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A 'What Works' approach to poverty

PittsburghFoundation Blog - Tue, 06/10/2014 - 13:21

The following OP/ED by Kevin Jenkins was originally pubished in the June 6, 2014 Pittsburgh Tribune Review.

State Rep. Dave Reed is on the right path, headed in the right direction, to reduce poverty in Pennsylvania.

Best Selfie Ever

PittsburghFoundation Blog - Wed, 03/26/2014 - 13:50

By Grant Oliphant

I loved Ellen DeGeneres' famous Oscar selfie. But if that was the "best selfie ever," this tribute version--taken at the end of last night's WTAE-TV program/telethon, "Living Like Lou" -- is the coolest. The man and woman behind it, our force-of-nature donors Neil and Suzanne Alexander, are using Neil's struggle with ALS as a platform to combat the disease and help those suffering from it.

What Can I Do?

PittsburghFoundation Blog - Fri, 03/14/2014 - 16:41

By Grant Oliphant
President and CEO

I had the pleasure of attending a conference this morning on ending gender-based violence. The featured presenter was Jackson Katz, whose presentations on this subject have become an online sensation. Katz’s basic contention is that it is up to men to stop dismissing domestic and other gender-based violence as a “women’s issue” and to embrace it for what it is: a man’s issue.

Help fight hunger in our community: The Pittsburgh Foundation launches major appeal

PittsburghFoundation Blog - Tue, 12/10/2013 - 12:59

 By Grant Oliphant
President and CEO
The Pittsburgh Foundation

Congratulations to Patrick Dowd -- a perfect fit for Allies for Children

PittsburghFoundation Blog - Tue, 06/18/2013 - 13:06

By Grant Oliphant
President and CEO

Pittsburgh City Councilman, Patrick Dowd has earned the respect and admiration of our community for getting important things done. Over many years, he has demonstrated his dedication to an ethos of fairness, collaboration and inclusiveness while working tirelessly to help make Pittsburgh a better place for us all.

So I was delighted to learn that Patrick has been chosen to lead a new local nonprofit organization, Allies for Children, that has been formed to take on the critical and challenging issues of child advocacy.

Day of Giving: Minor changes now but possibly more to come

PittsburghFoundation Blog - Tue, 05/21/2013 - 20:56

by Grant Oliphant
President and CEO
The Pittsburgh Foundation

When we launched PittsburghGives and the Day of Giving five years ago, none of us envisioned the phenomenon it would become. The program has grown every year since, and all of us involved have been gratified by what our community has accomplished together. The question now is: Where do we go from here?

Let us set high expectations for next mayor

PittsburghFoundation Blog - Thu, 04/11/2013 - 20:10

By Grant Oliphant
President and CEO
The Pittsburgh Foundation

There’s a somewhat cynical assessment of America’s democratic election system that suggests we get the government we deserve. It speaks more to the all-too-frequent bouts of apathy on polling days than it does about the skills, vision and competency or otherwise of our election candidates.

Grant Oliphant's Charitable Deduction Testimony

PittsburghFoundation Blog - Thu, 03/07/2013 - 12:53

Grant Oliphant, The Pittsburgh Foundation’s President and CEO, submitted the following written testimony calling for the existing charitable tax deduction to be safeguarded. His testimony was presented to a hearing on the Itemized Deduction for Charitable Contributions, House Committee on Ways and Means, U.S. House of Representatives in February, 2013

Congressman Camp, Ranking Member Levin, and other Committee members, thank you for this opportunity to provide written testimony on the deduction for charitable contributions as part of the Committee’s work on comprehensive tax reform.  Especially, I would like to recognize members Jim Gerlach, Mike Kelly, and Allyson Schwartz, from my home state of Pennsylvania.

For the past five years I have served as President and CEO of The Pittsburgh Foundation, the 13th largest community foundation in the United States.  During this time, we have experienced consistent growth in terms of annual fundraising and currently The Pittsburgh Foundation’s assets are approximately $900 million.  This growth would not have been possible without the generosity and commitment of our donors and in 2012 alone, our donors gave $12.7 million from their funds at the Foundation to support the vital work of over 1,100 nonprofit organizations throughout the Pittsburgh region.  This was in addition to the $44 million in grants provided by The Pittsburgh Foundation to strengthen charitable programs in our local community to improve health care services, safeguard and develop educational opportunities for our children, enhance the arts and cultural activities, and provide human services programs to support the region’s most vulnerable citizens as well as addressing key issues concerning the well-being of our environment and economic development.

I highlight this information at the start of my testimony because unlike private or corporate foundations, community foundations serve a unique and significant role in philanthropy, a role that would be endangered, I believe irrevocably, by any reduction or elimination of the charitable tax deduction, which by its very creation was designed to help facilitate community-based charitable giving that is so well represented by The Pittsburgh Foundation.

No cheating on charters: We must be honest about the performance of our schools

PittsburghFoundation Blog - Fri, 02/01/2013 - 19:36
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette February 1, 2013 12:14 am

To members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly

PittsburghFoundation Blog - Tue, 01/08/2013 - 15:58

January 7, 2013

To members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly:

Pennsylvania’s community foundations are universally dedicated to improving the quality of life in communities around the Commonwealth.  Each year we distribute tens of millions of dollars in grants to organizations addressing a wide range of issues in our state.  By administering funds entrusted to us in exactly the way the donor specified, we have an enormous impact on the places where Pennsylvanians live and work.

The Charitable Deduction: Who Really Benefits?

PittsburghFoundation Blog - Wed, 12/19/2012 - 14:34

Kevin K. Murphy
President, Berks County Community Foundation

Living inside the Washington beltway must be a profoundly disorienting experience. Maybe there's something in the Potomac River, maybe it's just too much time in the world's most self-absorbed echo chamber, or maybe it's just the pressure of too much traffic. Honestly, I don't know.

One Young Pittsburgh

PittsburghFoundation Blog - Wed, 10/24/2012 - 18:44

By Grant Oliphant
President and CEO
The Pittsburgh Foundation

Day of Giving exceeds hopes and expectations

PittsburghFoundation Blog - Fri, 10/05/2012 - 16:27

by Grant Oliphant
President and CEO

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette today reported that I consider myself a “lousy prognosticator.”

And it’s true, I do.

As we approached the Day of Giving event this week, all of us at The Pittsburgh Foundation were energized and excited by the enthusiasm and feverish expectation that was building among donors and nonprofit organizations. But I had my doubts that we would raise much beyond the $6.4 million received in contributions last year.