Launch Hilltop: Impact Incubator

A 12 month program for social enterprises and creative projects to research, test, and implement plans to activate their local community.

Launch Hilltop is an inspiration dojo, where a collective of passionate, driven entrepreneurs challenge perceptions to drive personal and community change

Building Community Equity

EQUITY CAFES are conversations where residents discover their community, dream their future, and design initiatives to create their own destiny. Local residents are encouraged to lend their voices and energy over free lunch at an upcoming Equity Cafe:

  1. DISCOVERY: Saturday June 18, 2016 – Story and photos by Storyburgh
  2. DREAM/DESIGN: July 16, 2016 – graphic illustration by Emily Marko
  3. DESTINY: August 27, 2016 at Academy PGH, 753 East Warrington Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15210

RSVP with Jorinda at

Meet the Teams

DECO Resources is a sustainability consulting firm with a proven track record on environmental analysis, community engagement, and education. We support organizations looking to employ best green practices into the design, engineering, construction, and operation of their projects.

Epicast is a digital content based network with a strong focus on podcasts, photos, and video. We plan to expand our video services production and build focus on becoming a “multi channel network” via Youtube, and network creative video makers, artists, and musicians in the same way we’ve done with podcasts, appealing to those that crave visual entertainment.

InvolveMINT is an application that uses time credits to drive better volunteer recruitment and retention at nonprofits. Time credits are earned for every service hour and can can be spent at local businesses and institutions. While earning credits, volunteers generate content using the platform, allowing service projects to gain visibility and communities to form around service.

Leon’s Caribbean Restaurant brings a taste of the islands to Pittsburgh, through their retail location in Allentown on the Hilltop, a catering service, and food truck (coming soon!).

Meta Mesh Wireless Communities is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization committed to building Community Wireless Networks in neighborhoods, towns, and cities that want to create a decentralized, resilient network for citizens to communicate freely with one another without the need for Internet Service Providers. Community Wireless Networks are able to be standalone networks and host websites and services like chat, file sharing, and e-mail. But they can also be used to make Internet access more ubiquitous and therefore can be used to bridge the Digital Divide between the well-connected and those who see Internet access as a luxury.

Folia Water

pAge Drinking Paper was created to make and distribute the silver nanoparticle (AgNP) filter papers (pAges) invented by Dr. Theresa Dankovich to the 663 million people in the world who lack access to clean drinking water. We aspire to create a point-of-use AgNP filter paper at a price point – < 10 cents per paper – that is universally acceptable to the poorest of the poor.

McKoy Creative Games is developing fun, innovative ways to engage communities, empower action, and provide them with access to the resources to do so. By gamifiying the community engagement process, it makes activation seem less daunting and provides greater access to resources, organizations, and individuals that can affect everything from physical spaces to policy.

The Hilltop Men’s Group is a organization on a mission to reclaim our streets, restore our community pride and repair the damage that was done by years of disinvestment and neglect. We seek to provide healthy alternatives to the destructive behaviors that harm the community. Our approach to healing the neighborhoods is through educational, spiritual, and economic empowerment. We provide programming that encourages responsible entrepreneurism with a focus on the community.

The Storyburgh is a not for profit community storytelling platform that seeks to foster discussion and engage the community with under-reported, under-told stories including topics involving humanities such as in social justice, arts & culture, innovation, education/academia and marginalized demographics. The Storyburgh is open to both professional and citizen journalists through a collaborative platform for photographers, writers, and other visual storytellers to document local stories. The stories are then: 1. Used to promote variety of discussions with the community and 2. Further utilized by other organizations to enhance their missions or messages to the communities.
Industry on Industry is a community revitalization initiative led by the Hilltop Alliance in the East Warrington business district in Allentown. Local makers and artists will locate their business in the community and receive rent abatement in exchange for creating temporary art projects. Program goals are long term business viability and creative engagement of the community. Participating businesses will receive technical assistance and business plan development support through New Sun Rising’s Arts MODE fellowship program. Additional community partners include: RE360, Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council, Neighborhood Allies, and Local Initiatives Support Corp (LISC). Photo courtesy of RE360.

Why the Hilltop?

New Sun Rising’s impact incubator supports social innovators from around the Pittsburgh region. Following a neighborhood discussion and assessment with multiple stakeholders, we selected the Hilltop anchored by the Allentown business district as our second Launch MODE community. A number of Hilltop based organizations are committed to promoting inclusive neighborhood redevelopment, such as Work Hard Pittsburgh, the Hilltop Alliance, Pgh Works, and others. New Sun Rising is excited to work closely with these partners and the 10 Launch Hilltop teams over the next twelve months and translate their success into positive opportunity and change for the community.

The Launch MODE Program

New Sun Rising provides a unique, collaborative experience for early stage concepts and fresh ideas. Our focus on social enterprises + innovative non-profits puts the emphasis on impact as much as finance, defines success by founders not funders, and believes that context is as important as content.