(PITTSBURGH) February 8, 2012 Mayor Luke Ravenstahl today announced that applications are available for the City’s spring 2012 Love Your Block grant award program. Local nonprofit organizations have until February 29, 2012 to apply. The block revitalization program gives up to 10 organizations $500 to purchase supplies and equipment necessary to implement a neighborhood block improvement project that mobilizes community volunteers. Project implementation will take place from May 1 to June 30, 2012. Love Your Block is one of seven service initiatives in the Mayor’s servePGH initiative.
“The success of last fall’s Love Your Block projects was overwhelming and I’m excited to continue that momentum into even more of our neighborhoods,” Ravenstahl said. “This program, along with the neighborhood revitalization initiatives my office created, are making sure that Pittsburgh’s Third Renaissance is reaching all four corners of our City. This Renaissance is about giving the people of Pittsburgh the tools to improve our neighborhoods block by block, making our streets more livable for residents and more attractive for new residents.”
Last fall’s pilot round of Love Your Block included a popup café, community gardens, a rain garden, memorial restoration, athletic complex renovation and vacant lot remediation. Grantees impacted 47 blocks by collecting 5,860 pounds of litter, creating 16 green spaces, leveraging over $8,800 of donations and recruiting over 680 volunteers.
“Love Your Block definitely changed my perspective of Pittsburgh by showing me that the Mayor wants the same thing as homeowners and residents of the City: a nice place for neighbors to live peacefully amongst one another. It’s these sorts of projects that help neighborhoods thrive for a long time to come,” said resident Kelly Day of Brighton Heights.
Applicants for the Spring 2012 program must be a qualified nonprofit organization or have the support of a nonprofit fiscal agent, and the impacted area must be within City limits. Applications must be received no later than 5 p.m. on February 29, 2012; late applications will not be accepted. Applicants will be notified of their status by late March 2012. A mandatory grantee orientation will take place on April 16, 2012, location and time will be announced to grantees at a later date.
The City will give special consideration to projects that demonstrate a creative solution to an ongoing neighborhood issue, address one or more vacant lots, engage local and/or veteran volunteers, and leverage other partnerships or additional donations. City leaders will meet with the awardees and deploy City services such as trash collection and graffiti removal to support the projects, as feasible. A full list of available City services can be found in the Love Your Block applications.
Love Your Block is made possible, in large part, thanks to the Home Depot Foundation donation of $10,000 in the form of $500 Home Depot gift cards. The selected projects each receive one gift card. Love Your Block is also supported in part by Corporation for National Community Service and AmeriCorps VISTA program
“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,” Ravenstahl said.
About Cities of Service and servePGH
On September 10, 2009, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl pledged that the City of Pittsburgh would help the country achieve the goals of the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act by joining Mayor Bloomberg and fifteen other Mayors from across our nation to launch the Cities of Service coalition. By signing the Declaration of Service, Mayor Ravenstahl committed to developing a coordinated strategy to utilize impact volunteerism as a significant municipal strategy for addressing local challenges.
Mayor Ravenstahl launched servePGH in March 2011 to engage Pittsburgh’s citizens in service and 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 resident’s homes, help middle-school youth navigate life’s challenges and more. Additional information is available at servepgh.pittsburghpa.gov.