging almost $161,000 in donations and recruiting more than 3,300 volunteers.

Love Your Block is funded by The Home Depot Foundation and is supported in part by the Corporation for National Community Service and AmeriCorps VISTA program.

Mayor Peduto joins more than 150 mayors from across the nation in continuing the tradition of impact volunteerism in their respective cities. By signing the Cities of Service Declaration of Service this week, Mayor Peduto commits to using citizen service in a meaningful way to help tackle some of Pittsburgh’s most pressing needs through volunteer-fueled programs, ranging from mentoring our City’s youth to revitalizing neighborhood blocks through the City’s servePGH initiative. Joining in 2009, Pittsburgh is one of the 17 founding cities to support this effort.The Peduto Administration looks forward to continuing this rich neighbors-helping-neighbors tradition.

About Cities of Service
Founded in September 2009 in New York City by New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and 16 other mayors from across the nation, Cities of Service is a bipartisan coalition of mayors committed to addressing critical city needs through impact volunteering. American cities face serious challenges and many mayors want to take advantage of every resource available to them – including the time and energy of public-spirited residents – to address those challenges. But in cities across America today, citizen service is often an underutilized or inefficiently utilized strategy by municipal governments. By leveraging citizen service strategies, Cities of Service helps mayors address local needs and make government more effective. To learn more, visit citiesofservice.org or follow us on Twitter @CitiesofService.

About servePGH
servePGH was launched in March 2011 to engage Pittsburgh’s citizens in service and answer President Obama’s national call to volunteerism. Through innovative servePGH initiatives, citizens have been engaged in volunteer-fueled solutions to revitalize City blocks, restore homes of vulnerable residents, help middle-school youth navigate life’s challenges, and more. More than 8,700 volunteers have committed nearly 57,000 hours of service through servePGH to date. Additional information is available at pittsburghpa.gov/servepgh.

About AmeriCorps VISTA
The Love Your Block Program is supported by The Home Depot Foundation, Corporation for National Community Service and AmeriCorps VISTA. AmeriCorps VISTA members commit to serve full-time for one year at a nonprofit organization or local government agency, working to fight illiteracy, improve health services, create businesses and strengthen community groups, with the ultimate goal to eliminate poverty in the United States. In Pennsylvania, there are currently over 200 VISTAs serving on 30 projects.