By Alyse Horn-Pyatt

Northside neighbors with small-scale projects are able to utilize the One Northside Mini-Grant program to get their ideas off the ground, with the next application deadline being Jan. 30, 2020.

The program awards Northsiders $1,000 for their projects that demonstrate pledged support of their neighbors, help strengthen connections, increase accessibility to resources, or activate significant places in their community.

Cecelia Ware has been an advocate for the mini-grant program since she began applying for different projects several years ago, and believes that community members can feel “empowered” by engaging with their neighbors in this way.

Cecelia Ware started the Saving Our Sons and Daughters after-school program at Propel Northside with a mini-grant. Photo courtesy of Cecilia Ware

“If you’ve got something that you want to share with the community, why not apply for a mini-grant and go ahead and do it?” said Ware.

The mini-grants were first supervised by The Sprout Fund, and when the nonprofit’s sun set, New Sun Rising took over the process in 2018. Ware applied for funding with both organizations, initially because she “needed to do work in [her] community” and wanted to help kids that may be navigating difficult experiences.

Ware was awarded several mini-grants over the years, her first being the Saving Our Sons and Daughters after-school program at Propel Northside that focuses on violence prevention and coping skills for high school students. Her current mini-grant project is an extension of the first, and is a Teen Drop-in Center at 3577 McClure Ave. to ensure that students are supported beyond the school year. She said they are always looking for volunteers, and those who are interested can email

“We still focus on violence prevention, but also social justice and African American history as well as leadership skills,” said Ware. “We provide the kids with a free meal, and we have a food bank and clothing bank so they can take those things home if needed.”

For Marlo Jones, this was the first year she applied for a mini-grant. As a talented crocheter, Jones wanted to share her craft through The Crochet Group, where she visits seniors each week and teaches them the basics of crocheting to create a beginner scarf or hat.

Jones said the mini-grant has helped her cover the costs of supplies, so each participant can choose and take with them several different yarn colors and their own pair of needles. She also uses a projector to present the different crochet techniques in an easy-to-digest fashion. She said the experience has been great for those involved.

“This is a safe environment, and people can talk and share what’s been going on in their lives” said Jones. “ It’s therapeutic… to start from nothing and create something beautiful with your hands.”

Project applications submitted to New Sun Rising by Jan. 30, 2020 will receive a decision in Feb. 2020. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, and the next mini-grant deadline is March 31, 2020.

The preferred method of submitting applications it to use the online form accessible here. Print applications are accepted by postal mail, or via email attachment sent to Postal mail submissions should be addressed to New Sun Rising, Attn. One Northside Mini-Grant, P.O. Box 58005, Pittsburgh, PA 15209 and must be received by the grant deadline. All projects must be completed by Aug. 1, 2020.

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