The Pittsburgh Village Project provides educational opportunities for students from birth to 12th grade through personalized, social justice oriented and community-inspired learning opportunities in and out of schools. We are a cooperative of students, families, community members and educators who equitably strengthen the education system through culturally responsive consulting and the development of project-based, community service oriented curricula.
Peeling Back the Layers is an immersive event series exploring the complexity and beauty of our world through cultural expression and dialogue. Events are intimate, interactive, and hosted at the Purple Onion: a new experimental performance space at New Sun Rising’s Millvale Food + Energy Hub. Attendance is by invitation and guests are encouraged to share their own stories and experiences (on) the theme for evening. This event series is produced in partnership with New Sun Rising’s Power in Numbers: data + creative advocacy initiative.
March 5, 2022 with special guests Ben Barson & the Peeling Back the Layers Band, Janet Zipf of Back to Earth Healing Center, and Grounded Strategies.
The Millvale Ecodistrict represents the work and effort carried out by the Millvale Ecodistrict Collaborative, the Millvale Community, and evolveEA.
The Millvale Ecodistrict Collaborative consists of representatives from the Millvale Community Library, the Borough of Millvale, the Millvale Community Development Corporation (MCDC), and New Sun Rising. This coordinated team of people and organizations is committed to support and fulfill the Millvale Ecodistrict Plan.
The Millvale Ecodistict is led by In 2012, with the development of the Millvale Ecodistrict Pivot 1.0 Plan, the community came together to tackle three key issue areas: Food because of their status as a food desert, Water due to a frequent history of damaging floods, and Energy due the health and economic benefits.
Three years later, the community had been hard at work collaborating both internally as well as with regional partners and making significant progress on the community’s goals: With over 70% of the goals from the first iteration of their plan complete, the community turned its attention to the future by kicking off Millvale Ecodistrict Pivot 2.0 planning activities. Expanding its focus to Air because of the poor air quality in Allegheny County, Mobility due to lack of infrastructure for multimodal transportation, and Equity which ties the other quality of life priorities together to ensure fairness in access to these quality of life resources.
On October 26th, 2015, over 80 residents and community stakeholders came together to Imagine Millvale. Through the Millvale Ecodistrict Pivot 2 Plan, the community created the following vision statements which guide development activities:
The Grow Sto-Rox collaborative exists to improve the quality of life of Sto-Rox residents through programs which are trauma informed, strengths based, and create equitable economic impact.
Communities in Schools of Pittsburgh Allegheny County (CISPAC) – Bridget Clement, Executive Director
Focus on Renewal (FOR) – Cindy Haines, Executive Director, Adrienne Roberts
McKees Rocks Community Development Corporation (MRCDC) – Taris Vrcek, Executive Director
New Sun Rising – Dorrian Glenn, Grow Sto-Rox Program Manager
Sto-Rox School District (SRSD) – Samantha Levitzki, School Board
Zellous Hope Project (ZH) – Denise Zellous, Executive Director
The Sto-Rox community is composed of the racially-diverse, Pittsburgh rust belt communities of Stowe Township and McKees Rocks Borough in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. In 2014, an Allegheny County Department of Human Services study ranked Sto-Rox as a “Distressed Community”– the highest designation of rural and suburban poverty based on the number of single-mother households, unemployed males, housing vacancy and transportation scarcity. The Sto-Rox School District (SRSD), serving approximately 1,500 students 100% of whom qualify for free-and-reduced price lunch, has historically been one of the lowest performing school districts in Pennsylvania, known for significant gaps in digital access and struggles with charter school competition.
Despite these challenges the Sto-Rox community has many resources: over 10 Early Childhood Educational facilities, 5 Out-of-School (OST) providers, an active Community Development Corporation (MRCDC), revitalizing business and manufacturing bases, and a strong anchor human services organization (FOR) which runs a Community Resource Center and a powerhouse community arts center.
