The Pittsburgh Foundation

Nearly $6 million in grants approved at year-end meeting

Four community leaders join Board this month as new directors

PITTSBURGH, Jan. 31, 2019 – The Program & Policy Committee of The Pittsburgh Foundation Board of Directors approved $5.9 million for 53 grants in its fourth-quarter grant-making cycle. Twenty-one of these grants totaling $2.3 million directly align with the Foundation’s 100 Percent Pittsburgh organizing principle, which seeks to provide opportunity to the 30 percent in our region who are left out of the economic renaissance. Other strategic grants bolster First Amendment freedoms of expression and of the press, or provide mental health supports for new mothers.

“These grants demonstrate the commitment of our board and staff to making sure that quality of life improves for most vulnerable neighbors, particularly those who live in economically underserved communities, youth ages 12-24, single women raising children, and racial or ethnic groups disproportionately affected by poverty,” Maxwell King, president and CEO of The Pittsburgh Foundation said in announcing the grants from the Board’s December meeting

In other action, the Board unanimously approved the appointment of four new directors who represent a broad cross-section of Pittsburgh community life. Beginning their three-year term this month are:

  • Laura Ellsworth, a Pittsburgh-area lawyer for 40 years, who now is the first partner-in-charge of Global Community Service Initiatives at the law firm of Jones Day, where she spearheads the Firm's rule of law initiatives around the world. She has also served in volunteer leadership roles at the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce, the Three Rivers Workforce Investment Board and the United Way Women’s Leadership Council.
  • William Generett Jr., vice president for community engagement at Duquesne University, where he develops relationships with community organizations, local governments and civic organizations to strengthen the university's partnerships and help fulfill its mission of service. Prior to this, he was president and CEO of Urban Innovation21, a unique public-private partnership started in 2007 by Duquesne, the Hill House Economic Development Corporation and UPMC Health Plan.
  • Rev. Glenn Grayson, pastor of Wesley Center AME Zion Church in the Hill District, where he uplifts the disenfranchised in his community. He is founder of the Center that C.A.R.E.S., which provides more than 2,500 students and their families with recreation, education and services in the Hill District and surrounding communities. He also founded the Jeron X. Grayson Center for youth in memory of his son who died from gun violence.
  • Kamal Nigam, an engineering director for Google Shopping, and a co-founder and site lead for Google’s 500-person Pittsburgh office. He currently serves on the boards of Riverlife and the Pittsburgh Technology Council. He previously served on the board of the Council of Better Business Bureaus and was an adjunct faculty member at the Machine Learning Department at Carnegie Mellon University.

Notable grants in this cycle include:

  • $150,000 to Allegheny Health Network as a two-year grant to support the Mother-Baby Intensive Outpatient Program at West Penn Hospital in Bloomfield. Under the umbrella of the Women’s Behavioral Health Program, the outpatient program offers many services to assist mothers with their needs, including group therapy, childbirth education and infant massages. The program will also offer mental health assessments and screenings of children in the child care program.
  • $46,394 to Breathe Pennsylvania* to fund the Taking Asthma Control to School Project, which aims to reduce childhood asthma. The project is geared toward students and parents to educate them about how to best manage the symptoms of asthma. Students will be administered daily asthma control medication at school. Along with their families, they will participate in education sessions led by school nurses and health professionals from local hospitals about preventative measures against the disease.
  • $100,000 to City of Asylum Pittsburgh to expand free, year-round arts and cultural programming for artists and community members. City of Asylum was founded in 2004 to support writers seeking sanctuary from exile and has since included Pittsburgh artists in its focus. The organization now seeks to engage a diverse audience and allow artists to showcase their work without institutional barriers such as limited marketing or outreach. 
  • $80,000 to Life’s Work of Western Pennsylvania* as a two-year grant to increase the number of youth with disabilities receiving meaningful employment. Life’s Work of Western Pennsylvania annually assists 2,000 individuals with disabilities to secure employment. The organization is particularly interested in helping youth ages 14-21 through its Pre-Employment Transition Services, which highlights independent living, self-advocacy, job exploration and workplace readiness training.
  • $750,000 to The Pittsburgh Promise* to contribute to its scholarship fund, which supports Pittsburgh Public School students who meet eligibility requirements by rewarding them up to $5,000 per year for four years of post-secondary education. Since its inception in 2007, the Promise has funded over 8,000 students with more than    $121.2 million in scholarships. High school seniors who are eligible may also become Promise Ambassadors to their peers and receive opportunities to network with regional employers for internships or employment.
  • $75,000 to Providence Connections, Inc.* to subsidize the cost of child care for low income families in its early childhood education program. Providence Connections has served residents and families in the North Side since 1994 and provides programming that focuses on helping them to achieve economic self-sufficiency. The organization makes a commitment to ensure that at least 80 percent of children in its early childhood education program are from low- to moderate-income families.
  • $250,000 to PublicSource for operating support. PublicSource is a local non-partisan, nonprofit, digital-first media organization that has won numerous journalism awards on the state and regional levels. Past investigative projects include Let’s Talk About Race, a community-driven journalism project discussing racism and racial equity and Three Rivers Rising, a look into Pittsburgh’s Climate Action plan and its effectiveness. In 2019, PublicSource will focus on its efforts on bringing attention to other social justice issues in the region such as evictions, minimum wage and police brutality and accountability.

*This is a 100 Percent Pittsburgh-related grant.


Doug Root