Duquesne Light Company Volunteers With Local Nonprofit for Neighborhood Cleanup


July 7, 2022

Duquesne Light Company’s (DLC) second annual recognition of Juneteenth was held on Friday, June 17, with around 20 employees volunteering with Grounded Strategies for a beautification project for several lots in Pittsburgh’s Hill District neighborhood. The Hill District is a predominately Black neighborhood steps away from Downtown.

Volunteers cleared lots by mowing overgrown grass, whacking weeds and removing knotweed at the parcel on Junilla Street and Bedford Avenue. Then they planted flowers and cleared the areas at the corners of Hollace Street and Webster Avenue.

DLC also presented Grounded, a nonprofit working to beautify and “reclaim” underutilized land, with a $4,000 check and two electric leaf blowers to assist i their ongoing projects. ​ ​

Grounded partners with residents in the community to identify areas of improvement, said Masoud Sayles, project manager at Grounded.

“We work with them to see what types of amenities they’d like to see in underutilized spaces,” Sayles said. “Our efforts help maintain the desirability and livability in the neighborhood.”

Like many nonprofits, Grounded experiences hurdles along the way.  
“Vacant space and public space isn’t always a high priority for acquiring funding,” Sayles said, adding that a lack of “manpower” can be just as challenging. “DLC coming out [to volunteer] has been amazing and they really make a huge difference. [The outcome] has been truly transformative in any of the spaces we work with this group.”

Brittney Worthy, co-chair of BRIDGE, DLC’s African American business employee resource group (BERG), said DLC’s efforts guarantee that it’s providing more than just electric service to the neighborhood.

“We want to make sure that we are giving back to diverse communities,” Worthy said. “We don’t want these places to go unnoticed.”