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!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

14 Local Organizations to Love: 5 Kid-Loving Causes

ABOARD’s Autism Connection of PA provides autism support across the state of Pennsylvania. They offer autism support to parents, including autism support groups, autism resources, and autism conferences and events. They also provide information on the signs and symptoms of autism, getting an autism diagnosis, and applying for medical assistance and health insurance. Finally, they help people with autism by providing information on autism treatments, links to autism research studies, and support groups for people on the spectrum.

Do you have a child newly diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder? Please contact them. They will help you receive the services you need 1-800-827-9385

The Children's Home of Pittsburgh, established in 1893, is an independent, non-profit licensed organization whose purpose is to promote the health and well-being of infants and children through services which establish and strengthen the family.

If you are facing an unplanned pregnancy, The Children’s Home of Pittsburgh can help. They’ve been there for thousands of woman and men in unplanned pregnancies – to listen, to provide support, to help you with your choices, your rights, and to help you find the resources that are available to you.

The Children's Home of Pittsburgh & Lemieux Family Center is located at 5324 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15224. Contact them at (412) 441-4884.

The Children's Institute is dedicated to promoting the well-being of children, young people and their families and to providing services that meet their special needs. The vision of The Children's Institute is to become a center of excellence in the region and in the nation. The hallmark of The Children’s Institute’s legacy will continue to be an unwavering commitment to children with special needs and their families.

The Children’s Institute
1405 Shady Avenue
Pittsburgh PA 15217-1350
Phone: 412.420.2400

If you have a specific question please review the following Frequently Asked Questions areas of the site; The Hospital FAQs, The Day School FAQs, and Project Star FAQs. now offers Allegheny (and surrounding counties) a one stop shop for parents to use when looking for summer camps and children’s educational programs. They have established a number of programs to help decrease the summer “achievement gap” and alleviate the some of the financial issues faced by Pittsburgh families.

The Scholarship Assistance Program is an advisory program established to assist parents with the camp scholarship application process. Furthermore, they help lessen the obstacles of transportation and meals (for low-income parents.)

The Community Outreach Program is designed to bring educational outreach opportunities to community centers in distressed neighborhoods, and qualified public housing facilities.

The Summer Camp Scholarship Program provides summer camp scholarship opportunities to qualified, low-income students.

They are seeking the support of individuals, public organizations, and private corporations to help finance the above programs. Donate today to help out this wonderful cause!

The mission of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Pittsburgh is to provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one relationships that change their lives for the better, forever.The Big Brothers Big Sisters program is all about preventing problems among youth by getting to kids early, before destructive behaviors can take root. When a positive, supportive mentor – someone with a different background and perspectives – gets involved in a child’s life, the child often discovers a potential they didn’t know they had. And the child always feels better knowing that someone cares for them. In fact, the rewards are often mutual for both the mentor and child.

They are located at 5989 Penn Circle South, Pittsburgh, PA 15206. Contact them at (412) 363-6100, via email at, and online at, and "Like" them on Facebook.

Friday, February 10, 2012

14 Local Organizations to Love: Share the Love with this Dyanmic Duo!

American Heart Association:
Go Red for Women Pittsburgh Chapter

In Pennsylvania alone, nearly 26,000 women die each year from heart disease and stroke. These are women we know. They are our wives, sisters, mothers, daughters and friends. In fact, one of every three women will die from heart disease, yet less than 60 percent of women recognize heart disease as the No. 1 killer of women.

Your heart is in your hands. Heart disease and stroke are largely preventable if you work to lower your risks. Learn more by taking the Go Red Heart CheckUp.

Through Pittsburgh Goes Red For Women®  movement, the American Heart Association is working to decrease those numbers. We are working to empower women to Speak Up and take action to raise awarness and funds to help women everywhere GO RED.

For more information - or to volunteer for Pittsburgh Go Red For Women - please contact Wendy McCabe at 412-702-1128 or

NOCC Pittsburgh Chapter
Welcome to the Pittsburgh Chapter of the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition. From their office in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh,they promote ovarian cancer education and awareness while supporting survivors and their families throughout western Pennsylvania, from Greene and Fayette counties in the south to Erie in the north.

Their chapter is comprised of ovarian cancer survivors, their families, friends and health care professionals and they invite anyone with an interest in raising awareness about ovarian cancer to join our efforts. Their meetings, which are open to the public, are held the first Wednesday evening of every month and include educational presentations on a wide range of topics. NOCC participate in health fairs and outreach events throughout the year and hold their annual Walk to Break the Silence on Ovarian Cancer in the fall.

Volunteers are needed in all areas, including education and outreach, office support and events.
Please contact NOCC Pittsburgh Chapter at 412-661-1095 if you need support, are looking for information, or would like to volunteer.  They look forward to hearing from you! To receive updates on Chapter events and programs, including the Walk, click here. Make sure to join their discussion on Facebook  and Twitter.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

February Fun: 14 Local Organizations to Love

"Love" banner, Party Paper Scissors

Wow, friends, we're already into February! Days are getting a tiny bit longer, spring styles are starting to creep back into the stores, and thoughts of summer vacations are slowly becoming solid plans.

After a fantastic start to the new year reviewing 31 of the most fantastically inspiring people I know, I am looking to continue the blog trend with something extra-special. February is the month of love, so I have decided to feature 14 different local organizations/charities to share with you. Each week you'll see 2-3 different organizations that are right here in Pittsburgh, and I'll tell you all about their fantastic missions and how you can support them. I hope that by the end of the month, you will have learned a lot and fallen in love with at least one charity/organization here in our hometown.

So, friends, buckle up and get ready to open your hearts to 14 of my favorite charitable groups!