(PITTSBURGH) May 2, 2012 Standing at a soon-to-be-transformed vacant lot in the Knoxville neighborhood, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl yesterday joined community volunteers and the Home Depot Foundation to announce the expansion of his successful Love Your Block revitalization program. The program is one of seven service initiatives that are a part of the Mayor’s servePGH plan, which coordinates volunteers to help address the City’s greatest challenges. Last fall, 10 Love Your Block grantees impacted 47 blocks with the help of City departments and 675 volunteers. The program created 17 community gardens, removed 5,480 pounds of litter and leveraged $8,500 in other donations.
“The Home Depot Foundation has recognized this program’s impact and has made a generous commitment that will allow us to double our efforts to revitalize more City blocks,” Ravenstahl said. “I want to thank the Home Depot Foundation for their generous support and the City employees and community volunteers who worked tirelessly to clean, green and ultimately transform vacant lots.”
The Mayor’s Love Your Block program will receive $130,000 from The Home Depot Foundation, enabling the City to increase the number of Love Your Block (LYB) revitalization projects from 20 to 50 per year and doubling the grant amount to $1,000 per project. In addition, one LYB project per round will be voted “best” by servePGH staff members and receive $2,000 in additional funds to be used for future block enhancements.
"We are honored to be a part of The Mayor’s Love Your Block Initiative to help residents repair and refurbish homes and neighborhoods,” said Kelly Caffarelli, president of The Home Depot Foundation. “The cornerstone of our lives is usually the place we call home, where we gather with our families and friends, and we are proud that our grant funding will be used to make a lasting, physical impact on neighborhoods throughout the city.”
Ravenstahl continues to support military veterans by strengthening the neighborhoods in which they live. With this new funding, projects that take place in neighborhoods with a high concentration of veterans, engage veterans as volunteers, or support veterans organizations will be given special consideration.
Love Your Block provides local organizations with a Home Depot gift card to purchase the supplies and equipment necessary to implement a block improvement project that mobilizes community volunteers. City departments then meet with the awardees and deploy City services such as trash collection and graffiti removal, as necessary. Previously, The Home Depot Foundation donated $10,000 toward the program in the form in $500 Home Depot gift cards. The Mayor made the announcement at a vacant lot on Jucunda St. in the Knoxville neighborhood. The local community group, 400 Block of Jucunda St. Clean-up Committee, is one of 10 current Love Your Block grantees and will be transforming two vacant lots into a community flower garden.
"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 Kelly Day, Fall 2011 LYB Grantee from Brighton Heights
Applications for the next round of 25 projects, which will take place this fall, launched today and are available at www.servepgh.pittsburghpa.gov/loveyourblock/grantapplication.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 412-255-2280.
About Cities of Service
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.
The City of Pittsburgh's service blueprint, servePGH, seeks to engage citizens in impacting our City's greatest challenges through seven service initiative which focus on securing a brighter future for youths through mentoring and educational opportunities, and revitalizing Pittsburgh's neighborhoods through community renewal projects.
About AmeriCorps VISTA
Love Your Block is supported by the Corporation for National and Community Service and AmeriCorps VISTA. AmeriCorps VISTA members commit to serve full-time for a year at a nonprofit organization or local government agency, working to fight illiteracy, improve health services, create businesses, and strengthen community groups, with the ultimate goal to eliminate poverty in the United States. In Pennsylvania, there are currently over 200 VISTAs serving on 30 projects.
About The Home Depot Foundation
In 2011, The Home Depot Foundation committed $30 million over three years to nonprofit organizations, dedicated to improving the homes of economically disadvantages veterans. Through Team Depot, the company’s associate-led volunteer program, thousands of Home Depot associates volunteer their time and talents to positively transform neighborhoods and perform basic repairs and modifications to homes and to the facilities serving veterans with critical housing needs.Since its formation in 2002, The Home Depot Foundation has granted more than $300 million to nonprofit organizations improving homes and lives in local communities. To learn more and see our associates in action, visit www.homedepotfoundation.org, follow us on Twitter @homedepotfdn and like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/homedepotfoundation.