September 26, 2006 |

Birmingham Foundation makes more than $800,000 in grants this year

During the 2005-2006 year, the South Side-based Birmingham Foundation awarded nearly $812,000 in 38 grants to support health-related and human services initiatives and organizations.

Since 1997, the Birmingham Foundation has awarded more than $8.3 million in grants to 130 organizations. The foundation focuses on five priority areas: enhancing community life, impacting children's well-being, promoting senior health, providing for health access and education and building the capacity of local organizations.

In supporting agencies that enhance community life, the foundation provided seven grants to organizations addressing issues such as violence prevention, community safety, family support services and food security issues.

Numerous organizations stepped up to tackle violence and safety issues in the community. The Wesley Center, in partnership with One Vision One Life, will use an $80,000 grant to intervene in the street violence cycle using trained coordinators and systematic programs with area youth. With a grant of $34,000, Women's Center and Shelter of Pittsburgh will institute teen intervention and medical advocacy programs aimed at reducing the risk factors for domestic violence.

A $10,000 grant to the Mt. Washington Community Development Corporation will fund development of a pilot block watch program in Mt. Washington and Duquesne Heights.

Local agencies continue innovating to support families through a variety of services. With a foundation grant of $25,000, Just Harvest increased the ability of 400 low-income workers families to benefit from tax credits through their tax preparation program and policy advocacy. The foundation also awarded the first $30,000 in a multi-year grant to the Brashear Association to extend family assistance services over three years to the hilltop communities of Allentown, Beltzhoover, Knoxville and Mt. Oliver.

The Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank received funding of $46,000 to increase the capacity of local food pantries. In addition, a grant of $5,000 to the Pittsburgh Foundation supported case management services for families that relocated to the area as a result of Hurricane Katrina.

In meeting another priority area of the foundation, seven grants were awarded to programs that impact children's well-being in the community. Youthplaces, in partnership with Voices Against Violence, will offer youth conflict resolution programs, case management and group mentoring through a $50,000 grant. Youthplaces also received a grant of $47,000 to provide a structured summer program in McKinley Park for youths ages nine through 17.

Another summer program for youth, run by Mercy Children's Medical Center at the Warrington Recreation Center, received funding in the amount of $38,000. With a grant of $40,000, Youthworks will broker youth employment opportunities through local partnerships.

Saltworks Theatre has been granted funding of $10,000 to change student attitudes towards risky behaviors and address social issues such as bullying through interactive school-based performances. Tickets for Kids will continue to provide arts, education, family, and sporting opportunities to under-served youth with the final $10,000 award of a three year grant.

The final $5,000 of a three year grant was awarded to Junior Achievement for their economic education themed afterschool and summer programs.

Senior health and quality of life is another target of the Birmingham Foundation, which provided six grants in this area. The first award in an exciting multi-year grant to the Hilltop Health Ministries provided the organization with $72,000 to promote the health of seniors and young mothers and expand health ministry programs over two years. Hilltop Health Ministries received an additional $10,000 of funding to develop a pilot program to expand health ministries in local congregations with the goal of increasing health impacts and addressing disparities.

The Pittsburgh Project received a second-year grant of $25,000 to increase capacity of their innovative home repair program serving seniors as well as involving local youth in summer service camps. An issue of senior accessibility was addressed through a $15,000 grant to the Allentown Senior Citizens Center for renovations in the Hilltop UM Church site.

Radio Information Services increased access of seniors with reading limitations to radio reading services through a $16,000 grant. With a $5,500 grant, Living at Home expanded health education and outreach to seniors with their second year of funding in a three year grant.

Six grants were given toward the priority goal of facilitating health access for community members. Sto-Rox Health Center received $50,000 to expand services and patient supports to a growing number of residents. An additional $25,000 grant will allow Sto-Rox to hire professional consultants to design a permanent facility for the Hilltop Community Healthcare Center.

With a grant of $17,000 for the first year of a multi-year project, the Pittsburgh Pastoral Institute will also serve the Hilltop community by increasing access for their constituents to professional interfaith counseling.

Onala Club will strengthen their social club for people in recovery with the first $40,000 of a multi-year grant for operations and capacity planning. Prevention Point Pittsburgh continues to increase public health education and reduce risks for South Pittsburgh with $25,000 of funding from the Foundation. Consumer Health Coalition will improve local health and wellness through building capacity and educating community partners via a $15,000 grant.

The foundation also provides grants for local organizations to build capacity. Furnish a Start expanded to serve more families with the first $30,000 of a multi-year grant for the first phase of a capacity building plan. Oakland Service Ministries, in partnership with My Brother's Keeper, strengthened their agency through a $25,000 award to improve operational capacity and oversight.

Additional discretionary grants were awarded to organizations for smaller capacity-building projects and to enhance overall community life. Some highlights included funding for Gwen's Girls to participate in a community forum on violence prevention and SIDS of PA to enhance their Cribs for Kids program

The Birmingham Foundation accepts letters of intent year-round for projects in their priority areas that serve the South Pittsburgh community. Information about grant guidelines, previous grants, and foundation publications are available at www.birminghamfoundation.org or by calling 412-481-2777.

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