Foundations plan to complete merger by end of 2010
-- Initiative receives major support from R.K. Mellon Foundation
PITTSBURGH, Pa., Aug. 25, 2010 – Work to align the operations of the Community Foundation of Westmoreland County (CFWC) with The Pittsburgh Foundation will be completed by the end of 2010 following approval of the merger of the organizations by both the Orphans Court of Westmoreland County and the Attorney General’s Office of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
The merger became effective on July 1, and teams from both foundations have developed a detailed program to combine the administrative, operational and technological processes of the organizations, scheduled for completion by the end of 2010.
The initiative is designed to strengthen CFWC’s grantmaking impact while enhancing services for donors and increasing support for nonprofit organizations. As part of The Pittsburgh Foundation, CFWC will continue to operate under its own name with its dedicated staff and with guidance from its own advisory board.
Already, the merger has received significant support from the Richard King Mellon Foundation which awarded a grant of $400,000, of which $200,000 is to help fund the costs of finalizing the merger and the remaining $200,000 will contribute to boosting CFWC’s grantmaking to nonprofits in the Westmoreland region.
“We are delighted to support this exciting venture which has the real potential to elevate substantially CFWC’s presence in serving as a key agent for positive transformation in the Westmoreland community,” said Scott Izzo, Director of the Richard King Mellon Foundation. “CFWC will benefit greatly from The Pittsburgh Foundation’s expertise, experience and considerable strength in further developing its fundraising activities and maximizing its grantmaking impact in the Westmoreland region.”
At the same time, the merger supports The Pittsburgh Foundation in its mission to maximize its regional philanthropic impact. “County lines are artificial boundaries when it comes to human, social and cultural needs, and a key benefit of this partnership is the expansion of The Pittsburgh Foundation’s regional footprint,” added Scott Izzo.
Regular updates are being provided to CFWC’s donors and to regional nonprofits about the merger implementation program. In the immediate term, donors have been advised that the alliance provides a robust new investment platform and they are being contacted by CFWC staff about transitioning their funds to this platform.
Also, most CFWC donors will experience a decrease in their administrative fees, from an average of 1.5 percent to an average of one percent. (Scholarship funds will remain at approximately 1.5 percent in line with The Pittsburgh Foundation’s fees for scholarship funds). The new fees will become effective at the start of the new calendar year, on January 1, 2011.
R.K. Mellon’s grant more than doubles CFWC’s pool of funding for discretionary grantmaking. Its total grantmaking for 2009 was $1.14 million, but of this, less than $150,000 was available for unrestricted funding. In addition, The Pittsburgh Foundation is proposing to award another $150,000, further boosting CFWC’s discretionary grantmaking pool.
In concert with leading local nonprofit organizations, plans are currently underway to build Westmoreland Gives, a state-of-the-art on-line resource and giving tool, replicating the successful initiative, Pittsburgh Gives, unveiled by The Pittsburgh Foundation last year.
CFWC will commit $50,000 of its unrestricted grantmaking pool as matching dollars for a Westmoreland Day of Giving on December 1, 2010, challenging individuals and organizations to support their favorite nonprofits with on-line donations. “We hope this will produce a day of unprecedented giving in our county,” said Kirk Utzinger, CFWC’s Executive Director. “We will be announcing more details about this in the coming months.”
CFWC is currently finalizing its revised grantmaking strategy, scheduled for implementation in 2011, seeking to maximize its impact through targeted and inclusive funding to nonprofits in the following areas: basic needs, education, health and well-being, economy, arts and culture, neighborhood and communities, and environment.
“Our over-arching purpose is to strengthen communities, promote positive change and to address overlapping community issues in partnership with our local nonprofit organizations,” said Kirk Utzinger. “Our alignment with a community-based resource powerhouse like The Pittsburgh Foundation will add valuable resources and momentum to our efforts to address priorities in our broad community.”
“These are truly exciting and innovative times for philanthropy in our region, and our merger also represents something of an historic initiative for the charitable sector nationally,” said Grant Oliphant, The Pittsburgh Foundation’s President and CEO. “Our guiding principals are to constantly seek to be better at what we do and the resources we provide, for our donors, our nonprofits and those who depend on them for support. This merger is an example of that.”
For further information contact:
Vice President of Communications
The Pittsburgh Foundation