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Community Steps Cooperative

The Community Steps Cooperative seeks to preserve and promote the Pittsburgh city steps by organizing community support and resources. To accomplish this, we plan to solicit community feedback and support, act as a liaison between neighborhoods and their local government, host events, and carry out projects that improve and promote the use of the Pittsburgh city steps. Our organization currently consists of 2 volunteer staff, a board of 5 directors, and several partners who lend their talents to our cause. The city’s steps are historic features that contribute accessibility and a distinct character to nearly every neighborhood, with over 700 sets throughout the city. Many of these sets, however, are in need of repair and even more go without regular care and maintenance. In a city already strapped for infrastructure funds, there is a critical need for community involvement to improve and maintain these historic features. With only a little help, a set of steps can kept free of snow and ice during the winter and remain a beautiful environment during the warmer months.

Our organization plans to create a network of community members who care about their neighborhood steps, serve as a resource for people who want to help out or make use of the steps, and make use of available funding opportunities to make improvements. To begin, we will plan several meetings to let neighborhood groups know about our goals and give feedback, host a series of volunteer days to improve several targeted steps, and hold a few events to raise money and awareness about our organization. Our group has been planning since October, and with some initial funding, we are ready to take action this Spring.

Our staff consists of MJ Flott, a local resident and community activist who has provided crucial leadership from the beginning and Alex Lake, who brings an understanding of non-profit operations, technology, and fundraising to the team. We have partnered with UpTo | Know Good, a consultancy providing initial planning and identity support. While the City will not support us financially, they have otherwise offered to assist us however they can. Our organization has begun the process of incorporation and is seeking nonprofit status. After a period of successful events and actions, we plan to raise money from individuals and foundations, allowing us to add capacity and become a reliable and effective presence throughout the city in supporting the steps and the green-space around them.

Funded by Pittsburgh, PA (February 2012)