The Pittsburgh Foundation

Basic Needs Definitions


We seek to support programs and services that assist low-income individuals and families to obtain enough food. Specifically, we are interested in supporting the following toward addressing food insecurity: 

  • Neighborhood-based food banks and food pantries.
  • Meal delivery programs. 
  • Farmer’s markets. 
  • Community gardens and farms. 
  • Summer, weekend and after-school meal programs. 
  • Programs that assist eligible families with applying for benefit programs that provide access to food, such as SNAP and WIC. 


We seek to ensure equitable access to quality child care. We are specifically interested in supporting the following: 

  • Subsidies for children and families experiencing poverty to increase access to quality child care providers. 
  • Investments to help centers maintain high quality care and support quality improvement. Activities can include, but are not limited to, culturally-responsive programming, parent engagement, curriculum and classroom materials. 
  • Resources and advocacy to stabilize the child care workforce and support providers’ ability to attract and retain staff, including and not limited to increased wages, benefits and professional development opportunities. 
  • Programs that offer respite and emergency care and child care during non-traditional hours. 
  • Informal child care networks, such as a babysitting co-op. 


The Foundation supports culturally-responsive out-of-school time programs that promote academic achievement and whole-child development. Specifically, we primarily seek to support:  

  • Activities that offer advanced skill development opportunities and/or certifications. 
  • Tutoring and homework assistance. 
  • Opportunities to build relationships between schools and families. 

We are also interested in programs that work to maximize student learning time, reduce chronic absenteeism, offer evidence-based mental health supports, serve immigrant or refugee students, students with disabilities, LGBTQIA students and students experiencing housing insecurity. Programs must occur at least twice each week. 


We aim to support the mental health needs of residents by ensuring access to quality, affordable and culturally responsive mental health services, and both formal and informal community supports.  

Specifically, we are interested in programs that: 

  • Connect people with formal helping systems, such as community based mental health centers or credentialed providers.  
  • Connect residents with informal peer and/or volunteer-led mental health supports. 
  • Minimize the stigma associated with mental illness.  
  • Reduce the need for crisis services. 
  • Support social/emotional well-being, especially for single mothers, by reducing isolation and fostering supportive connections with peers. 
  • Address the social, financial, logistical and systemic barriers that prevent individuals and families from accessing care and lead to inequitable quality-of-life outcomes by race/ethnicity, gender/gender identity, (dis)ability, etc. 


Specifically, we are primarily interested in programs and services that: 

  • Ensure access to high quality, timely, affordable, physical, dental and visual primary health care services. 
  • Increase health equity by reducing the social, financial, logistical and systemic barriers that prevent individuals and families from accessing care and produce disparate quality of life outcomes by race/ethnicity, gender/gender identity, (dis)ability, etc.  


Through our grantmaking, we are interested in services and activities that:  

  • Support or fill gaps in a county-wide eviction prevention system for those earning less than 50% AMI that includes rental, legal and resource navigation services, mediation, landlord and tenant education and tenant advocacy. 
  • Expand service coordination or fill service gaps for those living in transitional housing and/or facing unexpected loss of housing. This includes programs providing housing navigation, furniture storage and moving expenses. 


We are specifically interested in services and activities that: 

  • Offer comprehensive assistance for adults and include interest and skill assessments, soft- and hard-skill development, employer and human service partnerships, job placement with wages of at least $13.00 an hour and at least six-month follow up. 
  • Align with career pipeline programs and local industry partnership strategies targeting technology, health care, financial services, advanced manufacturing and construction activities. 
  • Provide age-appropriate youth programs that include life and social skills training, career exploration or career planning with work-based learning such as employer visits, job shadowing, adult career mentoring, internships, summer youth employment, occupational skills training, pre-apprenticeships, industry recognized credentialing and employment in targeted industries. 
  • Seek to identify and implement best practice/innovative strategies that support single parents, people with justice system involvement and people in recovery.