The Sprout Fund supports innovative ideas that are catalyzing change in Pittsburgh—making our community a better place to live, work, play, and raise a family. Through its programs and activities, Sprout enriches the Pittsburgh region’s vitality by engaging citizens, amplifying voices, supporting creativity and innovation, and cultivating connected communities.
Founded in 2001, Sprout is one of Southwestern Pennsylvania’s leading agencies for catalytic small-scale funding, civic engagement, digital media and learning, and public art. With strong working relationships to many community organizations and regional stakeholders, Sprout’s approach has worked successfully across political and geographic boundaries to make hundreds of community-decided investments in early-stage projects, organizations, innovators, and activities.
Sprout Seed Awards are modest financial awards that support community-based projects and strategic initiatives. These low-threshold projects are leveraged into high-impact results that affect grassroots communities throughout the City of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, and Southwestern Pennsylvania communities in Fayette and Greene counties.
Spark supports Pittsburgh Kids+Creativity, a network of innovators and organizations empowering children and youth by creating relevant learning opportunities through the compelling use of technology, media, and the arts. Spark catalyzes relevant and imaginative learning opportunities that make compelling use of technology, media, and the arts, and build greater awareness of and access to remarkable learning experiences for children, youth, and families.
Sprout Public Art enhances the visual landscape of neighborhoods and communities by creating high-quality public art in a collaborative process with artists and communities. From 2003 to 2010, The Sprout Fund operated a public art program focused on the creation of community murals and fostered collaboration between local Pittsburgh artists and community organizations in the neighborhoods of Pittsburgh and the surrounding communities of Allegheny County.
Past significant programs include: Spring, which supported community-based projects that demonstrated the value of biodiversity and provided citizens with opportunities for meaningful participation in these efforts; Community Connections, a grassroots initiative supporting projects that encouraged civic engagement to commemorate the region’s 250th anniversary; Engage Pittsburgh, connecting new ideas and collaborations that emerge at community dialogue events and discussion forums to start-up resources, project coordination, and technical assistance, and, Hothouse, Sprout’s “live annual report” to the community, which served as a stage to present a sampling of some of the innovative projects and emerging leaders supported by Sprout.
Directed by a board of young, creative, and civically engaged people and led by co-founders Cathy Lewis Long and Matt Hannigan, Sprout is located in the Penn Avenue Arts District in the East End of Pittsburgh. Supported by major gifts from Pittsburgh’s leading regional foundations, Sprout has received funding from more than 100 foundations, corporations, nonprofits, and governmental entities as well as thousands of individuals over its ten years of community activities.
As a testament to its impact on the region, The Sprout Fund was named one of the “Top 50 Influences on the Arts” of the last decade by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Moreover, Sprout has been recognized via proclamation by Pittsburgh’s City Council and Mayor, and the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, for its important work in Pittsburgh and the surrounding communities of Allegheny County.