Nonprofits in the news: New leaders, child-designed playgrounds, and free furnaces | Pittsburgh City Paper

Nonprofits in the news: New leaders, child-designed playgrounds, and free furnaces

Welcome to a new Pittsburgh City Paper series aggregating as much of Pittsburgh’s nonprofit news as we can pack into a bi-weekly report. Read on this week for news about leadership changes, the return of annual programs, and recent accomplishments in the community.

412 Food Rescue
Founder of 412 Food Rescue and Food Rescue Hero, Leah Lizarondo, is working with the organization’s Board of Directors to find a successor.

After seven years at the helm, Lizarondo will step down as CEO of both organizations in spring 2023 but will stay involved after in a to-be-determined capacity.

“It has been a personal goal to show that we can utilize technology for good, for its highest use, to respond to our biggest challenges,” Lizarondo says in a press release. “The opportunity to realize the vision for Food Rescue Hero has been an unparalleled privilege.”

The Board of Directors is currently searching for the organization’s next leader who will continue to grow 412 Food Rescue and Food Rescue Hero’s path to 100 cities around the world by 2030. The organization’s board say they want the next leader to expand its reach to 100 cities around the world by 2030 and will hire a firm to lead the CEO search in the coming weeks.

412 Food Rescue was founded in 2015 and has become a global leader in food rescue innovations. Its Food Rescue Hero app has more than 34,000 registered users and is used in more than 25 cities in the U.S. and Canada.

Pittsburgh nonprofit Amachi will be bringing back its Amachi Hachi Pachi event on Nov. 2 at the Energy Innovation Center.

The event’s theme is “Connecting Pieces of the Puzzle,” and will include an announcement about a brand-new initiative. The event will feature live music, a silent disco, and other interactive experiences. Amachi will also honor pro-football player and Hall of Famer Franco Harris for his work with youth.

Amachi was founded 18 years ago to improve the lives of children and families impacted by incarceration. The nonprofit provides mentorship and family bonding programs to help the 8,500 Allegheny County children with incarcerated parents, in attempts to break the generational incarceration cycle by empowering young minds to overcome challenges.

Those interested in attending the event can purchase tickets and donate to the organization’s new initiative by buying a piece of the puzzle.

Heat for the Needy
TUDI Mechanical Systems will provide free furnaces to local families as a part of its annual Heat for the Needy program this winter.

Heat for the Needy is currently seeking nominations for low-income families and individuals in need of new heating systems. Nominations can be made by friends, family members, neighbors, or strangers online before Dec. 24. TUDI Mechanical Systems will select a slate of nominees from among the submissions to receive new furnaces.

For more than 20 years, Heat for the Needy has helped install more than 300 new heating systems for families throughout the region. Heat for the Needy is dedicated to helping those who have no heat or are living in unsafe conditions each winter. The program is supported by a large team of volunteers at TUDI Mechanical Systems, local suppliers, and business partners.

The Pennsylvania Municipal League & Kaboom!
Children at West Penn Park in Polish Hill celebrated the debut of a new kid-designed playground on Oct. 5, through a three-way a collaboration between the City of Pittsburgh, Kaboom!, and the Pennsylvania Municipal League.

The new play space was constructed by 200 volunteers and designed collaboratively by community members and children who presented drawings in August. The project also received support from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, The Grable Foundation, Duquesne Light, Highmark Health, and Allegheny Health Network.

Kaboom! is a national nonprofit committed to ending play space inequality, which has been caused by years of divestment in public play spaces, especially in communities of color. Since 1996, the organization has built and improved more than 17,000 play spaces, impacting almost 12 million children. Pennsylvania Municipal League’s mission is to strengthen, empower, and advocate for effective local government. The nonprofit does this by providing legislative advocacy, education, training, consulting, and group insurance trusts. and

Women and Girls Foundation
The Women and Girls Foundation names Camilla Rivera-Tinsley as the new CEO of the nonprofit.

Rivera-Tinsley is the former director of education for the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy. She has worked for the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education, and started two small environmental nonprofits focused on advocacy for people of color in the outdoors.

