Vibrant Pittsburgh and the Urban Affairs Foundation (part of the Community Relations Council of Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh) are seeking diverse, nonprofit community groups which work to create opportunities for civic engagement, community involvement and volunteerism. The Mini Grants Initiative: 2014 Civic Inclusion & Engagement Fund’s goal is to fund projects that, over time, “will result in stronger, more connected diverse communities that support one another’s efforts and collectively work to grow a welcoming and inclusive Pittsburgh region.”
The approval this year by the Pennsylvania Insurance Department of Highmark’s acquisition of West Penn Hospital was preceded by the lobbying efforts of a coalition of community groups, public officials, hospital workers, health care advocates, and residents. On Thursday, November 21st, there will be a town hall meeting for residents regarding the future of West Penn Hospital where you can hear from both Highmark and West Penn Hospital officials on their progress in promoting health, sustaining vital medical services, and ensuring the success of this institution. Senator Jim Ferlo is hosting the meeting with Senator Jay Costa and Senator Wayne Fontana.
Rebuilding our neighborhoods begins on Tuesday, and I hope you’ll join me for an Election Night party in the neighborhood my grandmother was born and raised — Homewood. The celebration will be at the Homewood Coliseum (7310 Frankstown Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15221) beginning when polls close at 8pm.
On Saturday, November 2nd, the Save Race Street Committee will hold their 5th Anniversary Celebration and Annual Meeting at the Homewood Carnegie Library. That represents five years of making their street cleaner, safer and more beautiful. A recent accomplishment of the Committee was the completion in late September of their Love Your Block project where they transformed an ugly vacant lot at 7110 Race Street into a landscaped garden.
Most Wanted Fine Art (MWFA) is more than just an art gallery. Artist and owner Jason Sauer and film producer Nina Gibbs (married to Jason) have created something that has greatly added to the revitalization of their Garfield neighborhood. Located in the Penn Avenue Arts District of Pittsburgh, the gallery also serves as a studio and performance space. But more than that, Sauer works with the Green+Screen project, which joins professional architects and designers with local youth from the community to develop sculpture for empty lots along Penn Ave. And MWFA works with disadvantaged youth and ex-offenders through Goodwill–teaching them construction skills and offering them competitive wages. Most Wanted Fine Art has the chance to get a Mission Main Street℠ Grant and all you have to do to help them is vote for them here.
Vibrant Pittsburgh, the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh, and Pop City Media have teamed up to present Pittsburgh’s 2nd City-Wide Dine Around event on Saturday, October 26th. Recognizing that it’s not easy being new to a city or region, a Dine Around is meant to be a casual, stress-free time of good company and good food. The event is typically held in a home and provides an opportunity for newcomers to our region to connect, network and discover information about regional resources.
Pittsburgh has been rightly celebrated as America’s “Most Livable City” but, the renewal has not been citywide—there are many neighborhoods that have not shared in the growth and progress. Coro Pittsburgh is a comprehensive program whose mission is to advance ethical and effective leaders who share a commitment to civic engagement. The Coro Fellows in Public Affairs will hold a Dialogue on Urban Affairs on Friday, October 25th. The topic at hand: Is Pittsburgh Livable for Everyone? They are looking for you—the public—to give your input into the conversation. You may even find some opportunities to take action in helping achieve a more equitable city for all.
The Coalition of Oakland Residents (COR) is a new “umbrella” alliance bringing together representatives from various resident associations in the Oakland neighborhood. COR’s mission states: “We are a collective voice for the residents of Oakland. Our goal is to improve life in Oakland by promoting community groups, by encouraging communication among these groups, and by advocating on their behalf to entities that impact these groups, their constituent communities and our fellow residents.”
Deirdre Kane and Dora Walmsley are two Pittsburghers who have a dream — one they share with many of their Upper Lawrenceville neighbors — to open a fresh retail corner store offering grocery staples, prepared foods, and bulk items (like grains and rice). They also envision the 52nd Street Market being a community meeting place — a space where neighbors can come together for a cup of coffee and conversation. The women are more than just dreamers — they have a combined 25 years of restaurant industry and food service experience between them, including working at the Greater Pittsburgh Food Bank so there is an understanding of food insecurity and equitable access to food. They also have a building owner who is working with them, as well having many professional mentors, and have surveyed their community.
“Umoja” means “unity” in the Swahili language of Africa. The Umoja African Arts Company’s mission since 1989 has been to increase awareness and appreciation of the rich culture of the continent of Africa. One way they do this is through their signature event — the African Arts in the Park festival — which brings together people of all cultures in Pittsburgh to enjoy the “explosive beats, insistent rhythms and haunting melodies of African music, drumming and dance.”