GCAC awards grants based on community needs, membership interests, and the availability of GCAC’s resources or ability to attract these resources.  In the past 21 years, GCAC has raised more than $1 million through PIZZAZZ proceeds to fund these grants.

Photo credit: Denmarsh Photography, Inc.


POINT STATE PARK wayside garden and bioswale

GCAC celebrated its 2014 Centennial by funding a major project to encourage community environmental education at Pittsburgh's Point State Park.  GCAC designed and planted a Wayside Garden highlighting the importance and beauty of a native plants, and funded the design and construction of a rain garden, or bioswale, to demonstrate responsible management of storm water runoff.  Both installations have permanent explanatory signage accessible to the Park's estimated 2.5 million visitors
each year. 

GCAC partnered with the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) to complete this important project.  

Learn more about the Centennial Project
Point State Park Bioswale Report

Centennial Project Ribbon Cutting October 22, 2105

HOW TO Submit A Grant Request to GCAC

Before applying, prospective Grantees must identify a member of the Garden Club of Allegheny County to act as a sponsor for their request. After doing so, please download the application instructions. 

Prospective Grantees are required to appear and present their project for review and consideration by the GCAC Grants Committee in February. Two status reports must be sent to the Grants Committee Chair. The first is due May 31 of the year the request was submitted. The second is due at the completion of the Grant project on January 15 of the following year.

2017 grant RECIPIENTS

Allegheny County Parks Foundation
Funding for an ecological assessment and action plan at Hartwood Acres Park.

Carnegie Library  
Support for the design of a rain garden and bioswale at the Carrick branch where a new library with an outdoor green space is being built.

The Homewood Cemetery Historical Fund
Funding for landscaping, including the removal of unhealthy bushes and trees, on the Flinn Lot in preparation for new plantings.

Funding for crew members to complete projects such as the improvement of a vacant lot and/or outdoor classroom and a green stormwater infrastructure project. 

National Parks Centennial
In honor of the Centennial of the National Park system, GCAC will support the installation of a Pollinator Friendly Landscape at the Tower of Voices at the Flight 93 National Memorial site in Shanksville, PA.  

Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens
Support for a Botany in Action Grantee. See sidebar at right for this years recipient. 

Student Conservation Association (SCA)
Funding for five Apprentice Crew Leaders (ACL) in the community program during the summer of 2017.  These ACL leaders are students who have worked for the SCA before and now wish to participate in a leadership role.

Western Pennsylvania Conservancy Community Gardens and Greenspace Program
Beautification of the long median on Route 65 near Route 19 and the West End Bridge.  Monies will be used for perennial plant material and its installation.

Scroll down for past Grant Recipients


Garden Club of America Scholarships

The Joan K. Hunt and Rachel M. Summer Scholarship in Field Botany

Established in 2003, this scholarship encourages the study of field botany beyond the regular course of study, thus promoting the importance of botany to horticulture.

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Mary Elizabeth Patterson, the 2017 Hunt Scholar, is a master's student in plant biology and conservation at Northwestern University and the Chicago Botanic Garden.  Her project is titled "Monitoring Protocol for Packeria layneae: a Federally Threatened Species."  Her fieldwork will focus on developing a long-term monitoring protocol for Packeria layneae, also known as Layne's ragwort or Layne's butterweed, a threatened species endemic to California. Tahoe National Forest botanists and other managers of P. layneae will use the protocol to monitor the species' longterm demographics.  
[From GCA Scholarship website]

How to apply for a GCA Scholarship

The GCA offers more than 28 merit-based scholarships and fellowships in 12 academic areas.  Visit the GCA Scholarship website page for more information on the scholarships available and the application process unique to each one.  

Visit the GCA Scholarships website →

GCAC Scholarship

Phipps Botany in Action 

GCAC funds one Botany in Action scholar annually.

Toby Liss BIA 2017.jpg

Toby Liss, the 2017 GCAC Botany in Action Paula Sculley Scholar, will study The Role of Plant Assemblage Diversity in Evapotranspiration: A Novel Application to Enhance Green Roof Funtion.  Drought, intense sun, wind stress, and shallow, rocky, infertile soils – these are the hallmarks of a “marginal” plant habitat.  Yet far from being barren wastelands, marginal habitats actually support highly diverse groupings of rare plants.  Rooftops experience similar harsh conditions, but have received little attention as potential habitat for rare plant species.  Furthermore, using diverse plantings of extremely resilient species will likely improve green roof aesthetics and function.  Eliminating stormwater runoff by retaining it in the soil and returning it to the atmosphere through plants (evapotranspiration) is a key function of green roofs that can reduce the damages associated with excessive stormwater runoff, making urban landscapes more sustainable.  However, the plant species often used on green roofs do not maximize this essential function.  Stress-adapted plants may improve green roof performance; novel and charismatic plantings on high-profile green roof projects could encourage wide adoption of this approach.  In this project, novel combinations of marginal plant species will be planted in green roof modules and the amount of water that enters (precipitation) and exits (runoff) will be measured.  By calculating the difference between precipitation and runoff, the ability of different mixtures of plant species to minimize stormwater runoff can be compared, leading to measurable improvements in green roof performance.