Rivera-Tinsley succeeds Heather Arnet, who led the organization for the last 20 years. Looking forward, the nonprofit pledges to focus on intersectional justice. Rivera-Tinsley will bring her knowledge of how intersectional identities impact social change to craft a new strategic plan for the organization.

These include broadening the nonprofit’s reach across the state and introducing nre ways to support individuals through microgrants. In 2023, the foundation will host multiple events for community members to meet Rivera-Tinsley and provide feedback on the organization's future.

The Homeless Children’s Education Fund
The Homeless Children’s Education Fund held a demonstration and press conference in Market Square on Oct. 4 to announce the start of Homeless Children’s Awareness Month.

More than 100 volunteers and community members turned out for the event. Public officials, like Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey, could also be seen among the crowd. Gainey declared Oct. 4 Homeless Children’s Awareness Day in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County Councilmember DeWitt Walton declared October as Homeless Children’s Awareness Month.

The organization also announced its first annual YOU CAN campaign to support nearly 3,000 youth who experience homelessness in Allegheny County. The goal is to raise money for programs, expand the donor base for the Homeless Children’s Education Fund, and advance all federal bills surrounding housing instability and education funding in schools.

The Homeless Children’s Education Fund mission is to advance the education of homeless children in Southwestern Pennsylvania. The organization will host several events throughout October and into November.

Teach Plus
Teach Plus staff and southwestern Pennsylvania K-12 advocates meet on Oct. 11 and 12 to kick off a new program aimed at improving the region’s teacher diversity.

The Equity Leadership Institute, a three-year program aims to improve teacher diversity throughout Allegheny County. Teach Plus will partner with public districts and cyber systems around the region to help teaching staff more accurately reflect the students they work with.

During the two-day event, held at the Sherwood Event Center, team members will evaluate their school district demographics to understand how to recruit and retain teachers of color.

Red Cross
The Red Cross responds to Hurricane Ian's devastation in Florida with help from over 30 Greater Pennsylvania volunteers.

Volunteers from Allegheny, Butler, Washington, and Westmoreland County have traveled to Florida, providing relief to those who were impacted by Hurricane Ian. The team, headed by Red Cross, are providing food, shelter, and medical support.

On top of the immediate devastation, the weather conditions have forced the cancellation of dozens of blood drives, which the organization is attempting to make up for with its own donor campaigns. Red supplies about 40% of the nation’s blood with its support for disaster victims. Additionally, the Red Cross is accepting monetary donations or new volunteers for the organization.

Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh
Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh has named Andrea Clark Smith as new board chair and appointed three new directors.

Former board chair Alan Trivilino passed the role onto Smith on July 1, which marked the Urban League’s 105th year of service. Smith is a senior legal official at regional healthcare giant UPMC. Smith has led diversity and inclusion efforts at UPMC and American Airlines and also serves as a board member for the Sarah Heinz House (a Boys and Girls Clubs of America affiliate), Literacy Pittsburgh, a nonprofit organization committed to improving adult literacy in the greater Pittsburgh area, and the Pittsburgh Public Theater. The new members for the organization are Bridgette N. Cofield, Yvette Henry, and Sally Wiggin.

The Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh was founded in 1918 and is currently the largest comprehensive social service and civil right organization in Southwestern Pennsylvania. The organization provides extra-curricular educational opportunities, health advocacy, housing counseling, hunger prevention services, and other programs.

Pennsylvania Resource Council
Pennsylvania Resource Council has moved the annual fundraising dinner completely online to align with the organization’s zero waste mission.

The organization's “zero waste non-event” eliminates the waste that typically would be generated by the hundreds of people who attending the dinner. Instead, the online event will focus on fundraising to support the organization and recognize its supporters digitally.

Since 2009, the Pennsylvania Resource Council has provided waste reduction techniques through its Zero Waste Pennsylvania Program for various businesses, residents, institutions, and special events in the Commonwealth. The organization also provides large-scale waste diversion, education, and watershed protection efforts. The online non-event can be viewed on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter starting on Oct. 10 and throughout the rest of the month.

Hands off Rafah Emergency Rally
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Hands off Rafah Emergency Rally

By Mars Johnson