In 2014, when faced with budget and capacity constraints, SRSD called on local organizations to support critical youth and family programming. In response, the McKees Rocks CDC (MRCDC), Focus on Renewal (FOR) and over 15 other local organizations convened to form the “Sto-Rox Youth Partnership,” (SRYP) aimed at improving outcomes for youth and families. The SRSD and community partnered with Communities In Schools Pittsburgh – Allegheny County (CISPAC) to help guide the vision and resources. In 2017, the MRCDC, FOR, SRSD and CISPAC strengthened the efforts of the SRYP by forming an executive level steering committee and identifying key focus areas to support the work happening on the ground.
Concurrently, the McKees Rocks CDC (MRCDC) and Focus on Renewal (FOR) partnered with New Sun Rising (NSR) in 2016 to lead the development of a revisioning and activation plan while more deeply engaging the Sto-Rox community. The plan emphasized the voices and empowerment of stakeholders throughout the process, with special attention to underrepresented citizens. Building upon this research and feedback on the community’s development priorities, NSR, MRCDC, and FOR facilitated the Ignite Sto-Rox startup workshop in 2017 to identify local social entrepreneurs and provided ongoing intensive development support to 10 organizations through the Launch Sto-Rox incubator in 2018.
Building upon this period of increased collaboration throughout the community, New Sun Rising (NSR) began to meet with stakeholders to identify opportunities for transformational collective impact. Existing workforce and economic development assets were numerous but disconnected, including: Youth Workforce programs (Studio Sto-Rox Career Readiness, STEAM, Project Future and Learn & Earn), Adult Workforce programs (Pre-Apprenticeship Academy, Career Placement Services, and Asset Building), plans to establish a “Learning Campus” where Sto-Rox H.S. serves as a hub for learners of all ages, a “Maker & Co-Working Facility (The Joinery) that would include establishing a light manufacturing space, and most importantly a commitment to prioritize community outreach and engagement to vulnerable residents in all decisions through programs like “Voices of the Community” and related support from The Zellous Hope Project.
In August 2019, the Grow Sto-Rox founding partners (listed above) first met as a collaborative and committed to increase their efficacy by fully embracing the tenants of collective impact planning as it works to improve the quality of life of Sto-Rox residents through trauma informed, strength-based programs that improve the equitable economic future of the community. The founding partners acknowledge that this work is not possible without building trust, engaging the community, eliminating locally defined disparities, developing a culture of continuous improvement, and leveraging existing assets.
In acknowledgement of this shared vision and commitment, the Grow Sto-Rox collaborative was accepted into the inaugural year of The Forbes Funds C3 (Catalyst Community Cohort) program in late 2019. The C3 program provides funding and mentorship that will serve to advance the collaborative’s planning and capacity building efforts as they move towards implementation.
Grow Sto-Rox creates pathways to the middle class for multi-generational residents by achieving the following goals, which are informed by local research presented in “Recommendations for an Equity, Justice, and Inclusion Agenda for Pittsburgh” from Urban Kind and based upon “The Path to an All In Pittsburgh” from Policy Link.
G1: Grow good accessible jobs that provide pathways to the middle class
G2: Increase the economic security and mobility of vulnerable families and workers
G3: Cultivate homegrown talent through a strong cradle-to-career pipeline
G4: Create a healthy, opportunity-rich neighborhood for all
The founding partners of the Grow Sto-Rox collaborative fully believe that our goals can only be achieved by implementing solutions which are Trauma informed and Strengths-based. Initial activities include training and community engagement on developing these two competencies – as well as systemic racism education.
Trauma informed is realizing that every individual’s experience results in varying levels of trauma that plays a big role in how they respond to everyday interactions. People develop masks to hide the fact that they are traumatized. In community, these masks manifest in real ways, such as mental health with addiction, indifference in hyper masculinity, and false confidence hiding fear in educators. Trauma-informed approaches allow you to take your own mask off and engage with the real person. Being vulnerable and recognizing that trauma is manifesting in another human being provides people with a different experience, avoiding the reinforcement of their current mental model. Providers must be aware of our own triggers, levels of chronic stress, and ability to avoid escalation by reframing conversations. Dealing with trauma has been relatively absent in our community and is critical for people to move into strengths-based approaches and ultimately, equitable economic growth.
