Pittsburgh City of Learning Grants


More than 40 organizations have committed to participating in Pittsburgh City of Learning 2015, a community-wide effort to remake learning by bringing together all of a city’s resources to ensure that learning is open to all young people and relevant to the world they live in.

This summer young people in Pittsburgh will be able to follow new paths to discovery, explore the city’s rich resources, and gain recognition for their accomplishments by earning digital badges. Digital badges are an emerging technology that enable learners to certify the knowledge, skills, and dispositions they develop both inside and outside of traditional classrooms—proficiencies that employers in today’s economy value and reward.

The Sprout Fund is the anchor organization for Pittsburgh City of Learning. In 2015, three major initiatives have committed to joining the effort:

  • The Learn & Earn Program (led by the City of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, and the Three Rivers Workforce Investment Board),
  • The Summer Dreamers Academy (led by the Pittsburgh Public Schools), and
  • The Summer Reading Program (led by the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh).

Working with Pittsburgh’s Remake Learning Network, City of Learning 2015 will support opportunities focused on topics like digital learning, maker learning, STEAM learning, youth voice, and career readiness.

Eligible Applicants

Proposals are encouraged from nonprofit organizations and public schools in Allegheny County planning to deploy badges across multiple programs, offering free or low-cost drop-in learning, or providing activities that connect to opportunities at other organizations and/or online.

In order to be considered for this special grant opportunity, organizations must have already committed to the Criteria for Participation in Pittsburgh City of Learning and attended an orientation session and badge design workshop. We regret that, due to summer program timing, no additional partners are being accepted at this time.

Funding Available

$2,500 in project support, to be expended by September 30, 2015.

Grant Requirements

In addition to the standard Criteria for Participation in Pittsburgh City of Learning, organizations will use the grant to take their summer work farther by:

  • Badges: Designing and issuing at least 6 digital badges.
  • On-site Training: Hosting one or more training sessions with other program staff (with support from the City of Learning Helpdesk team members).
  • Community of Practice: Actively participating in a community of practice with their educator peers at other participating organizations in the campaign.
  • Research: Working with a Sprout-led team to contribute to research projects about badges.
  • Documentation: Making facilities and events available for on-site documentation of summer programming including written, photo, and video production.

Limitations on the Use of Grant Funding

There are no limitations on direct use of the grant funding. Support from Sprout may be used to cover the costs of programmatic supplies, staff or contractors, equipment purchases or rentals, etc.

However, by Sprout policy, funding for indirect administrative costs (variously termed overhead, administration, handling, contracting, or fiscal agency) cannot exceed 10% of the requested amount.

Deadline and How to Apply

Applications are due no later than Friday, May 22, 2015. Decisions will be announced two weeks later, on or about Friday, June 5, 2015. Funds will be distributed by the end of June.

Please complete a cover sheet and upload your application narrative and support materials using the online form at www.sproutfund.org/submit-a-city-of-learning-application/