Allegheny County names 4 new ‘Live Well’ communities

A municipality, a school district, a nonprofit and an eatery are the latest entities to earn designation as “Allegheny Live Well” communities. On Jan. 29, the county announced Penn Hills, Avonworth School District, Grounded Strategies in Larimer and Azorean Café in Bloomfield are the newest additions to the program. The Live Well program, launched by Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald in 2014, now includes 62 municipalities, 48 restaurants, 28 workplaces and 16 school districts. Fitzgerald created the program to encourage…

How America’s dying rust belt town can transform into “smart cities” of the future

The death of the American manufacturing sector made ghost towns out of cities across America. In these challenging times, some cities were successful at reinventing themselves and went on to forge new economies and transform their once-sprawling, empty lands into something new, something remarkable. Year after year, Pittsburgh appears on best cities for jobs lists, thanks to its burgeoning tech industry after a desperate decline following the fall of American steel. Then there are other cities, like Detroit, that have…

Leadership Pittsburgh selects 21 nonprofit heads for fellowship

Leadership Pittsburgh, Inc. announced Tuesday the names of 21 participants for the organization's Lead Now Pittsburgh fellowship program, which will begin in January. According to a press release from the organization, the 21 participants were selected from nearly 80 nominees recommended by regional leaders. The group will take part in training to teach them leadership skills, collaboration, coaching and new organizational approaches. The program lasts several months and includes multi-day retreats in both Pittsburgh and Oakland, Calif. The latter is…

Can reviving a 120-year-old stream stop dangerous flooding on Pittsburgh’s Washington Boulevard?

Kimberly Griffith and two of her children were driving home after lunch when the rain started to pick up. The day — Aug. 19, 2011 — had already been a rainy one in Pittsburgh. But on that afternoon, another 2 inches of rain fell in one hour. Griffith pulled up to the bottom of Washington Boulevard in a storm with enough force to blow off 60-pound manhole covers. The street filled with 9 feet of rainwater and sewage, and Griffith’s minivan was submerged,…

Wigle Whiskey opens its barrelhouse for Christmas tree sale

Wigle Whiskey opened its doors this Saturday at its Barrelhouse and Whiskey Garden to sell Christmas trees for a fourth year in a row. All the proceeds of the sale went to local non-profits, Biggies Bullies Rescue and Grounded Strategies. Shoppers tagged one of the many trees lining the walls of the barrelhouse and volunteers wrapped and secured the trees atop cars. “It’s a neat way to pick out a tree,” said Michael Foglia, manager of product development and innovation…

The Aetna Foundation Awards More Than $2.4 Million in Grants to Help Improve Health in Communities Nationwide

The Aetna Foundation Awards More Than $2.4 Million in Grants to Help Improve Health in Communities Nationwide October 02, 2018 08:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--As part of its continued commitment to address social determinants of health (SDOH), the Aetna Foundation today announced it has awarded more than $2.4 million in grants to 25 nonprofits across the U.S. as part of its larger Building Healthy Communities initiative. The funding was announced today by Aetna Foundation President, Dr. Garth Graham,…

‘Grandma Bev’ transforms neighborhood with the help of Grounded Strategies

The kids in the Homewood neighborhood call her Grandma Bev. The parents call her that, too, as does just about everyone else who knows her. It was three years ago when Beverly Howell sat on her front porch watching the local kids run up and down the street, wondering to herself, “Why doesn’t somebody do something?” “Then I felt something kick me, saying, ‘What are you doing?’” Howell said of her epiphany. Beverly Howell has turned a vacant lot next…

Meet the Neighbors: Evaine K. Sing

 In Allegheny County, there are 54,000 vacant lots and Evaine K. Sing and her team are on a mission to transform each of those spaces, one by one, into meaningful community resources. Born in South Africa and raised in Maryland, Evaine studied Landscape Architecture at Virginia Tech and made her way to Pittsburgh in 2006 for a job opportunity with Burt Hill (now Stantec), designing resorts in Dubai. Always drawn to people, Evaine transitioned within the company from international work…

Walkabout: Nonprofit finds firm footing with a Grounded mission

Three Carnegie Mellon University grads started GTECH Strategies in 2007 as a pilot with a Sprout Fund grant of $20,000. They were finishing their last semester of grad school when they planted more than six acres at the old LTV Steel site in Hazelwood with hybrid poplar trees, switchgrass and sunflowers, all of which produce fuel. They continued planting sunflowers on parcel after parcel of contaminated land. Sunflowers are among several plants that take up contaminants without becoming tainted, and their oil can…

Nonprofit becomes Grounded, announces new projects

Gtech Strategies will now be known as Grounded, and with the name change, the organization is beginning new community initiatives. The 11-year-old nonprofit changed its name to better reflect its work and commitment to the communities it serves, according to a news release. “This new name better reflects who we are. We are grounded in people, communities and change for good,” said Evaine K. Sing, executive director of Grounded, in a prepared statement. “By grounding our work in the communities we’re…

Kicking off its 11th year, the former GTECH Strategies unveils new brand identity

Since 2007, GTECH Strategies has mobilized residents to transform vacant lots into vibrant green spaces and address environmental issues at the hyperlocal level — but it was one of Pittsburgh’s best-kept secrets. That’s because its name often obscured its mission. “We’re not a green technology company — that’s the number one misnomer,” says Executive Director Evaine Sing. She says supporters often struggled to effectively tell GTECH’s story because “they almost have to undo what comes to mind. By then, you’ve spent…

Library Feels Like ‘Home’ to New Director

Working at the Carnegie Library of McKeesport feels like home to Colleen Denne of Elizabeth Twp., who took over as director on Jan. 3. A graduate of the University of Pittsburgh with a master's degree in library science, Denne, who grew up in Liberty Borough, says she feels very connected to her new job. "My dad's family is from Duquesne, and my mom's family is from McKeesport," Denne says. "These are my roots. This is my home library. I don't think it…