The Social Innovation Exchange (SiX) is an event series that brings together innovators from many sectors in Pittsburgh to explore the assets and opportunities that distinguish this city and create projects that will contribute to its continued vitality. The Sprout Fund contributes funds to turn the ideas that emerge from these sessions into innovative community solutions with tangible results and immediate outcomes.
Through the Social Innovation Exchange (SiX) Request for Proposals process, The Sprout Fund has supported 20 small-scale projects serving an audience of creative and civically engaged people.
The first SiX, which was held on January 31, 2012, generated hundreds of thoughts and ideas in six topic areas related to civic design and creative placemaking. More than 75 bright thinkers from many sectors in Pittsburgh came together to explore civic design projects that could contribute to the community landscape.
As an outcome of the January 31st SiX event, Sprout issued the following 2 RFPs:
Pittsburgh Steps Project RFP
The Sprout Fund offered catalytic support for a project that highlights one of our most unique neighborhood assets and celebrates Pittsburgh’s historic built environment. Applicants could request up to $10,000. The award winners were:
- $10,000 for Fineview Fitness Trail from Fineview Citizens Council
- $1,000 for Bike Steps/Light Rail from Springboard Design
Creative Placemaking Event RFP
The second RFP was for a Creative Placemaking Event, an idea all about gateways to neighborhoods, corridors through communities, and celebrating one of Pittsburgh’s most notable civic design elements, its bridges. The Sprout Fund offered catalytic support for an event to connect neighboring communities and bring attention to the gateways that lead into our communities with events and activities for residents and visitors. Applicants could request up to $10,000. The awardee was:
- $10,000 for Louisa Street Bicycle Steps Runnel from Oakland Planning and Development Corporation.
The second SiX took place on September 24, 2012. Titled, What’s next for Pittsburgh? Making Headlines in Social Innovation in 2015, the event featured a prominent speaker, Josh McManus, and mock editorial sessions that enabled 100 people to envision the people, projects, and organizations that will be leading our region’s social transformation over the next three years.
Through facilitation and dialogue, the ideas with the greatest potential to create community change were recast into headlines such as: “Homewood/Larimer achieves national recognition for its green right-sizing strategies.”
From the many creative ideas that emerged during the September 24th event, Sprout announced two funding opportunities to support projects that could advance Pittsburgh toward the kind of future predicted by a few of the headlines from the New Hazlett newsroom. Requests for proposals focused on these two topic areas:
- Building Public Support for Public Transport with funding for projects that engage with, celebrate, and promote public transportation.
- Fostering Multicultural Collaboration Initiatives with funding for projects that encourage collaboration between diverse cultural agencies and innovative community programs.
Public Support for Public Transport RFP
Sprout issued a Request for Proposals for Public Support for Public Transport, a catalytic funding opportunity for projects that engage with, celebrate, and promote public transportation in Pittsburgh. Applicants could request up to $20,000. The awardee was:
- $20,000 for Transit Tales from Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group (PCRG), Pittsburghers for Public Transit (PPT), and Bricolage Production Company.
Multicultural Collaboration Initiatives RFP
The Multicultural Collaboration Initiatives RFP provided funding for projects that encourage collaboration between diverse cultural agencies and innovative community programs. The following two projects were supported:
- $5,000 for Dia de los Muertos Pittsburgh from Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse, La Escuelita Arcoriris, and Latino Family Support Center
- $5,000 for Africamericas from CORO LatinAmericano (COROLA) and Young Men’s and Women’s African Heritage Association (YMWHA)
The third SiX event of 2012 was held on November 5, 2012 and focused on increasing connections in Pittsburgh – a major theme identified at the second SiX event. More than 60 attendees heard Ignite Talks from local social innovators, participated in facilitated dialogue, and developed ideas for ways that small projects can better connect things in Pittsburgh – be those connections geographic, generational, or interest-based.
Connect Your City RFP
To provide a year-end burst of catalytic support for a multitude of small projects that will help create a more connected Pittsburgh, The Sprout Fund issued the Connect Your City RFP, offering up to 15 grants of $1,000. These grant recipients showcase the variety of ways that small projects can increase connections in Pittsburgh – between communities, cultures, and generations.
Applicants were encouraged to use this opportunity to try out creative ideas that build new connections using unique and innovative approaches, facilitated in their application process by Sprout’s low-threshold online proposal and quick 3 week decisionmaking turnaround. 14 projects were supported at the $1,000 level.
The Social Innovation Exchange (SiX) is brought to you by the Pittsburgh Foundation in concert with Pop City and The Sprout Fund with additional support from the Benedum Foundation, The Buhl Foundation, and an anonymous foundation.