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YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh Receives $500,000 from McAuley Ministries for New Hill YMCA Roof

PITTSBURGH, Jan. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- McAuley Ministries, the new grant-making arm of the Pittsburgh Mercy Health System, has given out its first grant... and the recipient is the YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh. The $500,000 grant will help fund the construction of a green rooftop terrace for the new Thelma Lovette YMCA in the Hill District.

"The new Thelma Lovette YMCA touches several of McAuley Ministries grant-making priorities," said Michele Rone Cooper, executive director of McAuley Ministries. "This project will address health and wellness by providing a modern, safe location for exercise and recreation. Its programs respond to concerns such as youth violence prevention and academic achievement. The facility addresses community development through its location on the important Centre Avenue corridor in the Hill District; the green rooftop terrace will contribute to community aesthetics."

"Putting a green roof on what will be a brand-new YMCA demonstrates the YMCA's commitment to the people in the Hill District, a central, but underserved Pittsburgh community, and we thank the McAuley Foundation for making it possible," said Eric Mann, chief executive officer of the YMCA of Pittsburgh. "The Hill is undergoing a real transformation resulting in a demographic change that has caused a need for more community-based wellness services and other programming. This new project shows that the YMCA and our partners like the McAuley Foundation can be difference makers in western Pennsylvania."

The new YMCA's green rooftop terrace will provide a safe playground for children participating in the YMCA's youth programs, outdoor exercise space for adults; a flexible space for family and community activities. The roof will be ringed by a raised planting bed backed by a vegetative screened fence. The YMCA plans to obtain Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) certification for the project from the U.S. Green Building Council. A green roof is a roof on a building that is partially or completely covered with vegetation and soil, or a growing medium, planted over a waterproofing membrane.

Work on the new $9 million YMCA, designed by DRS Architects of Pittsburgh, is expected to begin the third quarter of 2009. The new YMCA is named after community activist, Hill District resident and longtime YMCA volunteer, Thelma Lovette. It will sit on an entire block on Centre Avenue between Hemans, Addison and Elmore streets. When completed, the new full-service YMCA will offer traditional health and wellness programs like swimming, sports and exercise, and traditional day and summer camp for children. Also, the new Y will offer social service programs to families and individuals.

"We were also thrilled the YMCA chose to honor Mrs. Thelma Lovette, a wonderful woman and community activist, and ironically the first African-American social worker at Mercy Hospital," Rone Cooper said. "This partnership with the YMCA was a perfect fit for McAuley Ministries' inaugural grant. McAuley Ministries' mission is to promote healthy, safe and vibrant communities; our focus includes the neighborhoods of the Hill District, Uptown and West Oakland."

The Pittsburgh Mercy Health System established McAuley Ministries in 2008 to administer the proceeds from the sale of Mercy Hospital to UPMC Health System. The foundation's mission is to serve as a catalyst for change, committing resources and working collaboratively to promote healthy, safe and vibrant communities.

The mission of the YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh is to build strong kids, strong families and strong communities by developing the spirit, mind and body of every individual. Founded in 1854, The YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh is one of the largest and oldest human services organizations in Allegheny County, providing critical services to more than 1.4 million people each year. The YMCA philosophy is to be the difference maker by jumping in and addressing a wide range of challenges in our communities with hundreds of programs, including after-school care and childcare, outdoor camping, community outreach, team and individual sports, health and fitness, youth counseling and senior assistance programs, many of which we have developed specifically to meet a local community need.

The YMCA pursues a simple, but successful business model: We are a family of 16 branches that represent a very socially and economically diverse community. The strength of our family is that our financially stronger branches help to support our more challenged branches, so that all have access to high quality programs and facilities. The YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh is part of the national YMCA movement, which collectively is the largest not-for-profit service organization in the United States.

SOURCE YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh
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