Triboro Ecodistrict and South Hilltop Men’s Group/Hilltop Rising LLC will also be recognized at the live-streamed event on June 20.

By Alyse Horn Pyatt

Photo: The Brown Mamas started as a safe space for moms-of-color in Pittsburgh. Now, the groups online presence is growing, with hundreds of new members per month.

With many previously scheduled in-person events going virtual, the upcoming New Sun Rising (NSR) Vibrancy Awards on June 20 is taking a different approach to make the gathering more communal.

The event will be live streamed from 5-8 p.m. from the Millvale Food + Energy Hub to different watch parties to create a virtual real life variety show fundraiser. Ticket packages range from Pay What You Can to a Vibe Party Pack, and ticket holders will have a dine-at-home option so attendees can break bread together.

On the summer solstice, NSR will honor Northside resident Muffy Mendoza, founder of Brown Mamas, with the Vibrancy Award for Culture; Triboro Ecodistrict (Millvale, Etna, and Sharpsburg) with the Vibrancy Award for Sustainability; and South Hilltop Men’s Group/Hilltop Rising LLC with the Vibrancy Award for Opportunity. 

“When I learned that Brown Mamas was selected for the Vibrancy Award for Culture it really solidified the community that we’ve built,” Mendoza said. “Culture has actually been one of the keywords I’ve used consistently over the last seven years when describing what I believe Black mothers bring to their homes and communities. We, Black mothers, and all mothers, are culture creators. This award lets me know the work is doing what it is supposed to do.”

Each Vibrancy Awardee received $5,000 in unrestricted funds to be used to support their continual work and create stability within their communities as they cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Honorees were selected from a list of nominees by a committee of NSR staff and board. Having begun in 2019, the awards support the exceptional work of organizations evaluated by the criteria of NSR’s Vibrant Communities strategies. This year’s awardees were also chosen based upon their history of meeting critical needs of vulnerable populations.

“The three awardees are nothing short of community heroes. They fearlessly take on risk and put in the work, time and ingenuity to inspire lives and places that have faced marginalization. By relating their own lived experience and talents to their respective causes, they are champions and leaders of their communities that will have a lasting impact,” said Katie Grimm, Board of Directors Vice Chair of NSR.

Each year, over 170 innovative leaders benefit through the capacity-building support of NSR’s ignite workshops, launch incubators, and grow residency programs. NSR also makes critical, early-stage funding more accessible through our fiscal sponsorship, grant, loan, and award programs. Contributions through the Vibrancy Awards will allow us to provide these training and funding programs at low or no cost.

Event sponsors are BNY Mellon Foundation, Jack Buncher Foundation, and UPMC Center for Engagement & Inclusion. If you would like to sponsor this event or learn more about sponsorship opportunities, email

Related posts:

One Northside mini-grants fund community-driven projects

Northside placemakers find funding through mini-grant program

The long, hard road to equity

Northside Chronicle Donation