Newsletter: New Sun Rising (Nonprofit)

Recent announcement: Pittsburgh nonprofit buys its own building after 16 years. Is it a newsletter? A blog post? A press release? A little of each, with an amicable tone to balance a volume of information & figures.


Click to view (with photos & graphics!) or continue reading below…

The NSR Moose Project (we’re still working on our official moniker) is a direct result of the growth in food, energy, water & equity initiatives supported through the resident-driven Millvale EcoDistrict Pivot Plan. Project architect evolveEA was instrumental in the development of the EcoDistrict plan and is teaming with ATK Design Studios to bring the vision for this facility to life. The repurposed building will create jobs and empower business & nonprofit leaders while meeting critical community vibrancy & sustainability goals in the areas of food production, distribution, waste reduction, energy production & community benefit.

More specifically, the Project builds upon the success of the Launch Millvale Food Enterprise Incubator supported by the Henry L. Hillman Opportunity Fund. NSR will be sharing the Moose’s 10,000 square feet with partners through a cooperative governance & financial model, using an innovative Benefit Corporation structure.

Already-busy caterer Sprezzatura will be based out of the main floor kitchen, which will open up to their cafe (yay!), while food redistribution juggernaut & UpPrize finalist 412 Food Rescue will centralize operations & inventory for The Good Food Project over two floors of commercial kitchen & food storage space. We’ll also have room for cultural performances, workforce training & events from conferences to weddings!

Lead funding & technical assistance was received from Neighborhood Allies & LISC, along with additional support from the Borough of Millvale, 412 Food Rescue via The Heinz Endowments, New Sun Rising via the Henry L. Hillman Opportunity Fund, and Sprezzatura. The NSR Moose Project is already booked for the Millvale Music Festival & the Millvale Environment & Health Fair. Keep an eye out for our grand opening & upcoming calendar of events!

And read on for more about what we’ve done & what we’re doing!

In the last 2 years, New Sun Rising has supported 365 community leaders & small businesses, generated $954,000 for Fiscally Sponsored projects & $4.43 million (NSR + MODE income), and served 32 neighborhoods & 9 Community Incubator Hubs.

ARTS MODERS   We’re doubly pleased to see this artist spotlight, wherein one NSR fiscally sponsored project & graduate of NSR’s Arts Mode supports another! “Steel City Shakespeare Center specializes in a kind of performance that [founding director Jeffrey] Chips characterizes as ‘extreme casting.’ Their productions are bare-bones in style, utilizing a small cast to convey many characters. The actor’s work with minimal sets, lighting and sound production, instead relying on the strength of their skill set to create the atmosphere.” Read the feature on Pgh in the Round.

JUST LAUNCHED   New to NSR’s Fiscal Sponsorship Program, (the) Garment(Project) is first in providing a healthy & empathetic solution to the obstacles women face in the early stages of eating disorder recovery. After 14 years with an eating disorder & multiple treatment attempts, Garment founder Erin Drischler realized thatthere needed to be a positive way for eating disordered patients to transition back into their daily lives with wardrobes that made them feel confident. Because so much of a woman’s eating disorder revolves around her weight, traditional shopping, with sizing information & dressing room mirrors, is a vulnerable & ultimately intolerable experience for many women early in their recovery. Drischler’s project Garment  will remove all size information from its inventory & create customized, secure webpages for each patient. Learn more at

PEN PALS   Girls Write Pittsburgh, another Fiscal Sponsorship project, inspires teen girls to find their voices through writing. It’s the city’s only program designed toempower teen girls through the creative expression of writing, exposing them to a world of opportunity, through the craft. “Girls Write Pittsburgh provides an outlet for creativity,” says founder Vivan Lee Croft. “Girls in this writing program can go deep, whether they are writing for themselves or to share with others.” Learn more at

HEALING ART   Contextual Camouflage joins the Fiscal Sponsorship roster this month, too! McKoy Creative will construct an interactive art installation that disseminates information and combats the stigma surrounding mental & behavioral health. Contextual Camouflage aims to show that anyone, anywhere around you could be living with a mental disorder and you wouldn’t even know it, whilst also showing those that live with mental disorders that they are not alone. Learn more at

Profile: Tupelo Honey Teas (Cafe)

Recent blog post for New Sun Rising, a high-octane non-profit whose motto is “We Help People Make Pittsburgh Great.” I write & design NSR’s monthly newsletters & in-house collateral materials. 

IMG_2101 (1)

Post-college travel in China inspired Danielle Spinola’s love of tea. A few years after returning home, she decided to bring tea to Pittsburgh, where the options were limited (at the time) to an Anglo-influenced high tea, as opposed to the “simplicity & minimalism” she found in the Far East.

Spinola began online in 2007 with her first blend, Affogato Chai with Cacao Nibs, which is still in production today. After a few years of steady growth (of business & family members — Spinola has two children), Tupelo Honey Teas found a home at the Pittsburgh Public Market, quickly expanding from weekends only to a full week schedule.

In search of “blending space,” Spinola saw a sign at a huge industrial park and thought she’d find out what the minimum space cost. She found an attic-like office overlooking the main warehouse space, once home to a WWII bomb plug manufacturer, and made the leap.

Today Spinola’s private tea lab is a warm & tea-cozy retail space that lends itself to leisurely sipping & relaxing. Between wholesale clients, the loft and farmers markets, Tupelo Honey Teas is ubiquitous on the local landscape. So much so that Spinola co-founded the Pittsburgh Tea Association, whose membership includes Arnold’s (North Side), Margaret’s Fine Imports (Oakland) and Gryphon Tea (Lawrenceville, and another Public Market vet).

Spinola has always been attracted to Millvale. “A little voice in my gut tells me I need to be here,” she says. That voice comes in part from her family tree; she’s a descendent of the Girty family. Recalling her first meeting with New Sun Rising’s Scott Wolovich, she glows with excitement. He invited her to take part in Launch Millvale and since then, her tea empire has further expanded.

Through this mentorship Tupelo Honey Teas Cafe is being realized; adjacent to the Millvale Community Library, it will be a vegetarian/vegan tea shop & community gathering place. Scheduled for a Mother’s Day 2016 weekend opening, the cafe kitchen will be helmed by Millvale resident & chef Stephanie Davis. The plan is to use produce from the Gardens of Millvale (which Davis runs) in the scratch kitchen, as well as to grow & dry its own teas. “It’s a whirlwind of energy,” Spinola says. “I’ve never felt more alive.”

Tea Loft, 3812 William Flynn Hwy (Bldg 4, Fl 2), Allison Park. Cafe, 211 Grant Ave, Millvale. 



Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Under Construction

You lucky devil, you’re getting a sneak peek at my little corner of the web. There is much more to come, including clips from my alt-weekly days; recipes & food-related features, menus & menu design; music & film reviews; and photography & vintage blogs (from the late, great, one of Pittsburgh’s first personal weblogs).