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$1.5 Million Grant to Expand YMCA’s Reach

The YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh has received a $1.5 million grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation.

The grant will enable the organization to offer increased services at its five urban branches: Hazelwood, Hill District, Hilltop, Homewood-Brushton and McKeesport.

Rig Riggins, president and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh, said the grant bolsters existing initiatives such as Urban Gardens, which provide fresh produce in areas that lack a grocery store, and the Broadband Technology Opportunity Program (BTOP), which helps participants increase their computer skills and access online resources such as employment opportunities or health information.

“The overriding objective we have with Y’s participating in communities is to strengthen those communities,” Riggins said. “And I don’t think you can do it by just a singular program. So having the matrix of programs that all work together to support families and youth in those communities is really essential.”

Riggins said the grant, to be used over the next two years, will allow urban branches to realize the organization’s three core missions of healthy living, youth development and social responsibility.

“This grant will ensure we address all three in a really coordinated and aggressive fashion,” he said.

In addition to supporting existing programs, the grant will be used to expand the scholarship program, ensuring that regardless of income, families can access the services the YMCA offers. It will also provide funds to expand the aquatics program.

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