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Rivers of Steel Awards Eleven Mini Grants

By April 17, 2024Press Room

Rivers of Steel Awards Eleven Mini Grants

Funding for local nonprofits provides $60,000 for heritage tourism,
community development, and placemaking initiatives


Homestead, PA (April 17, 2024)—Rivers of Steel recently awarded $60,000 to eleven nonprofits and community organizations within the eight-county region of southwestern Pennsylvania that the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area represents.

The Mini-Grant program assists heritage-related sites and organizations as well as municipalities within the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area to develop new and innovative programs, partnerships, exhibits, tours, and other initiatives.

Funded projects support heritage tourism, enhance preservation efforts, involve the stewardship of natural resources, encourage outdoor recreation, and include collaborative partnerships. Through these efforts, Rivers of Steel seeks to identify, conserve, promote, and interpret the industrial and cultural heritage that defines southwestern Pennsylvania.

Mini-Grants were awarded to:

Allegheny River Boulevard Preservation Association—$9,000 to support the development of a management plan for Allegheny River Boulevard that will inform the communities of Pittsburgh, Penn Hills, Verona, and Oakmont about how to best preserve, rehabilitate, and improve the aesthetic and historical qualities of this scenic byway, which was built during the City Beautiful Movement in the 1930s.

Battle of Homestead Foundation—$5,000 for the digitization of the organization’s archive, including safe storage, conservation, arrangement, box-level descriptions, and the online publication of the digitized material with the Pennsylvania Power Library system.

Braddock’s Battlefield History Center—$2,214 for the production tourism rack cards that will be distributed at PA Welcome Centers and French & Indian War / mid-eighteenth-century historical sites.

Erie to Pittsburgh Trail Alliance—$3,000 for the redesign of a detailed trail guide and map highlighting designated trailheads, points of interest, and safety, etiquette, and other trail information for riders on the emerging 270-mile trail system.

Filipino American Association of Pittsburgh—$10,000 for the creation of an outdoor mural on the Philippine Center that showcases the diaspora of the Asian immigrant population that celebrates the cultural tapestry of the region while creating a dynamic landmark.

Fort Ligonier Association—$2,525 for the creation of six authentic historical outfits for interpreters that expand representation, including three Virginia regiment soldiers, two female camp followers, and a French marine.

Friends of the Neill Log House—$4,000 to plan and install a period garden on the property of the Neill Log House, the oldest domestic log structure in Pittsburgh, and to develop written materials, K – 12 curriculum content, docent scripts, and multimedia interactions for audiences to understand the life and times of the Neill family.

Friends of the Riverfront—$5,000 for improvements and repairs to the signage along the Three Rivers Heritage & Water Trail, including engaging a consultant to assist in creating more inclusive and culturally responsive interpretation, along with the redesign and production of trail maps.

Kelly Strayhorn Theater—$9,261 for the production upgrades to the Gallery KST & Lounge, including speakers, lighting, risers, etc., that will expand and attract new production partners and audiences.

Neville House Associates—$5,000 for the historic restoration and preservation of the covered porch at Woodville, the John & Presley Neville home, one of southwestern Pennsylvania’s oldest surviving homes and the site of a pivotal skirmish in the infamous Whiskey Rebellion of the 1790s.

Society to Preserve the Millvale Murals of Maxo Vanka—$5,000 to support the expansion of the Gledaj! Sketching Sessions, workshops led by local artists, and a culminating exhibition of works created of iconic locations in Pittsburgh, inspired by the work of Maxo Vanka.

The Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area is one of twelve supported by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR). Funding is provided via DCNR’s Community Conservation Partnerships Program and the Environmental Stewardship Fund to Rivers of Steel, which administers the Mini-Grant program.

As part of its ongoing diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion efforts, Rivers of Steel gave special consideration to black- or minority-led organizations and organizations that serve a majority BIPOC (black, indigenous, people of color) audience and communities. Rivers of Steel is committed to working with organizations who share our long-held belief in diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion and is committed to fighting systemic racism and discrimination against people of color.

About Rivers of Steel

Founded on the principles of heritage development, community partnership, and a reverence for the region’s natural and shared resources, Rivers of Steel strengthens the economic and cultural fabric of western Pennsylvania by fostering dynamic initiatives and transformative experiences.

Rivers of Steel showcases the artistry and innovation of our region’s industrial and cultural heritage through its historical and 21st-century attractions―offering unique experiences via tours, workshops, exhibitions, festivals, and more. Behind the scenes, Rivers of Steel supports economic revitalization—working at the grassroots level to deepen community partnerships, promote heritage tourism, and preserve local recreational and cultural resources for future generations.

About the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area

This eight-county region is one of 62 National Heritage Areas designated by the U.S. Congress and one of 12 State Heritage Areas. A National Heritage Area is a place of national significance to America. For Rivers of Steel, Congress recognized the industrial and cultural heritage of southwestern Pennsylvania. Through a public-private partnership with the National Park Service and the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Rivers of Steel supports heritage conservation, heritage tourism, and outdoor recreation as a means to foster economic redevelopment and enhance cultural engagement.

Contact Carly McCoy at 412.464.4020, ext. 243 or by emailing

Rivers of Steel   |   The Bost Building, 623 East Eighth Ave, Homestead PA 15120