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, promotingChange, 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.
In its 21 years of grantmaking, TRCF has awarded 487 grants to over 280 different organizations, giving away more than $1,009,000 for Change, not charity™.
The following are TRCF’s 2010 grantees:
American Friends Service Committee PA Program
$3,000 – AFSC continued their Racial Equity through Human Rights program, which engages a group of 12-15 youth in grades 9-12 in training and discussions on human rights, racial justice, and social justice movements. Training is also given in listening, dialogue, and peace-building. The group will use curriculum they developed last year, and will design their own locally-based project to address racial injustice.
Dreams of Hope
$4,000 – DOH used its grant to support their Summer Arts Activist Camp (QAMP!), which brought together LGBTQ and allied youth for arts and educational workshops, including drumming, singing, spoken word, improvisation, and human rights history.
Friends of the CLP-Allegheny
$4,000 – With this grant, the Friends of the CLP-Allegheny established a collection of LGBTQ books and materials at the library, and created programming to reach out to non-LGBTQ audiences to promote the new section.
Hazelwood Urban Gardens
$4,000 – HUGS was established in 2008 to address littered and vandalized vacant lots in the Hazelwood area of Pittsburgh. This grant allowed them to train six high-school youth to be agents of community change, by teaching them gardening, environmental stewardship, and civic engagement.
The Hoyt Institute of Fine Arts
$4,000 – This grant allowed this Lawrence County Institute to reintroduce their After School Arts Program. 4th-6th graders in New Castle now can learn the principles of “green” arts – recycled architecture, art projects using found items, and using natural materials to create pottery, paintings, and fabric art.
Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s Safe Zone Project
$4,000 – IUP’s Safe Zone Project used its grant to develop a transgender training program for the university. It includes recording 15-20 vignettes focusing on LGBT issues and experiences of students, and print and digital media resources.
Mountain Watershed Association—Fayette County
$4,000 – MWA’s Marcellus Citizen Stewardship Project provides citizens with tools and knowledge to responsibly monitor Marcellus shale development, so they can aid in community and environmental protection.
New Voices Pittsburgh: Women of Color for Reproductive Justice
$4,000 – NVP is the only human rights and social change organization for, led by, and about women of color in the Pittsburgh area. Their grant, used for operating support, allowed them to continue building young and mature women of color as leaders and advocates for human rights through programs such as Women of Color HERstory Month, Raising Women’s Voices, the LGBTQ Women of Color Reproductive Justice Film Series, and the SistahSpeak! Youth Project.
Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians and Gays of Butler County
$3,826 – This new PFLAG chapter is receiving support to conduct National Coming Out Day activities, including a media campaign, screening of the film Gender Redesigner, and panels of speakers to discuss the issues brought up in the film.
The Persad Center
$4,000 – Persad used its grant to support community organizing work in Beaver and Armstrong counties, focusing on building allies and support for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning/queer (LGBTQ) residents.
The Real Talk Performers
$4,000 – RTP is an educational drama group of teens and youth in Washington County that addresses topics of social justice and creates original drama. Their current season includes productions such as Diary of a Teen Label (exploring race, class, and sexual orientation), Unheard Voices (LGBTQ youth), and Real Talk about Fairy Tales.
Thomas Merton Center: Building Sisterhood to Transcend Racism
$4,000 – BSTR is an oral history and multimedia project featuring the collection of stories of 15 women (10 African American, 5 Caucasian), who created strategic alliances and collaborations to fight against racism and sexism in the Pittsburgh region, and the women’s movement both locally and nationally.