The Pittsburgh Foundation

Critical Needs online giving event raises record $1.3 million

PITTSBURGH, May 26, 2017 –  Bolstered by a match pool of $657,000 from The Pittsburgh Foundation and its donors, Tuesday’s Critical Needs Alert online giving event set a record for donations, raising $1.3 million for Allegheny and Westmoreland county nonprofits to provide basic needs – food, housing, health care, child care and transportation – directly to economically struggling populations.

Between 8 a.m. and midnight Tuesday, 3,144 donations totaling $616,000 from the public poured into the donation portal. Funds will be matched at an estimated $1.07 to the dollar and distributed to the 97 nonprofits that received Critical Needs Alert donations. Matching funds were applied to contributions from $25 to $1,000.

“These record-setting donations are evidence that this community values the safety net that supports our most vulnerable neighbors,” said Maxwell King, president and CEO of The Pittsburgh Foundation. “But donors and foundations can never replace the investment by state and federal governments. We need a strong, committed partnership from Harrisburg and Washington to make absolutely sure those at the lower rungs of the economic ladder are not forgotten; and that they, too, get the chance to share in our region’s prosperity.”

Kelly Uranker, director of the Foundation’s Center for Philanthropy and manager of the Foundation’s online fundraising events, said switching from a dollar-for-dollar match to a prorated match contributed to the increase in public donations. “Unlike previous years, we didn’t see a sudden drop off in giving when match funds were depleted. Instead, we saw contributions coming in steadily up until the midnight deadline,” she said.

The Foundations decision to suspend this year’s Day of Giving event in Allegheny County is in response to increasing demands on nonprofits that provide basic services. The Critical Needs Alert also provided a way for the public to support the Foundation’s 100 Percent Pittsburgh organizing principle, which seeks to ensure that residents who live at or near the federal poverty line – at least one-third of the region’s population – have access to the region’s improved economy.

This year’s match pool was made up of $400,000 in grants from the Foundation and $257,000 from its donors. Three previous Critical Needs Alerts raised a total of $2.5 million, including match funds, and each targeted a specific area of need - food insecurity in 2013 and housing insecurity in 2014 and 2015.

Critical Needs Alert giving events align with the Foundation’s mission of improving the quality of life in the Pittsburgh region by evaluating and addressing community issues, promoting responsible philanthropy and connecting donors to the critical needs of the community.

Other opportunities to give: Funders in Westmoreland county are finalizing details for a Day of Giving event this fall. National giving programs on the horizon include Giving Tuesday, set for Nov. 28.

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