Visit Phipps Botany in Action website →



Audubon Society of Western PA
"Citizen Science on the School Ground," a school-focused program where students create a wildlife garden that benefits people and native species.

Nine Mile Run Watershed Association
Advancement of green infrastructure in coordination with Pittsburgh Job Corps Center.  

Pittsburgh Botanic Garden
Installation of a public education exhibit including a native plant rain garden with a bridge.

Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy
Planning and design of the Native Plant Discovery Gardens at the Frick Environmental Center.

Student Conservation Association
Funding for a Community Youth Program to support a recreational camping trip in Allegheny National Forest, and for a Point Park Conservation Crew to hire 10 Pittsburgh high school students to help restore the landscape, remove invasive species and trash, and maintain the GCAC Bioswale.

Tree Pittsburgh
Integration of youth services and educational programs into the community tree nursery program.


Camp Guyasuta Weatherbug Station
In conjunction with KDKA, installation of a weather data collection station at the camp which will allow thousands of area participating school children to access the data for incorporation into their science programs, and also support a summer co-ed STEM science camp. 

Hampton HS Memory Garden
A garden on the ground of Hampton HS to commemorate alumni, and incorporate horticultural education opportunities for current students. The GCAC Grant will fund engraved brick(s) for the memory walkway.

Italian Garden Project

Penn State Extension Master Gardener's Conference
For 20 years, this group has held a speaker's series, and with the proceeds, implemented a multitude of community horticultural services, and educated thousands of local citizens annually with outreach programs and community food gardens.  The GCAC Grant will underwrite the cost of the conference speaker honorarium.

Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens
Support for Botany in Action Grantees

Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy & Student Conservation Association
Joint project to renovate an 87-acre park south of the city in a blighted neighborhood, and make it a safe, usable, and attractive green space for a number of neighborhood programs. A plan to strengthen the ongoing Urban Ecostewards program is incorporated. 

Rodef Shalom Biblical Garden
Funding for garden of authentic plants representing Paradise imagined through the ages, from the "Hanging Gardens of Babylon" and the Egyptian pleasure gardens, to the Renaissance.  


Aspinwall Riverfront Park
To create one large fully planted circular “raindrop” garden to show case native plants and educate the public about them. Appropriate interpretive signs will be used within the garden to educate the public about native plants.

Fern Hollow
To be used to develop Phase II of The Outdoor Classroom at FHNC.

Grow Pittsburgh
To support Edible Schoolyard Pittsburgh, an in-school gardening program that is geared towards grades K-5.

To pilot a new initiative “Knot on Lots” to test the feasibility of using Japanese Knotweed as a feedstock for locally produced paper products and biochar that can serve as a soil amendment while engaging the community in vacant lot cleanup and product production seminars.

Lawrenceville Greenscapes Initiative
To be used to provide window boxes for homeowners in Lawrenceville who have been denied trees through TreeVitalize.

Neville House
For historically accurate and non-invasive plant materials for landscape enhancements and improvements to the grounds of Woodville Plantation.

Phipps Conservatory
To fund one Phipps-GCAC Botany in Action fellow for one year.

Pittsburgh Botanic Garden
To create one 400 square foot native plant rain garden and featured bridge to educate the public on the importance of native plants and the role of rain gardens. 

Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy
To support the planning and design of the Native Plant Discovery Gardens, part of the $15,950,000 Frick Environmental Center (FEC) project.

Student Conservation Association
To Support for the recreational trip component of the 2014 Community Youth Program, allowing 90 crew members and 18 crew leaders to camp over a long weekend in Allegheny National Forest.


Phipps Botany in Action  
To support plant-based research funding for a PhD student conducting research as a Phipps-GCAC BIA Fellow.

Tree Pittsburgh
To integrate youth service-learning and public education activities into its community tree nursery program.

Carnegie Museum of Natural History (CMNH)/Maple Tree Research
To support research, conducted by Dr. Cynthia Morton, to analyze the genetic diversity of maple tree populations in the Pittsburgh area.

Allegheny Land Trust
To create a Master Plan for the complex 180-acre former Pittsburgh Cut Flower property that ALT has under contract to purchase.

Nine Mile Run Watershed Association
To support a project, in coordination with the Pittsburgh Job Corps Center, to further advance the use of green infrastructure.

Western Pennsylvania Conservancy
To support Phase II implementation work of the Fort Pitt Tunnel Garden; the upper-most bed on the airport-side of the Fort Pitt Tunnel.

Reformed Presbyterian Home
To support the beautification of a portion of RPH’s frontage and to expand the horticultural interest of their residents and the broader community.

