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Project Grants

There are two separate grant programs available to current Allegheny Regional Asset District (RAD) assets: Connection Grants and Accessibility & Inclusion Grants. Assets interested in applying should carefully review the following guidelines and contact RAD program staff to discuss their project before submitting an application.

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Resources and Ideas for accessibility projects

Connection GrantINVESTMENTS


Accessibility & InclusionINVESTMENTS


Projects FundedSINCE 2009


Project Grant Guidelines and Instructions

Connection Grants

RAD is interested in fostering cost-saving connections between and among regional assets to ensure assets’ long-term sustainability. To encourage those connections, RAD has established a Connection Grant program.

Connection grants support the implementation of new, long-term efforts that improve the financial position of two or more regional assets. Projects should promote efficiency through structural/operational change and result in revenue enhancement, cost savings, and/or reduced professional costs. These efforts will be sustained and will enhance programming for an extended period of time, if not permanently.

Connection Grants are one-time grants for new connections that include at least one of the following:

  1. Actual merger or consolidation of assets that will result in a reduction of overhead costs or that will otherwise sustain the assets’ level of service to the community
  2. Agreements between or among assets to share a significant portion of administrative/operational costs and/or facilities for a minimum of three years, i.e. shared services
  3. Collaborative projects that result in long-term, demonstrated and defined revenue enhancement and/or expenditure control.

Points 1 and 2 are RAD’s top priorities in this program.

Connection here refers to partners working jointly for a common purpose to solve a clear and specific problem or challenge that both partners face. Or, partners are aware of an opportunity for enhancing operations and will work jointly to achieve project goals. It is expected that all project partners will benefit from the collaboration and this should be clearly defined. Projects should not be short-term partnerships but rather long-term solutions that will have a demonstrable impact on organizations’ operations.

Examples of RAD-funded Connection grants over the past decade:

  •  Organizational mergers
  •  Shared services
  •  Combined employee positions (including marketing, development, HR)
  •  Space rental manager to maximize use of existing facilities
  •  Multi-organization joint marketing/communications efforts


Accessibility & Inclusion Grants

As a part of its Regional Assets are for Everyone initiative, launched in 2014, RAD is accepting Accessibility & Inclusion grant applications for projects that will have a long-term benefit toward enhancing opportunities for those with physical and cognitive challenges to enjoy the benefits of asset programming. See the ADA National Network's guidelines for writing about people with disabilities.

RAD defines Accessibility as the equitable access given to everyone of all abilities and experiences. Accessibility encompasses the broader meanings of compliance and refers to how assets proactively and intentionally make space for all people, including those with cognitive and physical disabilities.

RAD defines Inclusion as involvement, empowerment, and recognition of the inherent worth and dignity of all people. An inclusive environment promotes and sustains a sense of belonging, provides equal access to opportunities and resources, and allows all people, including those with physical and cognitive disabilities, to participate fully. Inclusion is action-based and requires continued efforts.

These project grants are meant as one-time investments in facilities, equipment, or program development. The kinds of projects that will be considered include:

  • Improvements that foster inclusion and lead to an overall welcoming experience for those with physical and cognitive challenges
  • Changes to facilities including exhibits and signage
  • Purchase or installation of equipment for hearing or sight assistance
  • Projects to improve communication and marketing such as website accessibility enhancements

Application Deadlines:

RAD accepts project funding requests via the Grant PortalDo not use prior versions of the Connection or Accessibility & Inclusion grant application forms. Before submitting an application for the Connection or Accessibility & Inclusion Grant programs, projects must be discussed with a RAD program officer by either submitting a proposal letter or scheduling a call. All funding decisions must be voted on and approved by the RAD Board at one of its quarterly meetings. 

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. In order to anticipate funding decision dates, RAD suggests submitting applications by the following dates:

  • March 28, 2024 for consideration at the 2nd Quarter Board meeting
  • October 1, 2024 for consideration at the 4th Quarter Board meeting

Note: Lead applicants must be a current RAD asset. If applicants are applying with partner organizations that are not current RAD Assets, those organizations must complete the Requirements for Non-RAD Asset Partners.

Transformative Community Library Fund

Deeply appreciating the vital role of libraries in our region, RAD invites libraries that serve distressed communities to embrace transformative change. Few understand the hopes and needs of a community more so than its librarians. They are counselors, educators, advisors, researchers, caretakers, and friends of their communities. RAD seeks to empower library visionaries by asking: How can your library be a leader in your community’s growth and vitality? Inside AND outside of your library’s walls, what can you do to be change agents in your community?

RAD is in a position to make an additional significant, unprecedented investment in libraries that serve distressed communities. The Transformative Community Library Fund is a fund of $5 million available to libraries that serve distressed communities over the next four years. This investment will continue to strengthen a library’s connection to the community and increase equity for all.

Goals for this program include:

  • Expanding and enhancing library experiences for current and future patrons
  • Establishing relationships with other libraries to optimize operations and sharing services
  • Building and sustaining organizational capacity, including staff and board leadership that is committed to measurable engagement
  • Centering libraries in community building and neighborhood development strategies
  • Optimizing funding opportunities that support long-term results

RAD, alongside Allegheny County Library Association (ACLA), will be working closely with eligible libraries to submit proposals over this period and be in communication throughout the implementation process to help these libraries foster success in their communities.

To learn more about the grant program and the process for applying, you can find more details on the Transformative Community Library Fund page. Eligible libraries should contact RAD program officer Maggie Pike Iddings.


Project Grant Examples

Chatham Baroque + Renaissance & Baroque

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Arts Finance Cohort Shared CFO

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Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium Accessible Signage

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Complete List of Awarded Project Grants