Strengths-based means genuinely getting to know the people that you are working with and valuing that their knowledge and experience can be used to help them reach their goals. Providers, leaders, and peers must develop the ability to truly meet people where they are at – sometimes that can mean admiring people for just showing up. People who are caught in generational poverty are made to feel less important than others. In order to break this cycle we must understand what success looks like to each individual, help them to see their strengths, and build upon them. People who feel powerless need to be given options and have the opportunity to share how they feel. By facilitating a greater understanding and practice of strengths-based approaches throughout the broader community, Grow Sto-Rox will help to lift the power of individuals in poverty to participate in their own growth. Not by leading, but by following their lead.
The Partnership Network (TPN) is a group of intermediary funders and/or capacity building organizations working to mobilize the community and economic development sectors in the Pittsburgh region. TPN creates the conditions for change by solving complex community challenges at the macro, meso, and micro levels of our communities. Partner organizations include Allegheny Conference, Grounded Strategies, Neighborhood Allies, NeighborWorks Western Pennsylvania, and New Sun Rising.
Collectively, TPN is focused on capacity building for the Community Development System to reach the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). TPN members, and as a collective group, work at both the organization and resident-level with a commitment to being people-centered in their work. In order to achieve this goal the members have agreed to the implement the following practices which are critical to how they will manage their intra-network relationships and expectations:
- Aligning resources
- Creating transparency
- Articulating shared outcomes
Read more from TPN members:
A mentoring workshop + pitch competition to ignite collective action
Do you have an idea for a collaborative project to improve your community? Get support and the opportunity to pitch for $30,000 in total grants during the one-day Ignite Vibrancy workshop. Participants receive guidance from mentors and peers to further develop their project. Awardees will also receive 12 months of ongoing support from New Sun Rising’s GIT-COL initiative (Growing Impact Through Data + Collaboration). NOTE: this workshop has already occurred
THE COLLECTIVE IMPACT PROJECTS
On September 7, 2019, over 30 community leaders representing 10 collective impact projects received support from 8 mentors to develop their collective impact projects and pitches. Special congrats to our pitch winners who will receive an additional year of capacity building from NSR:
- $15,000 to Coraopolis Community C.A.F.E (Coraopolis Alliance for Excellence), a central resource hub organized by Coraopolis Youth Creations, Coraopolis Community Foundation, and When She Thrives to increase access to services for community members of all ages help them move from surviving to thriving.
- $10,000 to SURGE Braddock, a pilot program developed by Greater Valley Community Services (GVCS) and Paradigm Global Innovations (PGI) to work with 15 – 20 community youth members partnering with local businesses to develop analytical business and design skills acknowledged by Braddock’s small business owners as high needs.
- $5,000 to C.H.A.M.P.S Northview Heights + Crafton (Change Agents Mentoring Peers in Sport), a partnership between Open Field, JFCS Pittsburgh, Somali Bantu Community Association of Pittsburgh, ARYSE, Youth Places, and the Bhutanese Community Association of Pittsburgh, which utilizes the global game of soccer to promote social cohesion, increase life skills education, and improve the health and well-being of young people in Northview Heights and Crafton Heights.
The facilitated activities with your mentor will focus on concept development following a Collective Impact Lean Canvas. Mentors will assist project leaders through the design and development of their idea, identifying key steps and necessary resources. Project leaders will leave more able to:
- Clearly explain the purpose and value of the project to the broader community and potential funders
- Develop and follow a plan to inclusively engage your community and potential funders
- Create agreements on how the group will operate as a collective
- Understand best practices for collective impact
- Explore the role of data and storytelling in their project
Each group will also have a chance to “pitch” to a panel of judges. Selected organizations will receive funds and capacity building support to further implement the project. In addition to economic impact, businesses and projects supported through the Vibrant Communities Framework prioritizes a triple bottom line, which includes people and planet. Collective Community Impact project winners will be reviewed considering these indicators:
CULTURE: Access to learning, capacity building, community development, engagement, connectivity, equality, and empowerment
SUSTAINABILITY: Responsible management and restoration of water, energy, food, air, and land resources
OPPORTUNITY: Developing equitable opportunities for entrepreneurs, employment, housing, and wealth building
About New Sun Rising
PGH Map Lab is a social enterprise that empowers neighborhoods, non-profits, and municipalities to make data-driven decisions through the creation of maps, apps, and storytelling tools. We are motivated by healthy, equitable, resilient communities. It is our belief that a holistic approach to community development starts with good planning, which requires the best data possible. Our interest is to help organizations and municipalities find, use, and analyze this data to make better informed decisions.
