The Town Hall South Speaker Series (THS) is a nonprofit outreach of Westminster Presbyterian Church. The mission of THS is to provide an enrichment program for the community through quality lectures and to engage the public in reflection and dialogue on key issues of the day. Equally important, THS provides outreach to the community through philanthropic gifts to a wide range of local organizations. Each lecture season, the majority of net proceeds are donated to worthy causes, most of which focus on women and children. Since its inception in 1969, THS has donated nearly $650,000 to various local charities.
Following the 2019-2020 lecture season, THS distributed $20,000 among 17 nonprofit organizations. The needs of these organizations have only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, and in many cases, the grants from THS have been used to help fulfill those needs. Listed below is the mission of each organization that received a grant as a result of the 2019-2020 season and an explanation of how the grants from THS were used:
Blankets Over Pittsburgh distributes blankets, tents, shovels, and bikes directly to the city’s homeless. THS funds purchased sleeping bags, tents, and personal care items.
CASA For Kids (Washington County) and CASA of Allegheny County each train volunteers to advocate for abused and neglected children in each county's Juvenile Court System. THS funds were used to provide training to 17 new advocates, much of which was accomplished via Zoom, enabling CASA for Kids to assign over 30 children to a new advocate who will speak up for the children’s best interests and give them a voice in court.
Family Hospice provides compassionate end-of-life care to patients with life-limiting illnesses and their families. THS funds purchased 285 pill organizers for patients.
Family Promise of Southwestern PA provides shelter, meals, and support to homeless families with children until they are able to return to sustainable independent lives in their own homes. THS funds were used for costs of transporting families to work or school.
Boys Hope Girls Hope of Pittsburgh, Inc. selects academically capable and motivated young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and helps them achieve their full potential by providing them with housing, educational resources, and encouragement. THS funds were used to fund residential counselors who work full time at the girls’ home in Coraopolis, as well as to pay for students’ tuition to partner schools.
Light in my City provides solar lanterns, emergency weather band radios, and charging stations for government-issued cell phones to the homeless. THS funds purchased 20 lanterns and 20 radios.
Literacy Pittsburgh empowers students and adults to improve reading skills. Due to the pandemic, programming has gone fully remote, but roughly 85% of students have been retained. THS funds were used to purchase textbooks and technology and helped to build Literacy Pittsburgh’s virtual curriculum.
Operation Safety Net provides medical and wellness care to Pittsburgh’s homeless population. THS funds were used to purchase medical supplies, warming supplies, and bus tickets to enable individuals to access housing and recovery services.
Outreach Teen & Family Services provides affordable mental health counseling to teens and their families. THS funds subsidized costs of counseling.
Prime Time Adult Care provides mental and physical stimulation to the frail elderly and respite for their caregivers. THS funds subsidized expenses to keep services affordable.
Spencer Family YMCA/Camp AIM provides summer camp for children with special needs. Due to the pandemic, the camp was offered virtually this year. THS funds were used to help develop interactive programming featuring life skills, physical activities, music, and art.
Street Symphony, a mission of recent THS speaker Vijay Gupta, offers performances and teaches music and arts to the LA County homeless and incarcerated population. An important part of Street Symphony is the Daniel Chaney Fellows Program, which pairs Skid Row community individuals with one of Street Symphony’s professional teaching artists. THS funds were used to purchase tablet devices and mobile hotspots, giving fellows the technological access necessary to continue working safely with their mentors.
The Early Learning Institute provides therapeutic programs for young children with specialized needs. THS funds were used to purchase materials and equipment used by the early intervention therapists.
Washington City Mission’s Shelter for Women with Children provides shelter, childcare, and support to homeless women and their children. THS funds paid a portion of the salary of a qualified childcare coordinator who operates a childcare center during the day to help women care for their children as they rebuild their lives.
Westminster Early Childhood Education Programs provides day care and education for children 6 years old and younger. THS funds supported playground improvements.
Zonta Club of Washington County provides networking and community service opportunities for professional women. THS funds were used to buy 20 warm-up suits and stuffed animals for women and children who were victims of sexual assault.
For more information on how you can support Town Hall South’s philanthropic mission, please visit its website at www.townhallsouth.org to purchase season tickets or learn how to become a sponsor.