The Pittsburgh Foundation

Grant Guidelines

VIDEO: Information Session

Learn about our updated funding priorities.
Watch a recent information session.

Eligibility Criteria

Please note: Each grant opportunity may have its own additional criteria for funding. 

To qualify for a grant, your nonprofit organization must be:  

IMPORTANT:  The Pittsburgh Foundation does not make grants to any organization not listed in Internal Revenue Code Section 170(b)(1)(A), including private non-operating foundations or any “disqualified supporting organizations” as defined in Internal Revenue Code Section 4966(d) (4).


Our Priorities

We know that nonprofits’ funding needs almost always exceed the grant dollars available. Of the average 400 applications the Foundation receives each year, only about half receive funding.  (See What We Do Not Fund below.)

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

  • Are representative of the communities they serve.
  • Intentionally serve Black, Indigenous, Latino and people of color communities.
  • Address the intersection of race with other groups that experience marginalization (i.e., LGBTQIA, disability, women, age, immigration status, etc.).
  • Have a mission and/or programs that seek to advance racial justice (Review our definition).
  • Have an established history in the communities in which it works.
  • Primarily serves communities disproportionately impacted by poverty.

What We Do Not Fund

  • 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.  

Types of Grants

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:



General Operating Support Questions
Program Support Questions


  • 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

Grant Duration and Amounts

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. That said, we do have some general guidance concerning our grant amounts and durations based on past grantmaking. 

  • Duration: Generally, grants will be awarded for no more than two years due to limited availability of funds.
  • Amounts: One-year grants generally range from $10,000 to $75,000. Two-year grants will generally not exceed $150,000. 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 grantmaking 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. 

Generally, an organization receiving funding will not be eligible to apply for a new grant until 12 months after completing the first and submitting a final report. 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, the Foundation will not provide more than four years of consecutive funding to a grantee organization.

Still have questions? Please visit our Grant FAQs page.