Grant Oliphant named President&CEO of The Pittsburgh Foundation
PITTSBURGH, Pa., Feb. 11, 2008 – Grant Oliphant was today named the new President and Chief Executive Officer of The Pittsburgh Foundation. Oliphant, 47, will move to the region’s community foundation from The Heinz Endowments, where he is Vice President of Programs and Planning.
The Foundation’s Board of Directors announced their decision following a four-month search process that included consultations with a broad representation of Pittsburgh’s community and business leaders. “I am delighted to welcome Grant as head of the organization,” said George A. Davidson, Jr., Chairman of the Foundation’s 14-member Board.
“Grant has done an extraordinary job with The Heinz Endowments, and he has significantly advanced its critical missions within our community. He is an accomplished and dynamic leader and a collaborative manager and he is deeply and passionately dedicated to the overall wellbeing of our community, especially to those who are underserved and under-represented.”
Oliphant, who was selected at a special meeting of the Board today, is the fourth President in the Foundation’s 63-year history. He succeeds Dr. William Trueheart, who retired in September 2007 after nearly six years service with the organization.
“I am both humbled and exhilarated to be chosen to lead The Pittsburgh Foundation,” said Oliphant. “The Foundation has a unique and central role in our community and I look forward to working with its outstanding staff, Board and its invaluable partners and constituents to tackle the many significant issues facing our region. I believe passionately in the cause embodied by this great philanthropic institution.”
Nearly 100 applications were received for the position, mostly from individuals within the southwestern Pennsylvania region but including approximately 20 from outside the region. Initial interviews were conducted with 15 candidates, of whom four were from outside the Pittsburgh region, before a short list was prepared by the Search Committee which comprised six members of the Foundation’s Board of Directors, chaired by Jim Roddey.
The search was led by Pittsburgh-based recruitment firm, Dewey&Kaye. Part of the process involved a series of meetings undertaken by the Search Committee with a specially formed advisory group of 26 community, business and nonprofit leaders in the Pittsburgh region to seek their views and guidance on the appointment of the Foundation’s new President and CEO.
“The feedback we received was consistent and invaluable, not only from the perspective of shaping our search process and final selection but also in obtaining views about the important issues in our community and how the Foundation might best address those needs,” said Jim Roddey. “The clear message we received was that the Foundation needed a visionary leader who understood Pittsburgh and who had a proven track record in philanthropy. The candidate pool was extremely strong, and in Grant Oliphant we have an individual who is ideally suited for this position.”
Oliphant currently manages the Endowments’ $60 million annual grantmaking portfolio, and undertakes a leadership role in guiding special task forces promoting civic design, school reform and stronger links between environmental stewardship and economic development.
He is also responsible for strategic planning, and led the organization’s board and staff through a major review and refocus of its strategic orientation and grantmaking priorities. As Corporate Secretary, he serves on The Heinz Endowments’ Investment and Budget committees, which guide management of the organization’s assets and expenditures.
Oliphant joined The Heinz Endowments in 1993 as Director of Communications for the organization, together with the Heinz Family Philanthropies and Teresa Heinz. He served as Press Secretary to U.S. Sen. John Heinz from 1988 until the senator’s untimely death in 1991. Prior to his service with Sen. Heinz, Oliphant was founding editor of American Politics, a monthly political magazine.
Oliphant is chair emeritus of the Board of the Communications Network, a nonprofit membership organization that promotes strategic use of communications as part of effective philanthropy, and he serves on the boards of Grantmakers for Effective Organizations, Riverlife Task Force where he is also a member of the Executive Committee, Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and Grantmakers of Western Pennsylvania where he is a member of the Public Policy Committee and a past Chair of its Communications Committee.
He has served on a wide range of charitable boards, including Grantmakers Evaluation Network, Pennsylvania Partnership for Children and the National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance.
Oliphant received a Masters of Science Degree in Organizational Development from Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business and a Bachelor of Arts from Swarthmore College. He lectures frequently on communications, leadership and organizational dynamics.
The Pittsburgh Foundation is one of 650 community foundations in the United States and is the 14th largest with 1,200 individual endowment funds and assets of more than $750 million. The foundation awarded grants of approximately $35 million in 2007.
For further information, contact:
Vice President for Communications