Commodification of Kindness

We recently came across a BBC News video that shares the story of a UK-based concept of digital currency created in the city of Hull. The digital currency rewards people for doing good, or for doing volunteer work in their community. The rewards are non-monetary payments that allow volunteers to shop at participating stores and businesses for a discounted price. People who volunteer don’t usually get rewarded in this way. The creator of this digital currency in Hull calls this a commodification…

Read More

Grounded & Propel Andrew Street High School: Bringing Green Playces to Life.

This Spring, Grounded Strategies had the chance to revisit one of our Green Playces: Student Ambassador projects at a vacant lot owned by Propel Andrew Street High School in Homestead. Last fall, the Green Playces: Student Ambassador project worked weekly with Propel students to learn environmental justice principles and apply them to the vacant lot project.   On April 13, 3 Propel staff, 17 students, 6 alumni, and 2 Grounded staff picked up paint brushes, wheelbarrows and went to work. We…

Read More

Birthday Giving

Grounded staffer, Shequaya, had the opportunity to correspond with Sarah Roberson who recently decided to dedicate her birthday to us on Facebook and that campaign raised a whopping $540. People like Sarah who are willing to donate time and/or money truly help to sustain the work we do. How did you first come to contact with Grounded Strategies? I found Grounded back in 2015 when I was looking for local Pittsburgh nonprofit groups to organize volunteer groups for my employer. How…

Read More

Jump start your Spring with Land Lab!

Following up on our work in Larimer last year, Land Lab is back just in time for the 2018 growing season. Reinforcing our commitment to reinvigorating vacant lots throughout the city, Grounded will be hosting “Blight Doctors” for 1-on-1 discussions on vacant land issues, as well as offering participant selected content geared toward educating attendees on a variety of solutions to vacant land issues. Our expanded list of modules includes: Sustainable Planning 101: Designing Within a Realistic Scope - Content…

Read More

LandCare Women Making a Difference in Hazelwood

Strengthening communities through vacant lot maintenance Have you ever wondered who maintains all of the vacant lots in Pittsburgh? With over 27,000 vacant lots in just the city alone, it takes a coordinated effort to care for this vast amount of vacant land. The City of Pittsburgh owns approximately 26% of Pittsburgh’s vacant lots and the URA owns another 5.2%, or around 1,400 vacant lots. If you haven’t really noticed a vacant lot in your community, chances are that it…

Read More

Black History. American History. History.

Grounder Rebecca Mizikar recently sat down with three former residents of Lincoln Way in Clairton to understand the vibrant black community that thrived there. Before the bulldozers demolished the last of the vacant houses along the dead-end street, before the city and developers started to talk about new visions for this blank slate of land at the edge of the town, before the Bigfoot and alien legends came to explain the decline and vacancy of an entire street, Lincoln Way…

Read More

ReClaim Central Graduation

Last week the GTECH team gathered at the Hill House Blakey Program Center to celebrate the completion of the 2017 ReClaim Central Ambassador projects. The gathering served as a time to reflect on the accomplishments of the projects and to recognize the hard work of the 11 civically-minded Hill District residents who dedicated their time as ReClaim Central Ambassadors. Beginning last winter, the Ambassadors attended a series of six workshops and educational sessions. During these sessions, the Ambassadors completed designs for…

Read More

All About the Sun!

This week, many of us got a chance to view (through safe viewing glasses, we hope!) a solar eclipse. This rare absence of daytime light as the Moon passes over the Sun brought renewed attention to the star that always shines at the center of our solar system. On average, light travels from the sun to Earth in about 8 minutes and 19 seconds. That means that the light coming from the Sun right now probably won’t even make it…

Read More

Trees with Meaning

How a ReClaim Clairton Ambassador is adding a personal touch to the Montour Trail Meet Sue, one of the ReClaim Clairton Ambassadors participating in the 2016-2017 cohort. Sue loves her home in Clairton and was excited to have an opportunity to give back. Our partnership with Sue began last fall when GTECH was recruiting for the Ambassador Cohort. During her interview, we immediately appreciated Sue's passion for Clairton. She has a bubbly and outgoing personality with an infectious excitement for the…

Read More

In the Zone

How lovely. Vibrant colors, unique shapes, and the urban landscape all coming together to form a beautifully intricate design. But no, the imaginative image seen here is not an artist's rendition of Pittsburgh from above. Rather, it is a snapshot of Pittsburgh's Zoning Map: a legal document establishing how land inside the City boundaries can be used. In this masterpiece, each color represents not a feeling or emotion, but a distinct element of urban existence. Cities are buzzing hubs of activity…

Read More

PGH Mobile Toolbox Summer Update

The PGH Mobile Toolbox is 2 months old! We are so pleased with how well the resource has been rolling. To date, the trailer has accompanied 14 workdays, servicing over 120 volunteers, in 11 different communities. To celebrate this accomplishment, I have gathered a few of my favorite images from some of the workdays to highlight the great work being done in Pittsburgh and it's surrounding communities. Brookline Community Garden                 Forest Hills…

Read More

Get The Election Choices Here!

People have been talking a lot about politics recently. Maybe you’ve noticed. Maybe you’ve wanted to do something about it. Maybe you’ve been struggling to find a way to make a difference. Sometimes government seems big, opaque, and far away, but next week we have a chance to vote in an election that will undoubtedly have real, tangible, local results.  At GTECH, we work regularly with fantastic public officials (and aspiring public officials) throughout the county, from Mayors, to council people, to…

Read More