Wednesday, February 22, 2012

14 Local Organizations to Love: 4 Community-Loving Causes

Union Project was founded in 2001 as a way to restore a blighted community landmark while creating a space to bring people together to connect, create, and celebrate in a common place.  Founded by a group with Anabaptist/Mennonite roots - many of whom were involved in a voluntary service program located half a block from the building - the project began in the style of an urban barn-raising. By drawing heavily upon members of the local community to volunteer their skills and labor, the founders of Union Project were able to make the most of a shoe-string budget to renovate the building.

Through its initial years, Union Project evolved its programming to meet the changing needs of the surrounding neighborhoods.  Those programs included stained glass restoration, a ceramics cooperative and classes, rental of office and community spaces, and a cafĂ©.

In 2009, Union Project streamlined its programs, budget, and staffing to focus on its key competencies:  Space Rental, Arts Programming, and Volunteer Engagement and Stewardship.  Even with a leaner budget and staff, Union Project now reaches more youth, families, and adults and generates more revenue than ever before.

Union Project is a dynamic community arts and enterprise center where they bring people together to connect, create, and celebrate.

Their historic building, located at the intersection of Stanton and Negley Avenues, provides an affordable, safe, and welcoming home to grassroots entrepreneurs, artists, nonprofits, people of all faiths and community events. With the support of community members, Union Project grows people's skills, spirits, and self-sufficiency.

Since 2001, Union Project has strengthening the stability of Pittsburgh's East End neighborhoods and residents through:  incubating 96 new jobs at micro-businesses and nonprofits, cultivating more than 35,000 volunteer hours to help renovate our space, and gathering tens of thousands of diverse people.

Visit Union Project online, "like" them on Facebook, follow their blog and on Twitter.

PULSE cultivates a community of young servant leaders to transform Pittsburgh. They partner with local, Pittsburgh nonprofits to develop men and women to be the next generation of servant leaders in our city.

Placement nonprofits receive a young, talented, university graduates to build capacity in their organization while participants receive valuable job training and skill development.

They cultivate community by having their participants live together. Their participants share meals, household tasks and life together. As a result, they grow and develop as individuals and as a cohort group of young people working to make change in Pittsburgh. Over a third of their alumni continue to live in Pittsburgh.

They train and equip their participants to become servant leaders in Pittsburgh. They provide regular, ongoing personal and professional development, mentoring relationships and other opportunities to give their participants the support they need to succeed.

Visit PULSE online, "like" them on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter.

Sustainable Pittsburgh accelerates the policy and practice of sustainable development throughout Southwestern Pennsylvania.  They do so by affecting decisionmaking to integrate economic prosperity, social equity, and environmental quality bringing sustainable solutions to communities and businesses.  
Their business is making the region a better for all people through their hard work to:
- Close the disparities gap to provide more opportunity for all people to live up to their potential.
- Stem the tide of sprawling development in favor of smart growth to revitalize existing communities and apply sustainabiliy principles to drive the region's growth and development strategy.
- Help businesses and communities deploy sustainability programs to conserve resources, save money, improve social equity, drive new innovation, and create abundance in opportunity.
- Lift outdoor recreation and focus on quality of life as top line in the region's economic development.

They continue to make significant gains on these purposes by being skilled in developing partnerships, advocacy, policy work, a wide range of education and technical, and organizing for positive change around this great region.
Please consider joining Sustainable Pittsburgh and supporting the work of this excellent organization.  Regardless of financial support, there are many ways to become involved and allow them to help put your business, organization, or community on the path to sustainability.  Each of us has important role to play to and your efforts give wings to their mission.
Visit Sustainable Pittsburgh online and "like" them on Facebook to keep up with the latest goings-on!

Established in 1983 as a funding collaborative to support community development efforts, PPND was one of the first organizations of their type in the country.   PPND believes that every neighborhood has the potential to become a good place to live, work, and raise families through hard work, smart planning and private investment. Livable places support Pittsburgh’s prosperity.
  PPND has witnessed momentous progression towards positive change in Pittsburgh’s communities throughout their history, but there is still progress to be made— neighborhoods to revitalize, issues to tackle and lives to improve upon. They realize that a project-by-project approach to community investment, one largely focused on housing and commercial development, is not enough to achieve the level of success we have been striving towards.  To really revitalize disadvantaged neighborhoods into healthy, vibrant places to live, they need to do more.

PPND is a community development intermediary that seeks out and combines financial resources from philanthropies, corporations and government and uses them to leverage additional private investments that improve the health of neighborhood markets. They focus on communities where there is both need and promise. They also ensure that those working in neighborhoods can access accurate information and relevant knowledge of best practices from beyond our region. Through their affiliation with the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), PPND

Throughout 2009, PPND began to align their investments into targeted geographic areas. They also continued to work with their grantees on collaboration and multi-neighborhood comprehensive community development. This method of investing in neighborhoods will enable them to have a more substantial impact on the communities that we work in. This renewed approach to community development activities promotes neighborhood driven improvements that address the following goals:
  1. Developing, Preserving and Investing in the Physical Environment
  2. Increasing Family Income and Wealth
  3. Stimulating Economic Activity, Locally and Regionally
  4. Improving Access to Quality Education
  5. Fostering Livable, Safe and Healthy Environments
• Raises Funds
• Makes Strategic Grants and Loans
• Develops Local Leadership
• Builds Community Connections

Visit PPND online, follow them on Twitter, and "like" them on Facebook to keep up with what's happening!

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