Grounded Statement on Racial Violence

Grounded works to promote equitable access to quality greenspace within marginalized communities. We acknowledge that our work is not separate from the larger concerns of racial violence, stigmatization, and oppression. The context for our work, and the communities we work alongside, emerges from a long history of racial segregation, targeted divestment, redlining, and disenfranchisement of land from Black, Indigenous, and other communities of color. We envision a region of thriving communities working together to sustain equitable change. The baseline for…

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Bill 299_Press Release

Pittsburgh City Council CityFarms Project Resolution 2020-0299 Recommitted by City Council   Pittsburgh, PA:  April 28, 2020, Pittsburgh City Council recommitted Resolution 2020-0299. This bill would have authorized the Mayor and the Director of the Department of Public Works to enter into a Project Cooperation Agreement or Professional Services Agreements with Grounded Strategies for the purposes of implementing a CityFarms pilot project on city-owned vacant land. The resolution is expected to be updated to include an RFP process. Grounded Strategies,…

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Krysty’s Goodbye

Though my time with Grounded has unfortunately been cut short due to COVID-19, I will be forever grateful for this irreplaceable experience. Social work is a demanding field. It can often feel like an endless run on a treadmill, unsure whether to step off or to keep going in pursuit of that slight chance that you reach the carrot at the end of the stick. That carrot, in the context of social work, is the knowledge that someone’s circumstances have…

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Community Visioning Appeal

The spirit of Hazelwood can be found in its community of multi-generational residents, many of whom put down roots during the bustling era of the steel industry. Although the steel mills have closed and families have migrated due to economic collapse, Jourdan Hicks (she/her/they), a life-long resident of Hazelwood, foresees the community is “on the precipice of a new day.” The uninhabited lots left behind, legacies of a changing economy, represent plots of untapped potential. In partnership with Grounded, Jourdan…

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RVP Reflection Series: What did Masoud see?

Throughout my experience at the Reclaiming Vacant Properties (RVP) conference in Atlanta this year, I encountered a storm of new, fresh, and different ideas about how to address many of the concerns generated by cycles of disinvestment within 'rust belt' cities. Beyond these techniques though, I think the far more valuable treasure gleaned at this event comes in the form of contacts and relationships with other folks performing similar work in parallel with Grounded across this country. Their insights, challenges,…

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Brittany’s Goodbye

As my time at Grounded comes to an end I have found myself reflecting on my experience here. In May when I joined the Grounded team I was excited about the opportunity to be an intern, but I was also unsure- specifically of my abilities and knowledge in marketing. I know, it sounds crazy. I have spent the last four years studying and obtaining a degree in marketing, but I was not confident in my knowledge of the subject. As…

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Kathy’s Farewell

In my ten weeks at Grounded Strategies, I have learned several important things and gone through many valuable experiences. Even my perception of what a job entails has changed. Interning at a non-profit has shown me how passionate a group of people can be in the office. This not only influenced the office atmosphere but also increased my motivation. My time at Grounded has made me a lot less afraid of what’s to come after college and incredibly excited to…

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Interim ED Statement

Dear Pittsburgh, Over the past four weeks, I have had the opportunity to intently and carefully reflect on the very recent and significantly consequential leadership transition here at Grounded Strategies.  To say the least, this introspective endeavor has included a deep consideration of the role I have been tasked to play as the appointed Interim Executive Director of the organization. From this context of observation and mindfulness, I would like to directly address our partnering communities, funders, friends, and supporters…

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From the Board of Directors

Greetings Grounded Community, Happy June and thank you to all those who joined us for a spectacular Geared up and Grounded bike ride this last weekend. With this turn of season - I write to inform you that as of June 1st, 2019, Evaine K. Sing has departed her role at Grounded Strategies. It is always hard to say goodbye to a long-term, valued employee but we do so with a great appreciation of all her contributions as part of…

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A Vacant Lot… and so much more

At the corner of Estella Avenue and Climax Street in Beltzhoover, there sits a vacant lot. In 2011, a group called Creative Visions decided to take some action and proceeded to clear the lot, create a few garden beds and plant some flowers. Already a significant improvement, that is not where this story ends. Enter Ms. Natalie Thomas, a self-proclaimed “nebby neighbor,” who happens to live just across Estella with a great view of the lot. She wanted more.   In…

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Democratic Vacant Land Processes

In its utopic form, democracy is facilitated through widely dispersed power. Widely dispersed power allows for the fair and equitable negotiation of sometimes conflicting interests. Through negotiation, people are able to find positions of true (rather than coerced) compromise. This form of democracy is only possible through community organizing and engagement. The combination of organizing and engagement is instrumental to democracy’s foundational need for fair and equitable representation. Through our Hill District program, Reclaim Central 2.0, we are attempting to…

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ReClaim Central 2.0: Update

In the winter of 2016-17, Grounded recruited a dozen Central Hill District residents, called Ambassadors, to lead the movement for reclaiming vacant lots. In the spring of 2017, the Ambassadors began work on vacant lots around the Hill District and in total created 5 new community spaces for residents to utilize. Fast forward to fall 2018, after a year of engaging residents on the sites and gathering input about if the spaces were welcomed and accepted we were asked to come…

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