Residents of Pittsburgh's Bhutanese community talk between ESL and meditation classes. Photo by Brian Conway.

In its fourth round of funding, The Pittsburgh Foundation’s Small and Mighty program has announced grants totaling $371,000 for 23 local nonprofits.

Since its launch in 2016, the program has awarded a total of $1.25 million to a wide range of very small, community-based organizations helping underserved communities in the Pittsburgh area.

Grantees must have a budget at or below $600,000 and directly address the Foundation’s 100 Percent Pittsburgh strategies, which aim to strengthen the opportunities available to the 30% of the regional population living in or near poverty in our region. This includes young people in economically underserved communities, single women raising children and racial or ethnic groups disproportionately affected by poverty.

These nonprofits offer help with vital needs like physical and mental health services, food, shelter, child care and education.

“We have learned so much from our Small and Mighty grantees about how to leverage the wisdom of small, community-based nonprofits. These are smart, nimble organizations who know exactly what their communities need and who have accomplished extraordinary things with the funds granted to them,” said Pittsburgh Foundation President and CEO Lisa Schroeder.

Along with funding, the program offers grantees support through a series of “More Than Money” events and training sessions where they can learn more about grant writing and advocacy, and network with peers to develop their skills and make useful connections.

“The Small and Mighty program opens doors to philanthropy for small organizations that, despite their enormous value to the communities they serve, experience barriers when navigating traditional grantmaking. By offering grant-writing workshops, networking events with local funders and peer-learning opportunities in addition to financial support, we have been able to help our grantees sustain and deepen their service-delivery,” said Michelle McMurray, director of grantmaking for Children, Youth and Families, who helps facilitate the program.

More than a dozen of the nonprofits funded in this round are previous Small and Mighty grant recipients, including:

100 Black Men of Western PA, Inc.: $12,000. This organization offers mentoring, academic support, leadership development training, financial literacy and wellness programming for Black boys in grades 8 to 12. This funding will help expand its Collegiate 100 program, which connects Black male college students to professional mentors in their fields.

Foster Love Project: $20,000. This nonprofit, started by foster parents Andrew and Kelly Hughes, began by offering clothes and necessities to children arriving at new foster homes with few personal belongings. They’ve grown to include 300 volunteers who organize and distribute donations to local agencies and shelters. This grant will help grow their work further. 

Global Minds Initiative, Inc.: $20,000. Global Minds connects native English speaking students with students who are learning English as a second language through after-school tutoring and programming. Founded by Peyton Klein, a student at Taylor Allderdice High School, the program goes beyond language learning to foster positive social connections between students. This funding will help expand the organization’s student leadership training, as well as helping with individualized support and action plans for participants.

Hilltop Urban Farm: $15,000. Serving residents of 11 south Pittsburgh neighborhoods, this farm promotes food education and helps feed neighborhoods classified as food deserts — including St. Clair, where the farm is located. This grant will help grow Hilltop’s Youth Farm education program, which teaches teens about nutrition and agriculture.

SisTers PGH: $15,000. Founded in 2011, SisTers PGH offers housing assistance to transgender, non-binary and gender-nonconforming individuals living in Allegheny County. The nonprofit’s Home Habilitation Program currently serves six participants, helping with temporary housing using partnerships with vetted community members or hosts. These funds will support the cost of the space where the Home Habilitation program workshops are held.

Additional grantees in this round which had not previously received Small and Mighty funding previously include:

Bhutanese Community Association of Pittsburgh: $15,000. BCAP aims to ensure a high quality of life for all members of Pittsburgh’s Bhutanese community and to help them integrate successfully into American society. They also help Bhutanese refugees via year-round programming, such as literacy and civics classes, family programs and much more. This grant will fund programs for Bhutanese youth, women and girls, and older Bhutanese adults.

Garfield Community Farm: $15,000. Founded more than a decade ago by Open Door Presbyterian Church to provide the people of Garfield with affordable produce, the farm offers environmental education and a public green space. This funding will make the farm’s part-time production manager job a full-time position, which will increase access to fresh produce and educational programming.

When She Thrives: $12,000. When She Thrives offers human services and employment resources for single mothers, while supporting and always building on the strengths of local women. This funding will go toward creating a stable, central office for all of the nonprofit’s services. It will also fund an emergency small grants program for giving small, one-time grants of $50 to $250 to single mothers for crisis prevention, covering things like car repair, unexpected utility bills, housing, health care co-pays, and other barriers to obtaining and maintaining employment.

Melissa Rayworth

Kidsburgh Editor Melissa Rayworth specializes in stories about culture, gender, design and parenting. She has written for a variety of outlets in the U.S. and Asia, and is a frequent contributor to The Associated Press. Find a selection of her work at