Skip to main content

Rivers of Steel Awards Seven Mini Grants

By April 11, 2023Press Room

Rivers of Steel Awards Seven Mini Grants

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


Homestead, PA (April 11, 2023)—Rivers of Steel recently awarded $60,000 to seven organizations, including nonprofits and local boroughs, 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:

Brownsville Borough, $5,000, to support the Fenwick Park development project, including hardscape installation and industrial heritage interpretation.

Fiberarts Guild of Pittsburgh, $3,000, for cultural heritage and creative expression workshops with refugees who have recently settled in the Pittsburgh area.

Grow Pittsburgh, $3,000, to support the Urban Farmers in Training and the Farm Apprenticeship programs, two workforce development initiatives that prioritize Black / Brown applicants.

Pennsylvania Trolley Museum, $7,500, for a visitor improvement / heritage tourism project in the Trolley Display Building, which includes installing heating to extend hours of operation into the winter months.

Pittsburgh Green Innovators, $8,500, to support the Patterns of Meaning project, including the historic preservation and archiving of industrial foundry patterns, which is paired with a workforce development initiative relating to the preservation of the objects and a carpentry apprenticeship program for Hill District residents.

Society to Preserve the Millvale Murals of Maxo Vanka, $10,000, to support the Gledaj! The Gaze of Maxo Vanka exhibition of Maxo Vanka’s works, including community engagement and education programming offered in partnership with Rivers of Steel and the LIGHT Education Initiative.

Washington County Historical Society, $23,000, for the Arcs of Freedom exhibit, a heritage tourism initiative that interprets the abolitionist movement and the Underground Railroad in southwestern Pennsylvania.

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