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Allegheny Foundation grants $100,000 to Carnegie library

By Bill Zlatos
Sunday, March 30, 2008

A $100,000 gift from the Allegheny Foundation will help restore the 107-year-old Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall as the linchpin of economic development in Carnegie, officials said.
It increases money the library has raised to more than $5 million toward a goal of $8.6 million.

The money is among grants to organizations that the Allegheny Foundation announced Friday to improve the arts, human services, education and economic development in Pennsylvania.

“We’re bringing people from all over to Carnegie,” said Maggie Forbes, executive director of the library and music hall. “They eat here. They buy gas here. They park on Main Street. They get to know the town.”

Forbes said the transformation of the building symbolizes that of the town. Carnegie was struck by a flood in 2004 and a fire a year later that destroyed three century-old buildings on Main Street.
“If we can do it, anybody can do it,” she said. “We were down and out for the count, and we’re working miracles here.”

The foundation gave $100,000 to Gilda’s Club, a nonprofit in the Strip District that offers lectures, workshops, support groups and social events for 500 members touched by cancer.

“We are an organization that receives no kind of reimbursement,” said Carol Lennon, executive director of the club. “These kinds of gifts enable us to continue to offer free programs at Gilda’s Club for all members.”

Another beneficiary of the foundation’s generosity is the Extra Mile Education Foundation Inc. It received $250,000 for scholarships at four schools — Holy Rosary in Homewood, St. Agnes in Oakland, St. Benedict the Moor in the Hill District and St. James in Wilkinsburg. The program targets students who are black and nonCatholic.

“This program helps kids succeed in school and in life,” said Ambrose Murray, executive director of Extra Mile. “It gives them a sense of values. It gives them a sense of themselves.”

The Downtown-based foundation, chaired by Richard M. Scaife, owner of the Tribune-Review, also made grants to these organizations:

• $250,000 to the Westmoreland County Historical Society for construction of the History Education Center at Hanna’s Town, the first seat of Westmoreland County.

• $250,000 to Imani Christian Academy, an East Hills school that serves 180 students in grades K-12;

• $150,000 to Manchester Bidwell Corp. for its daily operations and a coordinator of volunteers and alumni;

• $100,000 to The Pittsburgh Project in the North Side for a warehouse that will help provide free home repairs for senior citizens and people with disabilities;

• $100,000 for operation of Hill House Association, a provider of health, human services and education in the Hill District;

• $100,000 to Brandywine Conservancy in Chadds Ford to buy unprotected land within the Meetinghouse Road Corridor of the Brandywine Battlefield National Historic Landmark;

• $75,000 to the Salvation Army for proper management and controls to better serve residents of 28 counties;

• $50,000 to Family Guidance in Sewickley for a mentoring program;

• $50,000 to Family House in Shadyside, to provide living arrangements for families of patients awaiting medical care at local hospitals;

• $50,000 to the Ligonier Valley Rail Road Association to restore the interior of Darlington Station;

• $25,000 to Goodwill Industries of Pittsburgh in the South Side to help people with special needs overcome employment barriers; and

• $25,000 to Ligonier Hose Company No. 1 for a fire truck.

Grants were made to these organizations located outside Pennsylvania:

• $250,000 to the Archdiocese of Washington, Washington, D.C., to improve urban Catholic education in the nation’s capital.

• $100,000 to Children Requiring a Caring Kommunity, Harrisburg, N.C., to offer cash incentives to women addicted to drugs or alcohol to obtain long-term or permanent birth control.

• $50,000 to Remote Area Medical Service, Knoxville, Tenn., to help provide health, vision and dental care and veterinary services to people living in remote areas of the United States.

Bill Zlatos can be reached at or 412-320-7828.

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