Kinkead, Fontana, Wilson and Essential Utilities deliver $250K to local Boys & Girls Club
Funds will increase afterschool program access for underserved communities
NORTHVIEW HEIGHTS, April 14 – Today, state Rep. Emily Kinkead and state Sen. Wayne Fontana, both D-Allegheny, City Councilmember Bobby Wilson and representatives from Essential Utilities held a news conference to present Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania $250,000 to purchase new buses that will help connect transportation-needy communities to afterschool programs.
"At Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania, we know that too often transportation is the barrier that prevents a child from attending the enriching programming offered at BGCWPA's clubhouses and school-based sites across the region," said BGCWPA Vice President of Operations Melissa Fuller.
"Thanks to the leadership of state Senator Fontana, state Representative Kinkead, Councilman Wilson, the Essential Utilities Foundation and others, we will now be able to purchase our own buses to directly connect youth from Northview Heights and other communities throughout Allegheny County to our programming in STEM, arts, literacy, athletics, mentoring and youth workforce readiness, to internship and job shadowing opportunities and so much more at a time when they need us most. Together, both of these awards will transform the lives of children throughout the Pittsburgh region for years to come."
Of the $250,000 awarded to BGCWPA, $150,000 came from the Gaming Economic Development Tourism Fund and $100,000 came from the Essential Utilities Foundation. Both awards will go toward new buses and other costs associated with the organization’s transportation fleet.
“As a state legislator, one of my top priorities is bringing tax dollars back to our community through state grant programs, which is exactly what we achieved here,” Kinkead said.
In 2021, Kinkead’s office helped bring more than $11 million in state money back to the 20th Legislative District.
“It is unacceptable that children across our region have not had equal access to the great programs offered by BGCWPA, and I’m very proud to have helped expand their reach,” Kinkead said. “Kids should not have their opportunities limited because of the neighborhoods they are born into, and I will continue fighting to create a more equitable society for all residents in Allegheny County and across Pennsylvania.”
Wilson also acknowledged the need to ensure equal access for all youth and cited his personal experience with Boys & Girls Clubs as a child, stating, “Having access to youth programs is a big part of a well-rounded childhood. Lack of transportation can be a big barrier to accessing youth programs in underserved communities like Northview Heights. Awarding $250,000 to buy school buses to transport children from Northview Heights will fill these two gaps. I grew up going to the Sarah Heinz House Boys & Girls Club, and I know firsthand the positive impact of the experiences I had there on my life.”
“I was pleased to help secure state funding that will enable the Boys & Girls Club to offer transportation to kids who otherwise wouldn’t be able to access the terrific programming Boys & Girls Club offers,” said Fontana, who played a crucial role alongside Kinkead in securing the GEDTF grant. “We need to do all we can to ensure our youth have access to resources that enhance their development, and I’m proud to support the efforts that Boys & Girls Clubs are making to reach our most vulnerable children.”
“Peoples proudly supports organizations that positively impact the communities we serve,” said Mike Huwar, president of Peoples, a subsidiary of Essential Utilities. “Through the Essential Foundation, we are pleased to support the Boys & Girls Club of Western Pennsylvania in their effort to make their programs available to every kid, regardless of where they live in the Pittsburgh region.”
Caster D. Binion, who manages the annual budget for thousands of local housing units as executive director of the Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh, was in attendance and commended all parties involved in the awards, reinforcing how crucial it is to expand transportation access across the region.
Since 1888, BGCWPA has served youth throughout western Pennsylvania. Consisting of 12 clubhouse locations and more than a dozen partner sites in Allegheny and Somerset counties, two stand-alone workforce development locations and three Great Futures Preschool sites, BGCWPA serves thousands of youths annually. BGCWPA, one of the largest and most comprehensive providers of before- and after-school and summer day camp programming in the region, is a licensed child care provider and offers scholarships to families in need. Programming includes academic literacy, STEM enrichment, sports and recreational activities, and mentoring. Additionally, BGCWPA serves young adults 14-24 through workforce development programming. Residents can learn more at bgcwpa.org.
The project was financed in part by a GEDTF grant from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the Commonwealth Financing Authority and the Redevelopment Authority of Allegheny County. More information about GEDTF grants is at this link: Authorities | RAAC | GEDTF Fund (alleghenycounty.us).