Name of Foundation: The Pittsburgh Foundation
Contact info: www.pittsburghfoundation.org
Phone: (412) 391-5122
Coverage Area: Pittsburgh
Subject Area: Community life in the Pittsburgh area (education, healthy children and families, affordable housing, civic engagement, healthy communities, arts)
Assets: $905 million (2012)
Last Year Total Giving: $43.5 million (2012)
In a nutshell:
The Pittsburgh Foundation was established in 1945 by leaders in business, finance and civics to address the needs of the local community. The foundation is one of the oldest community foundations and remains the 14th largest in the nation. By 1960, the foundation had 79 funds, worth over $10 million. Today, the foundation has more than 1,800 individual donor funds and, together with its supporting organizations, assets of just over $900 million.
The foundation has had a flexible mission from the start that has been guided by the individual donor and the changing needs of the community. In its early years, the Foundation spread its limited resources to a wide variety of community agencies—from universities and hospitals to YMCAs and YMHAs, settlement houses, camps, Boy and Girl Scouts, fellowships in social work, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and theaters. The Foundation’s support also helped create the nation’s first educational television station, WQED, in 1953.
Today, the foundation focuses on issues around persistent poverty, racism, regional economic vitality, and a satisfying quality of life for every individual. A new strategic plan was recently adopted by the foundation’s Board of Directors. The plan introduces three new funding guideline categories: Self Sufficient Individuals and Families, Healthy Communities and A Vibrant Democracy.
The Self Sufficient Individuals and Families program area, includes education, affordable housing, public transportation, healthy children and adults and job development. The Healthy Communities program area includes ecological issues, the creation of safe communities, cultural and racial diversity, creative arts and the encouragement of excellence in civic design. A Vibrant Democracy includes civic engagement and the research and dissemination of information around critical community issues, designed to inform and shape public policy.
The foundation has been led by President and CEO, Grant Oliphant since 2008. Mr. Oliphant came to the foundation from the Heinz Endowments. Under his leadership, the foundation has launched numerous initiatives including the Pittsburgh Promise Scholarship Program, a college access program for public schools students. He also helped create the Legacy Fund, creating the vehicle for the Foundation to invest its own assets. As well as PittsburghGives, an on-line giving and research portal that has raised $13.5 million in two years for local nonprofits with special Day of Giving events.
List of Pittsburgh Foundation Funds
How to Apply:
The Pittsburgh Foundation comprises several types of funds that award grants in different ways. Donors have created funds to support designated agencies; to provide scholarships to students who attend specific schools; to support medical research and to address specific fields of interest. The Foundation does not accept proposals for designated/donor advised funds.
Some donors have established endowed funds where the charge of the Foundation’s Board of Directors is to “meet community needs as they arise.” These funds are known collectively as The Pittsburgh Foundation Community Endowment.
To apply for a Community Endowment grant, applicants are encouraged to send a Letter of Inquiry that includes a brief statement about the organization, the proposed project, its intended results and a general idea of project costs.
The applicant will receive an electronic notification that the Letter of Inquiry has been received and a Grant ID number has been assigned. Program staff will review each Letter of Inquiry; a process that could take six to eight weeks to complete. At that point, applicants will either receive an invitation to submit a full proposal or feedback regarding why the proposal could not be funded.
To learn more about the foundation’s grantmaking process, click here.