So, it’s pretty clear that a lot of people are willing to march, donate, volunteer and do something right now.

The momentum and energy are there, in Pittsburgh and elsewhere. For some things, that’s enough. For others . . . well, a little bit of funding goes a long way.

The Sprout Fund is awarding more than $120,000 to 25 local projects as part of its “100 Days of US” campaign, responding to the crucial, symbolic first 100 days’ agenda of the new Presidential administration. The 25 projects were chosen from more than 150 applications—all assembled within a few days after the election. Selected projects will each receive between $2,200 and $5,000.

The Sprout Fund, which has a lot of experience in small-scale grassroots philanthropy, selected a panel of experts and community activists to help pick the recipients. However, a lot of weight was given to public input—both through donations (250 total) and “likes” for each project on the website (more than 41,000 recorded).

“Working locally to support citizens to take action in their own communities is more important than ever.” says Cathy Lewis Long, founding executive director of the Sprout Fund, “If we want to build the type of city that’s inclusive and welcoming to all people, and that we all want to be a part of.”

$100,000 was invested from the Sprout Fund’s operating reserves. $23,000 came from CrowdRise donations, including $10,000 kicked in by the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh (URA).  According to the Sprout Fund, Mayor Bill Peduto personally made a commitment of $1,000 to the crowd-funding campaign.

Funded projects include:

  • Global Minds: “An after-school tutoring program that combats cultural intolerance through linking ESL and native English speaking students.”
  • Shattered Glass Podcast: “A podcast full of stories about extraordinary women breaking the glass ceiling.”
  • Off the Street and Into the Kitchen: “An internship program to help ex-offenders transition to employment in the restaurant industry.”
  • Transient: “A documentary sharing the fears, ideas and solutions of trans people in the first 100 days of the new presidential administration.”
  • That’s Us: “An organizing effort to increase voting participation by Allegheny County residents by establishing a network of grassroots change agents.”
  • Prototype Workshop Series: “A feminist maker space for breaking down gendered stereotypes through workshops in making, engineering, self-advocacy and more.”

The full list of funded projects and their video submissions are available at

Michael Machosky

Michael Machosky is a writer and journalist with 18 years of experience writing about everything from development news, food and film to art, travel, books and music. He lives in Greenfield with his wife,...