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Rivers of Steel Awards Mini-Grants

By February 3, 2021December 13th, 2021Press Room

Rivers of Steel Awards Nine Mini-Grants

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


Homestead, PA (February 3, 2021)—Rivers of Steel recently awarded $60,000 to nine nonprofit organizations within the eight-county region of southwestern Pennsylvania that the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area represents.

The Mini-Grants will be used to develop new and innovative programs, partnerships, exhibits, tours, and other initiatives that are consistent with Rivers of Steel’s mission and that increase heritage tourism, enhance preservation efforts, involve the stewardship of natural resources, encourage outdoor recreation and / or include collaborative partnerships.

Mini-Grants were award to:

Ambridge Historic District Economic Development Corporation, $5,210, for the stabilization of the Bicentennial House building located at 284 13th Street in the Ambridge Historic District and for preliminary investigations into the needs for preservation and rehabilitation.

Center of Life, $12,000, for installation of interactive art objects that function as urban furniture, planters for nascent local species, and instigators of conversation that will be installed at a tree nursery on a site at Hazelwood Green, before transitioning into permanent residence within the Hazelwood community.

Donora Historical Society, $1,000, for the development of glass plate negatives from the Bruce Dreisbach collection and other archival photo and film related projects.

Historic Harmony, $4,000, for the completion of the Visitors Information Cabin, by building out the interior as an interpretive exhibit space to demonstrate how early settlers worked.

Josh Gibson Foundation, $10,000, for the creation of the Josh Gibson Virtual Tour, an interactive tour that will highlight the accomplishments, triumphs, and barriers Josh Gibson experienced in his life.

Kelly Strayhorn Theater, $4,000, for the build out of the Gallery KST & Lounge, which will activate the historic lobby space for community events, while enhancing the patron experience and supporting creatives to achieve artistic fulfillment, financial resilience, and social impact.

Steel Valley Trail Council, $3,790, for the research, creation, and installation of interpretive signage along the trail that highlights the historical importance of Braddock’s Expedition, the Flyover Trail Bridges, the Thompson Run Waterfalls, and the industrial history of the area traversed.

Pennsylvania Trolley Museum, $12,000, for the design, fabrication, and installation of the Rolling Melting Pot exhibit, an interactive educational tool that will allow students and other visitors to understand the impact that immigration had on trolleys, and that trolleys had on immigration.

Westmoreland Museum of American Art, $8,000, to support Stephen Towns: Declaration and Resistance, a solo exhibition of artist Stephen Towns, a Black painter and fiber artist whose work explores how American history influences contemporary society.

Rivers of Steel works to conserve the industrial and cultural heritage that defines southwestern Pennsylvania. Through the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area, Rivers of Steel champions the region’s natural, cultural, educational, recreational and industrial resources as key components for preserving the region’s heritage, focusing on developing a sense of place, as well as contributing to the economic vibrancy of the region’s citizens and communities.

While the funding is provided via DCNR’s Community Conservation Partnerships Program and the Environmental Stewardship Fund for these Mini-Grants, Rivers of Steel Heritage Corporation applies for, administers, and accounts for the distribution of the grants throughout the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area. Both nonprofits and municipalities are eligible for grant awards.

This year, 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 are 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 55 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


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