(PITTSBURGH) October 24, 2012 Mayor Luke Ravenstahl today announced that the City of Pittsburgh has been awarded a $100,000 Cities of Service Impact Volunteering Fund grant to support Ravenstahl’s proposal to embark on new high-impact volunteering programs within his servePGH program, which engages volunteers to tackle Pittsburgh’s greatest challenges. The grant will fund two new initiatives – a new project called Cool Roofs and an expansion of the Green Up Pittsburgh program, called Edible Gardens – in support of Ravenstahl’s work to help Pittsburgh become more sustainable and energy efficient. More than 60 mayors competed for the grant, and Pittsburgh is one of 18 U.S. cities selected based on quality of initiatives, potential for impact and implementation plans.
"ServePGH is a vital part of helping our 'most livable' city become even cleaner, safe and more sustainable,” Ravenstahl said. “This high-impact volunteer program has already improved the City by revitalizing neighborhoods, promoting education and cleaning up litter. Here in Pittsburgh, a spirit of civic engagement and volunteerism is in the air, and with this generous Cities of Service grant, we’re able to fuel it further.”
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 embracing the power of volunteers as a strategy to address local challenges.
Cool Roofs, a new program to equip Pittsburgh with more sustainable and energy efficient buildings, will coat City-owned buildings with white reflective paint, resulting in a reduction of internal building temperature of up to 30 percent and reducing Co2 emissions. In the first year, 10 Downtown roofs will be coated over the course of eight months, covering approximately 50,000 square feet and reducing the City’s carbon emissions by 50 tons. The City’s Department of Public Works will work with volunteers to clean and paint the roofs, and all will receive safety and instruction training.
As an expansion of the Mayor’s Green Up program, Edible Gardens will engage volunteers to improve access to healthy foods in more than a dozen low-income City neighborhoods where access to fresh produce markets is scarce. At last week’s One Young World Summit, Ravenstahl announced that throughout the next year, the City will embrace Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution – a national movement to inspire families to cook meals and eat healthier. Outside of City efforts to increase the number of farmers markets, create new bike lanes and trails, and grow the CityFit Wellness at Work initiative, this Cities of Service grant will fund a new program called Edible Gardens, which will increase the amount of fresh produce available to residents in “food deserts” by engaging volunteers and community members to design, establish, maintain and harvest edible garden sites. The program is anticipated to produce nearly one ton of produce for at least 200 families. Both projects are set to launch in the spring of 2013.
By obtaining a Cities of Service grant, 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 thousands of residents in volunteer-fueled solutions to revitalize 200 city blocks, restore vulnerable residents’ homes, help middle-school youth navigate life’s challenges, clean up over 21,760 pounds of litter, and more. Over $1 million in grant funding has been leveraged since the program's inception, and more than 2,800 volunteers have committed over 29,902 hours of service through servePGH to date. Additional information is available at pittsburghpa.gov/servepgh.
The Cities of Service model focuses on “impact volunteering” – volunteer strategies that target community needs, use best practices, and set clear outcomes and measures to gauge progress. The City of Pittsburgh is one of dozens of cities across the nation that have adopted the model since its introduction in 2009.
About Cities of Service
Founded in New York City in September 2009, Cities of Service supports mayors who leverage citizen service strategies, addressing local needs and making government more effective. 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.
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Office of Mayor Luke Ravenstahl
512 City County Building | 414 Grant Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
telephone: 412-255-2626 | facsimile: 412-255-2687