Freedom Rising Pilot Project

Freedom Rising Pilot Project

Presbytery Staff Liaisons – Elder Ralph Lowe, Director of Justice Ministries, and Cathy Nelson, Executive Assistant

What We Do
Mission Statement & Core Values
Facing Racism Campaign
Freedom Rising Sunday
Financial Support Opportunities
Grants Available
Freedom Rising in the News
Video from February 2020 Luncheon


What We Do

The 222nd General Assembly (2016) voted to “take specific action, not just in word, but also in deed, to address and improve the worsening plight of the African American male in any of the five specified cities as a pilot initiative pointing toward future and further nationwide intervention. Micah 6:8, with its powerful words to ‘Do justice, love kindness and walk humbly [with your God],’ calls us to action and not only proclamation.  The Freedom Rising Pilot Project is trying to do just that, using action to address these issues.  Baltimore, MD, Charlotte, NC, Cleveland, OH, New York, NY, and Pittsburgh, PA are the five cities where the plight of the African American male is especially egregious and are the ones designated for specific action.

The following are the presbyteries that have committed to participating in the Freedom Rising Pilot project:


Freedom Rising Sunday Information & Resources

In 2018, the Executive Committee of Pittsburgh Presbytery voted to designate the Sunday before the celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to be an annual celebration of “Freedom Rising Sunday,” a time for congregations in our presbytery to unite in prayer, worship, witness, and giving to support Freedom Rising and our shared call to address the worsening plight of the African American male. The Freedom Rising Steering Team of Pittsburgh Presbytery has created a number of resources to assist your congregation in developing a worship service addressing the themes underpinning the ministry of Freedom Rising:

  • Freedom Rising Liturgical Resources
    This document contains historical background on Freedom Rising, suggested scripture readings, hymns, as well as other liturgical elements appropriate for Freedom Rising Sunday.
  • Freedom Rising Initiative Bulletin Insert
    This document contains a standard sized bulletin insert that offers a brief history of Freedom Rising as well as information on current Freedom Rising ministry partners.
  • Freedom Rising Minute for Mission Video
    This three-minute video provides background information about Freedom Rising as well as a short profile of the Foundation of Hope Diversion Program, one of our Freedom Rising ministry partners.  For congregations that have video capability in worship, this is an easy way to highlight the work of Freedom Rising.
  • Freedom Rising Offering Envelope Labels
    If your congregation would like to collect a special offering in support of the work of Freedom Rising, these labels can be printed on standard size label sheets for easy printing.
  • Freedom Rising Logo
    This for inclusion in bulletins, newsletters, etc.


Financial Support Opportunities 

There are three different ways to financially support the work of the Freedom Rising Pilot Project:

Support Freedom Rising at the national level through the Presbyterian Foundation.  It is very easy for individuals to support the work of the national initiative of Freedom Rising with by giving online through the Presbyterian Foundation.  All donations to the Freedom Rising national fund will be divided among the five pilot cities to support their local work for Freedom Rising.

Support Freedom Rising here in Pittsburgh through the Presbyterian Foundation.   Again this can be accomplished with an online donation.  All gifts received will be utilized for the Pittsburgh initiative of Freedom Rising.

Donations can also be mailed in to support the Pittsburgh Initiative of Freedom Rising.

  • Individuals:
    Please make checks payable to “Pittsburgh Presbytery” with “Freedom Rising” noted on the memo line and mail to Pittsburgh Presbytery, 901 Allegheny Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15233.
  • Congregations:
    Please use the Remittance Form for Mission Contributions noting the amount of the donation under “Presbytery Special Offerings, Freedom Rising Fund.” and mail to Pittsburgh Presbytery, 901 Allegheny Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15233.


Grants Available

Freedom Rising* is offering two types of grants for ministries or programs serving African American males between the ages of 6-19 (or grades 1-12) in Allegheny County:

Enrichment grants:

  • a one-time grant of up to $5,000
  • to enrich an EXISTING ministry or program
  • recipients will report back to the Freedom Rising Steering Team (FRST) about how the funds were used to enrich the current ministry or program on an annual basis

Click here to access the ENRICHMENT grant application.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Once you start the online application, you may go back to previous screens but you will NOT be able to save and return at a later date.  You must complete the application in one sitting.

Seed grants:

  • a renewable grant of up $15,000/year for up to seven (7) years
  • must be for a NEW ministry or program
  • recipients will report back to the Freedom Rising Steering Team about how the funds were used to enrich the current ministry or program every six months
  • as the Freedom Rising Steering Team (FRST) hopes to ensure the sustainability of any new ministry/program being funded, recipients of seed grants must be open to an ongoing partnership with the FRST

Click here to access the SEED grant application.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Once you start the online application, you may go back to previous screens but you will NOT be able to save and return at a later date.  You must complete the application in one sitting.

*Freedom Rising is an initiative of the 222 General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church USA, which voted unanimously to adopt an overture seeking to address the worsening plight of the African American male.  Freedom Rising is being piloted in five cities including Pittsburgh.  The grants awarded through this application process are awarded on behalf of Freedom Rising, Pittsburgh, as one facet of Pittsburgh Presbytery’s preliminary response to address this crisis.  Click here for more information on GA Overture 10-3, On Taking Specific Action to Address the Worsening Plight of the African American Male. 


Freedom Rising In the News