In Loving Memory of Ms. K, BTB1 inaugural cohort member.
Steel Smiling bridges the gap between Black people and mental health support through education, advocacy and awareness.
Our vision is to connect every Black person in Allegheny County to a positive mental health experience that improves their quality of life by 2030. We do this by bringing person-centered mental health programming to our communities.
Steel Smiling is an Organization in Residence Partner with Neighborhood Allies.
The Organization-in-Residence initiative is an innovative pilot program co-created by Neighborhood Allies and Steel Smiling designed to nurture the organizational growth, capacity building and sustainability of Steel Smiling so that they can continue to serve community members to their highest potential.
Steel Smiling is an organization that centers the culturally-specific needs of Black people in mental health and wellness. We honor the reality that race is a persistent force shaping each person’s lived experience, and also, that countless decisions have historically been made along “racial lines,” and thus, shaped the world we live in today.
Accordingly, Steel Smiling believes healing is a birthright for Black people. We also affirm the need for a variety of tools, approaches, and pathways for Black people to heal and care for their wellness. For residents, we serve as a “way-finder” or a “wellness navigator.” We strive to support Black community members on their respective paths to caring for their own mental health and wellness. This is primarily accomplished through Steel Smiling’s flagship programs, Beams to Bridges and Black Mental Health Fund.
To achieve our goal of strengthening access to culturally-reflective services in the Pittsburgh region, we collaborate with a variety of Black, African American, and/or others in the African diaspora who identify as healing professionals. Our partners provide critical wellness services, train and educate residents about mental health, advocate for the dismantling of stigma in the Black community, and connect community members to a host of resoures and wellness supports.
Steel Smiling is also the first of its kind, “Organization-in-Residence” (OIR) of Neighborhood Allies. This co-created pilot program intentionally advances equity within the nonprofit space by prioritizing resource-sharing of larger, more established organizations with smaller, Black-led organizations that in Pittsburgh, often face their own unique barriers with accessing and experiencing growth, despite the persistent reality that these nascent entities are commonly the most insightful and adjacent to the community.
In the OIR model, Steel Smiling leverages Neighborhood Allies’ internal infrastructure – with the specific intention of building capacity and autonomy. Once Steel Smiling has had the appropriate amount of time to fully grow and establish our organization, we’ll determine if we want to officially join Neighborhood Allies or become our own 501c3 organization.