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Rivers of Steel Awards Round 26 Mini-Grants

By March 10, 2022Press Room

Rivers of Steel Awards Eight Mini-Grants

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


Homestead, PA (March 10, 2022)—Rivers of Steel recently awarded $60,000 to eight nonprofit organizations within the eight-county region of southwestern Pennsylvania that the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area represents.

Rivers of Steel Heritage Area’s 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:

Battle of Homestead Foundation, $4,881, for an archival project that includes the acquisition, digital conservation, and publication of the organization’s digital and physical assets to support community outreach.

Brownsville Perennial Project, $12,000, for the creation of a public greenspace in downtown Brownsville that supports recreation, community gathering, and a strengthened connection to businesses, historic tourist sites, and riverfront amenities.

Dragon’s Den, $6,500, for the restoration of an architectural model of St. Mary Magdalene Church in Homestead, crafted in 1895 by architect Frederick Sauer; the project will support heritage conservation and tourism efforts by showcasing the structure that was destroyed by fire in 1936.

Great Allegheny Passage Conservancy, $5,129, for a storytelling campaign that will capture first-person narratives among stakeholders in the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area and near the Great Allegheny Passage and will encourage tourists to explore the region’s recreational assets.

Kelly Strayhorn Theater, $6,490, for equipment upgrades and backstage renovations that will enhance the Producing Partners program, which supports local producers of diverse productions.

Fort Pitt Museum / Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Historic Village, $5,000, for educational programming that is created in collaboration with federally recognized Indigenous American tribes historically present in western Pennsylvania to share their history and culture.

Society to Preserve the Millvale Murals of Maxo Vanka, $10,000, to complete conservation of the St. Francis and St. Clare murals, further refine the treatment plan for the next seven murals, and increase public accessibility to these nationally significant artworks.

West Overton Village and Museums, $10,000, for wayfinding and wayside signage that will allow for a more interactive and educational experience for guests.

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 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