Three Rivers Community Foundation (TRCF) was formed in 1989 by a group of community activists who created a new kind of philanthropy in southwestern Pennsylvania. Their goal was to invest in activist, grassroots organizations working to bridge divisions in society. These divisions centered on issues of race, economic status, gender, sexual identity, and disability. The founders embraced the philosophy that the best way to bring about social justice is by supporting community-based organizations that are working “on the ground floor” of change. TRCF continues to embrace this philosophy, promoting Change, not charity™ by:
- Funding activism among people and groups who might otherwise not have their voices heard.
- Focusing on groups that may not be able to attract support from sources because they are too small, too new, or too controversial.
- Helping to develop new leadership in the region along with deeper and broader participation in the democratic process by all citizens.
- Offering technical assistance and networking opportunities to grassroots groups through grantwriting workshops and outreach.
The following are TRCF’s 2010 grantees:
American Friends Service Committee PA Program
$3,000 – AFSC launched the first stage of their Racial Equity through Human Rights program, which will engage a group of between 10-15 youth in grades 9-12 in training and discussions on human rights, racial justice, and social justice movements. Training will also be given in listening, dialogue, and peace-building. The group will use their new-found knowledge to design a curriculum to address racial injustices.
Butler County PFLAG
$1,300 – This new local chapter of PFLAG (Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians & Gays) began in the fall of 2009. Funds were used to hold a planning retreat for leadership and chapter members, to strategize on how best to operate.
Consumer Health Coalition
$4,000 – The CHC held a cross-disability awareness conference, with breakout sessions on health, advocacy, employment, transitions, and the ADA. Participants were given the opportunity to learn both from their peers and industry experts.
Garfield Community Farm
$4,000 – The Farm began a pilot CSA (community-supported agriculture) project with TRCF funds. This provides low-cost, locally-grown fresh vegetables and fruit to the residents of the Garfield neighborhood, and employed neighborhood youth as the interns supervising the project.
Gay & Lesbian Community Center of Pittsburgh
$4,000 – The GLCC noted an increase in the number of aging people who identify as LGBT, and decided to conduct an Aging Study to address any problems and seize any opportunities that will be seen from this emerging social issue.
Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) Pittsburgh
$3,730 – GLSEN Pittsburgh hosted the second annual Unified for Youth Conference (U4Y), using their grant to expand the programming to include parents of LGBTQ youth, and offering Act 48 continuing education credits for teachers who attend.
Islamic Center of Pittsburgh
$4,000 – The Islamic Center, working in conjunction with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, used funds to develop a youth-led community project of creating a 15-minute video. This video aimed at conquering the social biases surrounding Muslim Americans, and creating positive self-images for Muslim youth.
Let Our Voices Be Heard
$4,000 – LOVBH is a cross-disability grassroots advocacy project, housed under Mental Health America – Allegheny County. They make certain that people who use disability services are at the table to shape public policy, in addition to ensuring that democracy is available to all. Their funds were used to implement a voter engagement project, aiming to increase voter and civic participation among members of the disability community.
Pennsylvanians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty
$4,000 – By partnering with the Clarence Darrow Foundation, PADP used their grant to bring a unique and inspirational theater and education project to the Pittsburgh community. The play integrated arts with community organizing to help attract, education, and recruit new members to the anti-death penalty movement.
Three Rivers Earth Force
$4,000 – TREF used a grant to support the engagement of 5th to 8th grade youth as the “eyes and minds,” as well as the “hands and feet,” of environmental change in Wilkinsburg. The students embarked on a youth-led Community Action and Problem Solving process, intended to change community policies and practices for the better when it came to environmental justice.
Special Opportunity Grants
Pittsburgh Dragon Boat Festival
$500 – Funds were used to expand the evaluation program of this event, to assist in its plans to attract a more diverse audience.
Pittsburgh Lesbian & Gay Film Society
$500 – Funds helped to support a retrospective weekend film festival, celebrating the organization’s 25th Anniversary and 25 years of progress for LGBT rights.
In its 20 years of grantmaking, TRCF has awarded 455 grants to over 260 different organizations, giving away more than $900,000 for Change, not charity™.