Tag Archives: Pittsburgh – PA

Summer 2021 Reading Program with Reading is Fundamental

With so many distractions in today’s society in addition to the COVID-19 pandemic social injustices we’ve been experiencing, it is simply tough for kids to enjoy being kids. With students being homeschooled over the past year, the KBK Foundation’s supportive services team made it a priority to provide our residents and the children in our communities with needed resources like lunch, healthy snacks, fresh produce, hot meals, cleaning supplies, personal protective equipment and much more. It has always been a part of our Foundation’s mission to focus on Education and Empowerment of our residents and the children of our communities. Many extracurricular educational initiatives were cancelled over the year which made it harder for the children of our communities to get involved.

This Summer (2021), Irene Sparks, KBK Foundation Community Relations Officer, partnered with Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) to host a reading program for students of Garfield Commons, owned by KBK Enterprises. “Reading expands your imagination and builds your communication skills. One thing our Foundation focuses on is making sure wherever our presence, we strive to be a good neighbor, sharing the concerns of our communities and dedicating our capabilities, resources and people to creating a better future,” said Sparks.  

Children enjoyed receiving new books each week from RIF and the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh while earning weekly prizes for hitting their reading goals. For every 50 books read, students got to select from an assortment of toys and education items each week! The first person to read 200 books by August 6th was declared the winner. The winner this year was a bright young woman in the second grade who already is reading three grade levels ahead. Irene and RIF were amazed by her passion for reading and had a chance to speak with her mother. “My daughter loves to read; it amazes me, and it will all pay off when she reaches her dream of becoming a doctor,” said her mother.  

“I Am” Daily Affirmation: 

Another method used to connect with the children was daily “I Am” affirmations to instill confidence and self-awareness. On their first day of the reading program Irene noticed the students had some challenges with their confidence and self-identity. “It is very important for children to have an identity,” said Irene. In some cases, children are not exposed to experiences that are deemed as unconventional for their community and backgrounds. On the other hand, lack of representation can be a huge factor in children lacking confidence and self-identity. Lately, representation has been in the forefront in the film and media industry from movies like “Black Panther,” “Crazy Rich Asians,” and “Superwoman,” making sure  representations of the world presented through films and media are truthful and properly demonstrated. For this activity children were given instructions every day before reading to create and share a positive affirmation about themselves. “Week by week the affirmations improved, it started off a little rocky with a lot of second guessing, but around week three they were able to quickly think of an abundant of positive words to say about themselves and were proud to share it to the rest of the group. That was truly a peak moment of the entire program,” said Irene.  

KBK Foundation aims to ensure all community members, from children to seniors, are provided with resources and opportunities to build a successful future. Education and empowerment are particularly important to us, and we believe this is a key to achieving success.

Special Thanks to Reading is Fundamental (RIF) and The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh for your partnership and donations! 

Garfield Commons – Resident Involvement Ensures Sustainability

According to City of Pittsburgh Housing Authority Executive Director, Caster Binion, Garfield is the model on how affordable housing should look. Beginning almost 7 years ago, the severely distressed public housing development where 326 row houses existed, is now a mixed income community that will consist of 225 townhomes upon completion. The construction of the remaining 50 homes was completed April 2013, ten detached homes of which have garages. Read More ›

Project Will Preserve History of Former Addison Terrace and Hill District

KBK Enterprises has asked The KBK Foundation to work alongside the development and construction efforts to document and preserve the rich history of the Hill District. While over 400 units of mixed-income housing will physically restore much of the Hill’s environment, The KBK Foundation aims to add to the pride and heritage in another way- with an in-depth Addison Terrace History Project (ATHP). Read More ›

What is Section 3?

Section 3 of the Housing and Urban Development Act of 1968, as amended ( 12. U.S.C. 170 I u) (Section 3), is to ensure that training, employment and other economic opportunities generated by certain HUD financial assistance shall be directed to low­and very low-income persons, particularly those who are recipients of government assistance for housing, and to business concerns, which provide economic opportunities to low and very-low income persons. The KBK Foundation’s Section 3 monitoring process has sparked national attention and praise from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Foundation In Practice

The KBK Foundation has been responsible for implementing this program on major construction projects around the country and is dedicated to providing a multitude of self-sufficiency opportunities such as Section 3, which helps limit a large degree of economic barriers that prevents an individual from obtaining gainful employment. The Foundation acts as the qualifying agent responsible for identifying, developing, and preparing a workforce within the disadvantaged population in each project area.
In effort to deliver a higher standard of quality services, KBK has strengthened its supportive services by developing and implementing a Workforce Development component that focuses on redeveloping neighborhood communities. We will be partnering with community organizations in order to offer focused training opportunities that will lead to gainful long-term employment in construction trades.

“Because of committed businesses like KBK and Keith B. Key, we see how Section 3 can help our public housing residents.”

Don Babers, HUD Region IV Administrator

David Simpkins’ Story – D&D Contracting

For David D. Simpkins Sr., President of D&D Custom Contracting, winning the contract to do painting work at Addison Terrace Phase I represented taking part in the rebirth of his own community. Simpkins has done work in most of the neighborhoods of Pittsburgh throughout the company’s life but, this particular project brought back memories of his childhood growing up in the Hill District. Simpkins turned his business achievement into a way to give back to businesses and residents in the community- hiring the highest number of Section 3 hires of any subcontract on the site.

In addition to investing in individuals through job opportunities, Simpkins currently strives to help other young entrepreneurs build their companies. He actively seeks out individuals with either fledgling startups or ideas for a business to offer advice and support in order to build the economic base of the African American community. “We started off with just me…I built it by trial and error, by failures– a lot of different things so, my hope is that we don’t have to reinvent the wheel but that those like us can reach out to those who are starting to give them assistance.” Simpkins’ work and model has proven successful even in just his contract at Skyline Terrace. KBK Enterprises is excited to see how D&D Contracting continues to be a positive impact on other projects in the city.

Garfield Gators Enter Three Year Partnership

The KBK Foundation has entered into a 3 year partnership with the Garfield Gators Football Team. The program led by Bob Jones, for youth ages 5-14, provides neighborhood children a place where academics, discipline and personal accountability are encouraged. Sponsorship from The KBK Foundation will assist with scholarships being offered to youth to participate in the Gator football program and cover items such as equipment and travel. Bob Jones, a former Defensive Cornerback for the University of Notre Dame, got his start as a Gator and owes his own success to the program. The men and women who coach these young people serve as role models in a neighborhood where economic, environmental and social challenges are commonplace.