The Pittsburgh Foundation

Grant FAQs

Below are questions and answers about how to apply, grant award amounts, eligibility criteria, etc. If your question is not addressed, please reach out to your program officer directly. 




Q: What types of funding does the Foundation provide?

A: Recognizing that nonprofits need flexible support that allows them to adapt to changing community needs, we offer applicants the opportunity to apply for two types of grant support:

  • Project/Program Support:  Funds are used to develop and/or implement a specific set of programmatic activities. These grants are usually time-bound and aimed at achieving specific goals and milestones.
  • General Operating Support: Funds can be used at the discretion of the organization to cover any costs necessary to carry out its mission. This means that the grant award can be used to cover day-to-day activities or ongoing expenses such as administrative salaries, rent and office supplies, etc., as well as for program costs, software and hardware purchases and professional development. Learn more about general operating support eligibility.  

Q: How are funding decisions prioritized for applicants?

A: We know that nonprofits’ funding needs almost always exceed the grant dollars available. Of the average 600 applications the Foundation receives each year, only about half receive funding.  

We will prioritize funding for organizations that reflect one or more of the following:

  • Organization and/or project leaders are representative of the communities they serve.
  • Intentionally serves Black, Indigenous and people of color communities (BIPOC), and/or addresses intersection of race with other groups that experience marginalization (i.e., LGBTQIA, disability, women, age, immigration status, etc.).
  • Proposes work that advances racial justice (please review our definition).
  • Organization has an established history in the communities in which it works.

Q: Can I apply for a grant from a donor-advised fund?

A: Applications are not accepted for donor-advised funds. Donors work with the Foundation to direct grants based on the donors’ areas of interest. 

Q: Do all grants have the same application deadlines? 

A: No. The best way to find out what the timeline is for the grant program you're interested in is to visit the Grant Opportunities page to see all our available grant opportunities -- the grants that are open and accepting applications are listed at the top of the page. Grant programs that are not currently open to applications are listed at the bottom of the page. 

Q:  What should I do if my project is not completed by the final report deadline, or I still have funds remaining at the end of the grant period? 

A:  We understand that projects cannot always be implemented on the timeline originally proposed by the grantee and that project needs may change. We strongly suggest that you contact your program officer as soon as you determine that a change to the proposed timeline or budget is necessary. You may be eligible for a no-cost extension which will allow you to extend the end-date for your grant or a budget modification which will allow you make necessary changes to how the grant funds are allocated for the proposed work.



Q: Does the Foundation make grants to projects without a 501(c)(3) designation? 

A: To qualify for grant-making support from Foundation's discretionary funds, your nonprofit organization must bed esignated by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) organization. If your organization does not have 501(c)(3) status, you may apply utilizing a fiscal sponsor. Learn about our Foundation's fiscal sponsorship guidelines.

Q: Does the Foundation make operating support grants to organizations utilizing a fiscal sponsor? 

A: No. To qualify for an operating support grant, your organization must be designated by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) organization.

Q: What does NOT qualify for funding from the Foundation?

A: We do not provide funding for the following:

  • Organizational start-up support.
  • Statewide or national organizations unless they have an established local office or chapter that meets the above eligibility criteria and priorities.
  • Projects that expressly advocate for or endorse a specific candidate for elected office.
  • Annual appeals or event sponsorships.
  • Episodic and/or one-time programs and events.
  • Capital expenses and/or campaigns.
  • Direct funding for individuals (except individual artists).
  • Payments on organizational debt.
  • Costs and activities that are completed before a requested grant has received a decision from our board.
  • University overhead costs.
  • Single-disease support organizations.
  • Educational scholarships. Learn about the Foundation’s scholarship program.
  • Academic Research.  

Q: Are individuals eligible for grant funding?

A: With the exception of scholarship awards and individual artist award programs, grants are ONLY awarded to 501(c)(3) charitable organizations.




Q: How much grant funding is awarded annually?