St. Margaret Foundation
To support the purchase of plant material to be used to establish the new Garden of Hope.


Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy
For the Hill House Park Volunteer Program.

Allegheny Landing
To support the restoration of Allegheny Landing Park.

Pittsburgh Botanic Garden
To enhance the Dogwood Meadow.

GTECH (Growth Through Energy and Community Health)
To support the planting of 3 sunflower gardens on blighted, vacant City of Pittsburgh lots.

The Neighborhood Academy 
To support the purchase, planting and related signage of native tree species and to help start two edible schoolyard gardens.

Sewickley Restoration Branch of The American Chestnut Foundation
To support the planting of 300 seeds at the Sewickley Heights Borough Park.


Garden Club of America Garden History and Design Scholarship Fund at the Smithsonian Institution

Garden Club of America Centennial Project
Contribution to the Dene Summer House landscape at the 69th street entrance to Central Park in NYC.

Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy
For the planting and maintaining of the stone planters at Schenley Plaza in Oakland.

Student Conservation Association
For the summer conservation crews with Pittsburgh area students.

The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy
For perennial plantings in 16 Pittsburgh neighborhoods.


Frick Park Environmental Education Center

Botany in Action

Camp Guyasuta
For materials to complete the loop trail over Guyasuta Run.

Planting material for a Therapy Garden in Swissvale.

Allegheny Commons Initiative
For the Urban Park Sustainable Landscape Plan for the Northeast Fountain Beds.

Grow Pittsburgh 
For an intern to develop the volunteer component of a Garden at every school.

Friends of the Riverfront 
To complete matching grant with DCNR Growing Greener for the expansion of the Three Rivers Heritage Trail to connect with the Montour Trail via the county’s Sports Legacy Project.

Powdermill Nature Reserve
For the Educational Brochure describing the Marsh Machine Project.


Botany in Action

Sponsor keynote speaker Richard Louv’s author of Last Child in the Woods, for the 2008 PPC Urban Parks Seminar, Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy

Edible School Yard through Grow Pittsburgh (two additional gardens and durable supplies for Pittsburgh Montessori and Colefax schools)

Informational Brochures on Sycamore Island in the Allegheny River, Allegheny Land Trust

Botanic Garden of Western Pa.
Native Tree Planting Project. (5 year plan with a seed to tree of native provenance)


Rachel Carson Centennial Celebration Play Sense of Wonder

Old Economy Spring Workshop

Botany in Action 

Sewickley Riverfront Park Walnut Landing Allee of Elm trees, a joint project with Village Garden Club

Student Conservation Association's 50th anniversary summer work projects in the National Parks

Planting of Native Trees, Osborne Trail and Park, Inc.

Winterscape Project, Osborne Trail and Park, Inc.


Family Naturalist Program, Fern Hollow Nature center in Sewickley

Design Entrance Corridor, Botanic Garden of Western PA

Powdermill Nature Reserve’s Marsh Machine (Seminar Series Certificate Program)

Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) (marketing campaign)

Grow Pittsburgh’s Summer Youth Employment and Outreach Program

Zone IX Horticultural Restoration Fund


London Planetree DNA Research Project, Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy/ Carnegie Museum of Natural History

The Magic Penny Memory Garden, Good Grief Center/Persephone Project

Wall Restoration and Park Preservation, The National Aviary

Phase One Landscape Management Guidelines (LMG) Project, Riverlife Task Force
Landscape History, The Frick Art & Historical Center

Regent Square Gateway Project, The Nine Mile Run Watershed Association

Emergency Flood Grants, Friends of the Riverfront/Montour Trail Council
Montour Trail Council (trail repair after hurricane)

Botanic Garden Invasive Species Control, Horticultural Society of Western PA/ Student Conservation Association

Botany in Action


Medicinal Plants Research Project, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy Project (volunteers program implementation)

Allegheny Commons: Visitor’s Guide to the Park’s Trees

Small Flower Show at the Andy Warhol Museum (partnered with Village G.C.)


Medicinal Plant Garden - Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens


STEP Two: Botany in Action for assistance to botanical research


Allegheny Commons Landscape Restoration Project


STEP One Conference (Solving Today’s Environmental Problems) International conference attended by 1200 registrants, promoting the ideal that individuals can make a difference in solving Earth’s environmental problems.

Earth Partners for the development of middle school planting projects and environmental education curriculum

STEP One Outreach, in collaboration with WQED to distribute Step One conference materials nationally


Restoration of the Outdoor Garden, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens


Master landscape design for Mellon Park and a GCAC pledge to underwrite The Upper Garden in the park


Operation Better Block—Homewood-Brushton neighborhood cleanup project

Neighborhood Gardens Project—Manchester & Central Northside with Brown Chapel AME, Flower Box Project


The Jennie King Mellon Rose Garden, Mellon Park is established


Restoration of Old Economy Village gardens

Commission of the Broderie Room, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, hiring noted architect Ralph Griswold