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 22 years of grantmaking, TRCF has awarded 508 grants to over 290 different organizations, giving away more than $1,060,000 for Change, not charity™.
TRCF’s 2013 Grantees
Beaver County Marcellus Awareness Committee
$4,000 – BCMAC used its grant to enhance its public awareness campaigns of the threats facing the Service Creek Watershed and the Ambridge Reservoir due to hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) for natural gas. They circulated petitions, held a renewable energy fair, and encouraged residents to become advocates for clean water.
$4,000 – CeaseFirePA used its grant to support three projects: 1.) Where Did the Gun Come From? (where illegal guns used in crimes originated); 2.) Courtwatch (encouraging public testimony at sentencing hearings); and 3.) Advocacy Education (training members of the public in effective advocacy strategies and grassroots action).
Consumer Health Coalition
$4,000 – The CHC served as the coordinator of several service agencies in Western Pennsylvania, uniting them to encourage the state government to opt-in for the Medicaid expansion part of the Affordable Care Act.
Global Solutions Pittsburgh
$4,000 – Global Solutions used its grant to support their monthly presentation series, Global Challenges and Local Impacts. This series covers topics such as environmental justice, war, poverty, LGBTQ rights, women’s rights, and more, delving into what’s going on around the globe and what can be done to combat injustice here at home.
Greene County Watershed Alliance
$3,000 – GCWA used its grant to implement the Progress and Coal Campaign. After baseline water quality data and review of longwall mining permits have been released, they will use this information to conduct public outreach campaigns and encourage citizen engagement.
Initiative for Transgender Leadership
$3,890 – ITL’s grant supported the creation of the Peer Mentorship Program. In this program, 6-10 trans* youth will mentor one another as they learn and practice mentoring skills, including communication, legal, wellness, and service/ philanthropy.
Mountain Watershed Association
$4,000 – MWA used its funds to host their second Grassroots Summit, to convene the many small, community-led organizations and community leaders who work for justice in the Marcellus Shale Fields.
The Persad Center
$4,000 – Persad used its grant to launch the Safe Schools Project, responding to the critical issue of LGBTQ youth bullying and suicide. The project focused on the root causes of bullying in an effort to prevent the continued victimization of youth.
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 grant funds will be used to support the 2013 production of “If You Only Knew Me,” a play examining issues around disability rights.
Western Pennsylvania Black Political Assembly
$4,000 – The WPA BPA used its grant to launch the Delegate Precinct Organizing Project. This developed a model for Black community organizing that recruited delegate members from predominantly Black wards in Allegheny County to develop, update, advocate, and fight for a social justice agenda.