A: Grant information for 2022 is currently being calculated. 

Q: What is the average grant amount awarded and duration of the grant?

A: The Foundation provides grants across a range of dollar amounts. We encourage applicants to apply for the amount they believe is necessary to successfully complete their work. A general range of grant funding is as follows:

  • One-year grants generally range from $10,000 to $75,000.
  • Two-year grants will generally not exceed $150,000 due to limited availability of funds. 
  • Actual grant amounts are determined based on staff review of each individual application and consideration of the funding available at the time the application is received. 

In limited situations, proposals that align with one or more of our focus areas and with racial justice, and that clearly demonstrate the need and potential impact, may be considered for a larger grant.

Organization leaders should have a conversation with a program officer before submitting a request for more than $150,000. 


Q: How does my nonprofit organization or charitable project apply?

A: The first step is to establish a single organizational profile. The grant portal will maintain a record of your organization’s application history, which your organization may access any time. Before you start the setup process, we recommend that you carefully read the instructions and watch this video tutorial about how to create an organizational profile. If you are unsure whether your organization already has an organizational profile, or need assistance at any point of the process, please contact Emily Rousseau, Grants Manager, at rousseaue [at] (rousseaue[at]pghfdn[dot]org)

Learn more about how to apply

Q:  What happens after my grant application is submitted? How is it reviewed? 

A:  After your application is submitted, it is assigned to a program officer who conducts a due diligence review which includes, but is not limited to, an assessment of alignment with our grantmaking guidelines, financial stability and feasibility of the project plan.  Based upon this review, the program officer makes a recommendation to either approve or decline the application for funding which is then presented to the full Program department for further consideration.  Once consensus is reached among the Program staff, a final recommendation is drafted to present to the Program and Policy Committee of the board which makes the final decision on all requests for funding submitted to the Foundation. The timeline from application deadline to grant decision is approximately three months on average.  

Q: We received funding from the Foundation last year. May my organization reapply for a grant this year?              

A: Generally, an organization will not be eligible to apply for a new grant until 12 months after their final report has been submitted to the Foundation. Grantees wishing to be considered for a grant before the end of their 12-month waiting period should contact their program officer before submitting a new application. 

In most cases, we will not provide more than four years of consecutive funding to a grantee. 

Q: What browser should I use?

A: When accessing our online grant portal, we suggest using one of the following browsers: Google Chrome 14 or higher, Firefox 9 or higher, or Safari 4 or higher.  Internet Explorer is also acceptable, but you may encounter some minor technical issues.

Q: How do I delete a file that I have uploaded to the application?

A: There are two ways to remove an upload file from an application:

  1. After the file has been uploaded, a delete button will appear below the file name. Clicking DELETE will remove the file.
  2. To replace the file, a new file can be uploaded in its place. Simply upload the new file to the question and the old uploaded file will be erased.

Q: Can I upload more than one file in an upload field?

A: You may only upload a single document in response to an upload question. If you have more than one file to upload, files must combined into a single file prior to uploading. 

Q: Why am I having trouble uploading a file?

A: Check the following: 

  1. File names – remove extra periods, or replace them with a dash or underscore character and check the length.
  2. File size – files that exceed the maximum file size limit will cause an error. Compress the files before uploading.

Q: We have misplaced our login information. How do we retrieve it?

A: If you cannot locate your password, return to the online grant portal and select the "forgot password" link on the home page. If you cannot locate any of the login information for your organization, please contact us at grants [at] (grants[at]pghfdn[dot]org) to retrieve your organizational profile information.  

Q: My organization is applying for two different grants using two different applications. Do I need two organizational profiles?

A: No. You should only create one profile per organization. The online grant portal will save all of your applications in a logical and chronological order so that you can return and review past requests.

Q: How do I see the status of my request for funding?

A: Log on to the online grant portal and you'll see the status of your request(s) on the organizational dashboard screen. 


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