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15 Years of Our “Building Pride, Building Character” EITC Program

This year, our “Building Pride, Building Character” program is being offered in remote and virtual formats. This program teaches Pittsburgh Public School students about Pittsburgh’s history and architecture, and the people who work to improve our communities.

This spring, our fifteenth year of place-based education programs with Pittsburgh Public School students continues, with the creation of videos so this popular program can be experienced virtually. “We are also arranging virtual discussions with City Council representatives, working with SLB Radio Productions to record neighborhood stories written by students, and providing a series of PDFs based on our Career Awareness posters, and working with SLB Radio Productions to record stories written by students,” said Education Advisor Louise Sturgess.

Click here to hear third-grade students from Roosevelt PreK-5 share their neighborhood stories on SLB Radio.

PHLF released its first educational video on February 15 to a group of fifth-grade teachers in the Pittsburgh Public Schools. The 26-minute video, “The Bigham House on Mt. Washington: A Pittsburgh Connection to the Underground Railroad,” includes a walk through the woods and a tour of the mansion built in 1849 by abolitionist Thomas Bigham. Architect David Vater, a resident of Chatham Village, joined Louise Sturgess in narrating the video, and Chatham Village’s Board of Directors gave special permission so filming could take place inside the Bigham House. After watching the video, students from Pittsburgh Whittier completed writing prompts describing times in their lives when they felt free, and students from Pittsburgh Minadeo discussed how the video reinforced some of the experiences they had read about in the book, “The Road to Freedom.”

On February 23, PHLF facilitated a virtual conversation between Ms. Dulak’s third-grade students from Pittsburgh Roosevelt and Blake Plavchak, Chief of Staff for Councilman Anthony Coghill. Mr. Plavchak listened attentively to the students as they shared their ideas about what needs to be improved in Carrick and what is wonderful about their neighborhood. He told the students they were “completely accurate” in the concerns and attributes they noted, and encouraged them to keep talking with their elected officials. He appreciated how much they cared about their neighborhood and encouraged them to stay involved.

This program is made possible through the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development’s Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program. We are grateful to Dollar Bank for contributing recently and to seven corporate donors who contributed between November and December 2020. Donations from the following are underwriting our “Building Pride, Building Character” virtual programming with the Pittsburgh Public Schools through mid-June:


  • First National Bank of Pennsylvania


  • The Buncher Company
  • Dollar Bank
  • PNC Bank


  • Frank B. Fuhrer Wholesale Company
  • Hefren-Tillotson, Inc.
  • MaherDuessel, CPA
  • Pickands Mather & Company

This program also receives foundation support from the:

  • McSwigan Family Foundation Fund of The Pittsburgh Foundation.
Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation

100 West Station Square Drive, Suite 450

Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Phone: 412-471-5808  |  Fax: 412-471-1633