The Pittsburgh Foundation
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The Pittsburgh region is facing unprecedented economic, health and human services challenges in the global public health pandemic brought on by the COVID-19 virus. In response, local philanthropies have partnered to create the Emergency Action Fund, which will award operating grants on a rolling basis to emergency service providers and nonprofit organizations serving on the front lines of recovery.   Read the latest news release.

We are grateful to the individuals, family foundations, corporations and civic institutions that have joined us as contributors. And we ask you to join us as well. Every donation, no matter the size, is vital.  See gifts already made to the fund.

Pittsburgh Foundation donors also are encouraged to contribute directly to the Action Fund, and to make general operating support grants to nonprofits they know and may have assisted in the past.

Give to the Emergency Action Fund


To make a donation by check: Please make the check out to "The Pittsburgh Foundation" and mail to:  The Pittsburgh Foundation, Five PPG Place, Suite 250, Pittsburgh, PA 15222. Include a reference of "Emergency Action Fund" in the memo line. 

For Pittsburgh Foundation / Community Foundation of Westmoreland County fund holders: If you would like to contribute to the Emergency Action Fund using your donor-advised fund, please contact your donor services representative for questions and instructions. 

“Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”  -- Fred Rodgers


On March 16, we announced the creation of the Emergency Action Fund, which is managed by our Foundation and is bringing in new donations daily. Major participants include the region’s four largest foundations and the United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania, with seed funding of $1 million each provided by our Foundation, The Heinz Endowments, Henry L. Hillman Foundation and the Richard King Mellon Foundation

In a first phase of grantmaking, coordinators are working with government leaders and health providers, including the directors of Allegheny County’s Department of Human Services and its Health Department to support large-scale systems stressed to their breaking point as they work to respond to COVID-19 and meet broad community needs. Three grants have been issued to improve public health response, lessen the burden on health care systems and protect vulnerable groups:

  • A $1.1 million grant to the Allegheny County Department of Human Services to provide 150 units of temporary housing and food distribution for those unable to self-quarantine to prevent exposure and transmission of the virus;
  • A $600,000 grant to the Allegheny County Health Department to support key staffing, provide cleaning and safety supplies, and meet extra technology needs for faster delivery of medical assistance;
  • A $152,000 grant to the United Way to increase capacity of its PA 2-1-1 Southwest hotline system and its Emergency Basic Needs Fund to connect people facing hardships to services during the public health and economic crisis.

Thanks to generous public giving from Pittsburgh Foundation donors, the business community and other foundations, we have launched a second phase of grantmaking to nonprofit community organizations in crisis.

Grants ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 will be directed quickly to nonprofits in Allegheny, Westmoreland and Beaver Counties whose operations support:

  • Senior citizens services;
  • Child care services;
  • Health care needs and medical supplies;
  • Food provision during the emergency;
  • Shelter for the homeless, the elderly and those with underlying conditions;
  • Assistance to vulnerable populations under stress from the outbreak.


We at the Foundation are working with a range of nonprofits, government agencies, corporate foundations and businesses to prioritize emergency needs. Also, we are coordinating with our affiliate, The Community Foundation of Westmoreland County, and the United Way to ensure that Action Fund grants go to nonprofits providing essential human services in the three-county region. The United Way’s 2-1-1 hotline serves a 13-county area.

Based on a survey of 1,600 regional nonprofits conducted through the PA 2-1-1 Southwest system and staff interviews of nonprofit providers, the Foundation is working to identify urgent needs. Grants will be made on a rolling basis as fundraising continues throughout the outbreak to ensure that resources bring relief in real time.

Fund Guidelines grants awarded

The following is an update on the Foundation’s efforts in these areas: 

  • Working with grantees to adapt to new realities: We are working to adapt our grantmaking during this crisis. If your organization has received funding for events or convenings, please follow the latest advisories to ensure public health and safety. Contact our Program staff by email and phone if you have questions.
  • Asking grantees to provide direct deposit information: Because our staff are working at home, we will be unable to issue paper grant checks. Grantees will be asked to provide direct deposit authorization. Contact us at grants [at] to learn more.
  • Sharing public health information: We are in frequent contact with public health experts and strongly recommend that everyone refer to the Allegheny County Health Department’s website for up-to-date information on the virus’s presence in our region and how to respond to it.
  • Referring individuals and families in need to the 2-1-1 Hotline: If you or a loved one are in need of direct services, such as food, shelter or transportation, please contact the United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania's PA 2-1-1 Southwest by dialing 2-1-1, texting their zip code to 898-211, or visiting