Mayor William Peduto Announces 18 New ‘Love Your Block’ Grant Recipients

mayor-william-peduto-announces-18-new-love-your-block-grant-recipients

Guerilla gardeners stack rock walls of recycled concrete, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from Bob Elderberry’s photostream

Citizen volunteers will beautify and restore city blocks this spring with help from City departments and The Home Depot Foundation

PITTSBURGH, PA – Mayor William Peduto today announced the 18 organizations that will receive funding for the sixth round of the Love Your Block (LYB) grant program, a servePGH initiative. Through the block revitalization program, in partnership with The Home Depot Foundation, the City awards $2,000 to purchase supplies and tools to implement a block improvement project that mobilizes community volunteers to transform blighted lots into community assets. Additionally, a special $3,000 prize will be given to the organization that carries out the most successful block transformation, according to identified criteria. Spring project implementation will take place from April 15 to June 30, 2014.

“With the generous support of The Home Depot Foundation, the City of Pittsburgh is excited to award 18 community organizations a Love Your Block grant,” said Mayor Peduto. “I’m happy to continue this tradition in which communities come together to beautify their neighborhoods. Volunteering brings together neighbors, community members, and volunteers, all of whom have the common goal of turning blight properties into community assets. This dedication to volunteerism evokes a unique sense of community pride, which is essential to help achieve our goals of a New Pittsburgh.”

Love Your Block is made possible thanks to The Home Depot Foundation, which generously donated $130,000 to the initiative. It is also supported by the Corporation for National Community Service, the AmeriCorps VISTA program and is based on the Cities of Service Blueprint of the same name.

While all of the projects this past fall were impressive, Greenfield Community Association was selected to win the “Best Block Revitalization Project” and will receive an additional $2,000 Home Depot gift card for future block enhancements. The group beautified Magee Park in Greenfield by removing more than 1,400 pounds of litter and debris with the help of over 100 volunteers and residents.

“The Love Your Block grant and related events were impactful in helping our program to quickly scale up available resources through critical partnerships,” said Mitch Margaria of Greenfield Community Association. “We may have been effective with just a grant or just the partnerships but we became strategically successful via the combination of both elements. This success has provided the foundation for expanding engagement within the community on improvements across the neighborhood.”

For more information, visit pittsburghpa.gov/loveyourblock, email servepgh@pittsburghpa.gov or call 412-255-2280.

SPRING 2014 GRANT RECIPIENTS

Amizade Global Service-Learning & The Global Switchboard: Volunteers will beautify a vacant lot by planting flowers and creating a community gathering space.

Beechview Area Concerned Citizens: Volunteers will landscape and plant shrubs, perennials, and groundcover around a Veterans’ memorial.

Brighton Heights Citizen Federation: Volunteers will improve the appearance of a highly visible lot.

Brightwood Civic Group:Volunteers will transform vacant lots into an active community space by erecting an outdoor structure and planting flowers.

Carrick Community Council: Volunteers will beautify Leolyn Park.

Carrick Regency Tenant Council: Volunteers will beautify a Housing Authority property by creating a raised planter bed and dedicating a memorial stone to Veterans.

East End Cooperative Ministry: Volunteers will create a raised planter bed garden.

Hermitage Hope: Volunteers will create a community garden.

Hill District Consensus Group: Volunteers will beautify school grounds by having a community clean-up day and flower planting.

Larimer Green Team: Volunteers will clean and beautify vacant lots.

Lawrenceville United: Volunteers will beautify Arsenal Park.

Oakland Planning and Development Corporation: Volunteers will improve the appearance of Frazier Street Playground.

Oakwood Civic Group: Volunteers will clean and enhance Oakwood Park.

Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall: Volunteers will beautify the veteran monuments around the museum in Oakland.

Southside Community Council of Pittsburgh, Inc: Volunteers will create a community garden and beautify a World War I Honor Roll Memorial.

Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition Gateway Committee: Volunteers will plant flowers and create a community mural on Murray Avenue.

Uptown Partners: Volunteers will green and enhance a highly visible parklet in Bluff.

YMCA Homewood-Brushton – Public Allies: Volunteers will beautify and enhance a vacant lot in Homewood South.

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, based on the Cities of Service Blueprint, 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.

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.