Three Nonprofits: Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Pittsburgh, North Side Common Ministries, Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank

I’m excited to post our second post in the “Three Nonprofits” series.  Each week we feature a Pittsburgher and three of the nonprofit organizations that they think are important.   Have three favorite nonprofit organizations that you would like to share?  Click here to submit your list.

3np-sue.jpgI’m exited to share this weeks post- Sue is an incredible force in Pittsburgh both online and off.  She has been blogging longer than I have!  Make sure to check out her blog – Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents.

Meet Sue Kerr  you can follow here on Twitter @pghlesbian24

Sue’s favorite thing about Pittsburgh is… This is my hometown.

Sue’s Three Favorite Nonprofits are…

Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Pittsburgh @GLCCPgh
Since 1981, the GLCC has been supporting the LGBT community and it continues to flourish as an all-volunteer organization. I met my partner Laura at the GLCC along with many of my dear friends. What resonates with me is the fact that almost every young adult involved as a volunteer was part of the GLCC’s youth programs at some point – almost to a person. That’s a powerful statement about the impact a Community Center has on a community.

North Side Common Ministries
NSCM is an example of faith in action in a way that’s respectful & authentic. They are the largest food pantry in Western Pennsylvania – serving over 1,000 families.

Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank @PghFoodBank
Simply put, they meet the needs of our hungry neighbors with dignity and resourcefulness. My family is a steel mill family so the rise of the Food Bank is entwined in my family’s DNA (sadly.)

What is the best way to get involved?
The Gay and Lesbian Community Center (GLCC) is all-volunteer. The most pressing need is for volunteers to staff the front desk to keep the doors open and the phoneline answered. This does require an orientation and training. The second “best” way to get involved is to participate in an activity – attend the women’s social group, bring a dish to the monthly potluck, play OUTrageous Bingo, try our belly dancing classes or pick what strikes your fancy.

14 Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day in Pittsburgh

Scan of a Valentine greeting card dated 1909.

Scan of a Valentine card dated 1909.

Thanks to the folks at Romeo Delivers for putting together our 2014 Valentine’s Day in Pittsburgh Guide.  Romeo Delivers is a Pittsburgh startup that is on a mission to help  bring a little more romance into relationships.

For some there’s an inverse relationship between Valentine’s Day and, well, happiness. It’s one of those holidays that taunts both singles and couples with anxiety. With a host of noteworthy things to do on the infamous day, and gift options that up your sex appeal and support local businesses: we can collectively skip that regrettable beer-you’re-my-favorite-Valentine moment this year. [Read more…]

Lyft Launches in Pittsburgh: Can a Pink Mustache Solve Our Cab Problem?

LYFT (Photo credit: Tribute/ Homenaje)

LYFT (Photo credit: Tribute/ Homenaje)

UPDATE March 2014: If you are interested in trying Lyft – click here to get $25 in ride credit.  If you are interested in becoming a driver for Lyft – click here to apply

I think that one of the things that keeps Pittsburgh from being competitive with other cities is transit.  Both transit to and from the city and transit within the city limits.

Can New Apps/Services Address the Cab Problem in Pittsburgh?

If you go to most major US cities – you can hail a cab.  It is no secret that, unless you are standing at a downtown hotel, it is near impossible to get a cab in this city.

The lack of access to cabs causes all kinds of problems and puts more cars on the streets, more cars mean we need more parking.  More parking means we need more parking garages.  The lack of access to cabs also leads to more drinking and driving.

There are three startup companies that have been working on the cab situation in other cities  – Uber, Lyft and Sidecar.  We’ve heard rumors that Uber has been looking at Pittsburgh for a while and we know they have just hired a Pittsburgh representative.  (There is also a local startup CabbyGo but I haven’t learned much about them).

Lyft is launching in Pittsburgh tomorrow (Friday, February 7) – and I think this is a big deal for this town.  Lyft is a community ride service and the Lyft cars are identified by pink mustaches.

Image representing Lyft as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

What is Lyft?  

From the Lyft website:

Lyft is like having a friend with a car whenever you need one. Simply download the app, request a Lyft and you’ll be on your way in minutes with a friendly, background-checked community driver. It’s more fun and costs less than a cab.

Lyft is more than just an alternative to a cab, they seem to be building an extensive community of riders and drivers.  Check out the intro to Lyft video here for more details on the service and the community aspect.

So, your excited about riding in cars with strangers?  Is that safe? 

I will be the first to admit that I was very skeptical of the idea of riding in a strangers car or driving other people in my car.  But I think the Lyft service is worth a look and from everything I’ve read – I think it is pretty safe.  All of the drivers have passed a background check and are interviewed by the Lyft staff.

I’ve heard great thing about Lyft and I wanted to learn more.  I downloaded the app and applied to be a driver.  Watching the driver education videos really changed my opinion of the service.  Even if you don’t want to become a driver, I would recommend that you download the app and start the application.  The first step of applying is to watch three videos about the service.  I’ve tried to find those videos online but apparently they are only available in the driver application.

Help Lyft Launch in Pittsburgh – Get Free Rides for Two Weeks

To help kick off Lyft’s service in Pittsburgh – you can become a Lyft Pioneer and your rides for the next two weeks are free.  You can get the details on becoming a Lyft Pioneer in Pittsburgh on this post I wrote for the c-leveled blog.

You can follow Lyft on Twitter @Lyft and use the #LyftOffPittsburgh to share your Lyft experiences.

3 Pittsburgh Nonprofits: Haitian Families First, Assemble, The Education Law Center

One of the things I’ve been trying to do here on the blog is to share more about the nonprofits that are working on important issues here in Pittsburgh.  This is the first post of what I hope will become a weekly series where Pittsburghers share three nonprofit organizations.  Have three favorite nonprofit organizations that you would like to share?  Click here to submit your list.

Meet Elizabeth Collura you can follow her on Twitter @beezuskiddo

Elizabeth’s favorite thing about Pittsburgh is… Food. All the food. Also wandering around Frick Park.


Three Pittsburgh Nonprofits…

Haitian Families First @HaitianFam1st
Ali and Jamie get right down to the hard work. They are all action and more action when it comes to making a difference in the lives of Haitian families.

Assemble @AssemblePGH
Assemble is a nonprofit that succeeds by doing. Assemble’s learning parties connect kids and adults over a shared energy for exploring science, tech, education, art and math. Kids often aren’t getting access to quality education in these fields at school, and Assemble brings it right into the City’s neighborhoods with an open door and a smile.

The Education Law Center @edlawcenterpa
The Education Law Center confronts inequality and injustice in education, both on the policy level, and on the individual litigation level. They fight for all kids in Pennsylvania to have access to a quality education. Nancy Potter, one of the Education Law Center’s attorneys, is a friend of mine and she is intelligent, devoted, and a true believer in the value of fighting for kids’ education.

What is the best way to get involved?
The best way to get involved in Haitian Families First is by shooting an email to Viv Croft, their Pittsburgh Operations head, and telling her you want to help! Their most immediate and pressing need is always funding, and they are extremely flexible to work with. HFF has extremely low overhead, so when you volunteer to raise funds for them, you have the satisfaction of knowing that the money is going right to the on-the-ground needs of Haitian families.