Pittsburgh celebrates Black Philanthropy Month with $10 million initiative | Pittsburgh City Paper

Pittsburgh celebrates Black Philanthropy Month with $10 million initiative

A group of people looks at art in a softly lit room.
CP Photo: Jared Wickerham
Opening night at Women of Visions October 2021 exhibition
August was designated as Black Philanthropy Month in 2011, created by Jacqueline Bouvier Copeland and the Pan-African Women's Philanthropy Network to commemorate the United Nations International Year and Decade for People of African Descent. As part of this worldwide celebration, 16 arts and cultural organizations across Pittsburgh have been selected to receive a combined $10 million of support through a partnership between The Heinz Endowments and the Ford Foundation, all administered by the POISE Foundation.

The three-phase, multi-year effort, dubbed Pittsburgh's Cultural Treasures, seeks to shine a light on the contributions made by Black-led organizations in Pittsburgh and will roll out in phases. Phase one will be the naming and awarding of the 16 grant recipients, Phase two will see these organizations provided with organizational development and wellness support, and Phase three will "invite new thinking and planning for work beyond what has already been designed and implemented."

A press release says the initiative works to "encourage local residents to become better acquainted with their work and the contributions of Black organizations to the region’s cultural landscape."

Chosen organizations, both established and newer to the scene, received unrestricted grants ranging from $150,000 to $1 million, and have been invited to participate in additional programming to "further support and honor Black cultural institutions across the region."

"These 16 organizations, representing an expansive and growing cadre of Black-led cultural institutions throughout the region, were identified as leaders in producing work that centers and advances Black culture, thought, creative practice, and communities in southwestern Pennsylvania," it reads.

Awardees include a number of organizations representing theater, visual art, music, dance, and more. Some of the awarded organizations will celebrate Black Philanthropy Month with their own events. The Kelly Strayhorn Theater, for example, will, on Sat., Aug. 13, host a dance showcase from its Alloy School, and its regular Let's Move! Family Dance Party.

Other highlighted recipients include the August Wilson African American Cultural Center for its permanent exhibition August Wilson: The Writer’s Landscape, and PearlArts Studios, a dance-focused arts organization set to perform a showcase on Fri., Aug. 26 at Kelly Strayhorn.

Awards also went to 1Hood Media, BOOM Concepts, and Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Company, which will stage its latest play Jitney in the Hill District. Also receiving awards are the Afrika Yetu Arts Center, Afro American Music Institute, Balafon West African Dance Ensemble, Hill Dance Academy Theatre, Kente Arts Alliance, Legacy Arts Project, Manchester Bidwell Corporation, New Horizon Theater, Ujamaa Collective, and Women of Visions.

Eclipse at Carnegie Science Center
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Eclipse at Carnegie Science Center

By Mars Johnson