PGH Map Lab is dedicated to enhancing the GIS capacity of individuals and organizations for the benefit of the greater good. Our vision of the Map Lab is an accessible, hand on learning space to test out innovative geospatial and data technologies. We will connect social justice, art, environment, and land use planning through the use of maps. It is our hope that these unique applications will provide clear communication and positively impacting local communities.
Join New Sun Rising to Celebrate the People Building Vibrant Communities
New Sun Rising (NSR) is pleased to invite you to the 2020 Vibrancy Awards – live streamed from the Millvale Food + Energy Hub on June 20, 2020.
We understand that the past few weeks and months have been extremely difficult. Please join us for an evening of reflection, restoration, and celebration through the critical work being done by nonprofits and social enterprises throughout the region. The event will be hosted by Day Bracey, co-founder of Fresh Fest and Drinking Partners Podcast.
Virtual attendees will enjoy segments with the 2020 Impact Awardees in Culture (Brown Mammas), Sustainability (Triboro Ecodistrict), and Opportunity (South Hilltop Men’s Group), and wrap with a restorative DJ set and dance performance with virtual lounges. Make it a special night and invite some friends to enjoy a catered meal from Sprezzatura and special infused tea mixer from Tupelo Honey Teas (pre-order by 6/18 at 5PM)
Community Partner Awardees for Planning (Sharpsburg Community Vision Plan), Resources (Breathe Project), Connectivity (RiverWise), and Identity (Casop: A Requiem for Rice) will also be honored.
In this time of great pain we see the opportunity to rebuild something better. We ask that you join us and show support for the nonprofits and social enterprises who keep our communities sustainable and vibrant. Whether purchasing a ticket, making a donation, or joining as an event sponsor, NSR appreciates your commitment to helping us to strengthen the organizations and communities we serve.
Since 2005, NSR has been a champion for community-driven change by supporting nonprofits, businesses, and coalitions to create a better future for Southwestern Pennsylvanians. NSR works hard to provide accessible training, funding, and networking programs which are inclusive of underinvested populations and their neighborhoods.
Each year, over 170 innovative leaders benefit from NSR capacity building support. Since 2005, our Vibrancy Funds initiative has provide over $4.5 million in early stage funding and financing through fiscal sponsorship, grants, loans, and awards. Your contribution through the Vibrancy Awards will allow us to provide these training and funding programs at low or no cost.
The Vibrancy Awards are made possible through the generous support of:
2020 IMPACT AWARD SPONSORS
Learn More About Sponsorship Opportunities
A Peace of Mind is a therapeutic art, dance, and fitness studio located at 620 Wood St offering a variety of programming from hip hop aerobics and Zumba®, to yoga and Pilates, all at an affordable community space. APOM, Inc. will soon offer a 20-hour daycare service for children 6 weeks to 12 years of age. Their goal is to initiate collaborative community wellness with reasonable, relevant and overall enjoyable programming. Led by Felicia Robinson, APOM, Inc. encourages community involvement and active participation in our current and future endeavors.
Center for Civic Arts is led by Jody Guy with a vision to inspire civic engagement through the arts and humanities. They accomplish this by valuing citizens as the creators of culture, and stewards of their environment. CCA expand opportunities for people to connect through arts education, public arts and creative placemaking. Programs include socially engaged art programs, formal and informal arts education programs, public arts, and creative place-making. Civic Arts provides a third civic space catalyzed around the arts, as a place to develop independent thinking, and new perspectives and solutions for communities.
Dog-lover Khalil Stanback is building a diverse community for dog parents to unwind in a safe and comfortable environment with their 4-legged friend. Gizmo’s Dog Bar plans to launch in 2018 and plans pop-ups in Wilkinsburg throughout the year.