(PITTSBURGH) July 19, 2012 Mayor Luke Ravenstahl today announced the 22 recipients who will receive funding through the third round of his servePGH initiative's “Love Your Block” (LYB) grant program. The block revitalization program provides an opportunity for local volunteers and residents to partner with the City to transform blighted lots into community assets. This past spring, Mayor Ravenstahl announced that organizations will now be awarded $1,000 - up from $500 - to purchase supplies and equipment to implement a block improvement project that mobilizes community volunteers, thanks to the generous support of The Home Depot Foundation. In addition, a special $2,000 prize will be given to the organization that best transforms their block. Organizations also receive support from City services.
“With twice as many organizations receiving more support than ever to carry out their innovative neighborhood revitalization plans, more residents will be a part of the growing movement of impact volunteerism," said Ravenstahl. "Since the launch of this program, citizens have helped to spruce up 100 city blocks, collected nearly 10,000 pounds of litter and created 30 new community gardens."
The program is one of seven service initiatives that are a part of the Mayor’s servePGH plan, which coordinates volunteers to help address the Pittsburgh’s greatest challenges. In choosing the recipients, the City gave special consideration to projects that demonstrate a creative solution to an identified community issue, impact an outdoor community space utilized by and/or honoring veterans, and leverage local and/or veteran volunteers. City departments will meet with the awardees and deploy City services such as trash collection and graffiti removal, as feasible.
The Home Depot Foundation generously donated $130,000 to the initiative, enabling the City to increase the number of LYB revitalization projects from 20 to 50 per year. Project implementation will take place from August through October, and applications for the next round of grants will be available this winter.
“With The Home Depot Foundation’s support for Love Your Block, Pittsburgh residents have implemented creative solutions to neighborhood eyesores in every corner of the city,” Ravenstahl said. “We are extremely grateful to the Home Depot Foundation for their investment in this program and their national commitment to supporting vibrant and sustainable communities.”
For more information, visit PittsburghPA.gov/servepgh, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 412-255-2280.
1. 900 Block of Liberty Coalition
The Coalition will conduct a Dare to Care superhero certification class for kids and make banners of superheroes to display outside the Toonseum to promote diversity and civic engagement.
2. American Legion
Participants will plant red, white, and blue flowers on a vacant lot honoring veterans.
3. Bloomfield-Garfield Corporation
The Corporation and volunteers will beautify around a veterans memorial.
4. Brashear 9th Grade Promise Readiness Corps
The Corps and volunteers will revitalize and beautify a neighborhood playground.
5. Clean Green Hill
Participants will revitalize 6 vacant lots around the 2400 Block of Wylie Ave. by planting gardens.
6. Community Alliance of Spring Garden
Volunteers will plant around and paint the adjacent wall of a vacant building.
7. Deutschtown Merchants Association
Neighborhood volunteers will beautify a pedestrian walkway and spruce up the local business district.
8. Fineview Citizens Council
Participants will revive community gardens and beautify vacant properties and City steps.
9. Hillcrest Seventh-Day Adventist Church
The Church and volunteers will clean up City steps frequented by community members and beautify an adjacent vacant lot.
10. Larimer Green Team
The Green Team will lead the creation of a community garden.
11. Lawrenceville United
Participants will plant flowers in window boxes on a series of adjacent homes.
12. Mount Washington CDC
Volunteers will clean and beautify the trail head at Emerald View Park.
13. Mt. Washington VFW
The VFW will lead a beautification project around a veterans memorial.
14. Mulford St. Corridor Block Association
Volunteers will remove debris and plant flowers on a vacant lot.
15. Neighborhood Inter-Generational Beautification Crew
The Crew will engage cross-generational volunteers in installing a garden on a vacant lot.
16. Northside Common Ministries
The Ministries will engage youth in painting banners and garden boxes to promote healthy eating and recycling, as well as clearing weeds and planting flowers around telephone poles and abandoned homes.
17. Oakland Planning & Development Corporation
Volunteers will beautify a vacant lot.
18. Shambhala Meditation Center of Pittsburgh
The organization will create a public meditative garden.
19. Slavonic Political Citizens Club
Participants will beautify around a veterans memorial, including repainting memorial canons and beautifying a nearby tot lot.
20. The Open Door
Volunteers will install benches and planters at a corner and bus stop frequented by neighborhood youth.
21. West End Alliance
Participants will be beautifying a vacant lot in the Westwood neighborhood.
22. West Pittsburgh Partnership for Neighborhood Development
Volunteers will restore a veterans war memorial to its original form by placing a wrought iron fence around it.
Mayor Ravenstahl launched servePGH in March 2011 to engage Pittsburgh’s citizens in service and to answer President Obama’s national call to volunteerism. Through seven new and innovative servePGH initiatives, Mayor Ravenstahl has engaged citizens in volunteer-fueled solutions to revitalize city blocks, restore vulnerable residents’ homes, help middle-school youth navigate life’s challenges and more. Nearly 2,500 volunteers have committed more than 27,500 hours of service through servePGH to date. Additional information is available at pittsburghpa.gov/servepgh.
Mayor Ravenstahl is a founding member of Cities of Service, a bipartisan coalition of more than 100 mayors from across the country dedicated to engaging more Americans in community service and harnessing the power of volunteers as a serious strategy to address local challenges. Founded in New York City, the coalition and its member cities respond to the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act's historic call to action by finding new and innovative ways to harness the power of volunteers to help solve pressing local challenges.
ABOUT AMERICORPS VISTA
Love Your Block is supported by the Corporation for National and Community Service and AmeriCorps VISTA. AmeriCorps VISTA members commit to serve full-time for a 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.