Pittsburgh nonprofits receive $70K in grants focused on social equity | Social Justice | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Pittsburgh nonprofits receive $70K in grants focused on social equity

click to enlarge Pittsburgh nonprofits receive $70K in grants focused on social equity
Photo: Courtesy Sarah Heinz House
Children in the gym of the Sarah Heinz House
A national car rental company has set out to support nonprofits doing important work in their communities, including two such groups in Pittsburgh.

Enterprise, a St. Louis-based entity that owns and operates several major vehicle rental and travel brands, announced that it awarded $70,000 in grants to Strong Women Strong Girls Inc. and Sarah Heinz House Association. The money was split evenly between the two nonprofits, both of which work primarily with youth in Pittsburgh.

The grants are being awarded through the Enterprise Holdings Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Enterprise, and its inaugural ROAD Forward initiative. Launched November 2020, ROAD Forward (ROAD stands for Respect, Opportunity, Achievement, and Diversity) is described in a press release as awarding $55 million over five years to address what they consider to be three urgent areas: early childhood development, youth health and wellness, and career and college preparation.

Chosen nonprofits were nominated by locally based Enterprise representatives who saw them as “equipped to drive change in their communities,” according to the Enterprise Holdings Foundation website.

“A commitment to the communities where we operate has been fundamental to our company since its founding in 1957,” says Enterprise Holdings Foundation president Carolyn Kindle Betz. “ROAD Forward’s local grants will support the many outstanding organizations that are leading efforts to advance equity in their communities – and ultimately strengthen the areas where our employees live and work, one neighborhood at a time.”

With a legacy going back to the early-1900s, Sarah Heinz House offers a number of resources for kids and teens, including summer camps and after-school programs, as well as fitness classes for adults. The Sarah Heinz House website claims to “annually serve more than 1,000 youth who attend 90 different schools.”

Strong Women Strong Girls Inc. focuses on the needs of local women and girls, particularly those representing marginalized groups, with academic mentorship programs, professional development, and social activities. In one release, SWSG, which also has offices in Boston, claims that nearly half of girls they serve live below the poverty line in households earning less than $27,799 per year.

The majority of the $55 million ROAD funds will go to specific community nonprofits – besides Pittsburgh, groups in Baltimore, Los Angeles, Cleveland, and other cities also received grants – with $20 million being divvied up between four large nonprofit organizations committed to supporting young people in underserved communities. These include The Obama Foundation’s My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, UNCF, Girls Inc., and Parents as Teachers.

Overall, ROAD Forward grants will go to nearly 700 nonprofit organizations “addressing social and racial equity gaps facing youth and families in communities across the globe.”

“ROAD Forward demonstrates our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in our communities,” says Errin Braddock, Enterprise Holdings’ chief diversity officer. “This is a company-wide priority, and through this initiative, as well as efforts inside our own walls, we are doing the work that is necessary to help our communities advance lasting change.”