Foundation moves office to support new strategic plan
PITTSBURGH (May 23, 2023) – After being headquartered for nearly 30 years in Pittsburgh’s iconic PPG Place, The Pittsburgh Foundation will move to a location overlooking the Allegheny River in the Central Business District. The new home will be the top two floors of 912 Fort Duquesne Blvd., an Elmhurst Group office building between the David Lawrence Convention Center and the Creative And Performing Arts magnet school (CAPA).
The decision follows through on an assessment that Downtown is the best place for the Foundation to conduct business and welcome visitors as it begins implementing a strategic plan announced Jan. 31.
The space will enable more community convening and collaboration with stakeholders to help realize a new vision of working to achieve an equitable and just Pittsburgh region. “The coincidence of the Foundation’s current lease expiring just as work on our plan was beginning presented an opportunity to align our workspace to our new strategy,” President and CEO Lisa Schroeder said in announcing the move. “We were able to explore the ways in which a location change could expand our outreach and also meet practical needs such as an attractive, flexible work environment and enough space to comfortably accommodate all staff.”
Among the activities that Foundation leaders believe will be significantly supported in the new building is stakeholder and public convening. Also, ground-floor conference rooms and expansive, column-free spaces will increase opportunities for the collaboration called for in the strategic plan. Additional space provided over the two floors will provide sufficient workspace for staff added over the last decade. The Foundation’s lease is for 15 years.
“The main goal of the move is to have stronger connections with donors, grantees and leaders in the civic, business and government sectors,” Schroeder said. “From the first tour of the Fort Duquesne Boulevard building, it was clear that it would deliver on key design qualities such as fixed offices mixed with open space, natural light and beautiful views of the rivers and the cityscape that all visitors will enjoy. We’re thrilled to have found accommodations that so closely match our programmatic needs in a location accessible to highways and public transportation with pedestrian access to the Cultural District.”
The Fort Duquesne Boulevard corridor ties into other sections of Downtown and city neighborhoods and provides easy navigation to expressways.
The Foundation had many years of success being headquartered next to PPG Plaza, a beautiful environment that includes a water feature in warm-weather months and a popular ice rink in the winter. “But we realized that shifting to the new workplan would require more convening space, more room for staff and more access points for visitors,” said the Foundation’s Chief of Staff, Jennie Zioncheck. She led the year-long search and will manage the design and transition processes. “We have a wonderful opportunity with the work going forward to create a space that enables staff to be productive and also enjoy the environment.”
Bill Hunt, president and CEO of Elmhurst, the 45-year-old real estate and hospitality services investment firm, is a former board member of the Foundation and a donor. His parents, Dr. Richard and Priscilla Hunt, established a fund in 2015.
“We are pleased and proud to be working with the Foundation to create new office space that will help it contribute even more to improving quality of life in the region,” he said. “We believe that staff and visitors will get a lot of energy from that section of Downtown, which already is a center for public gatherings and learning. And the Foundation itself will have more visibility. It will be a wonderful addition to the block.”
To fulfill the vision for a Pittsburgh region that supports everyone regardless of race or other aspects of identity to thrive and fulfill their potential, the Foundation made a commitment in January to invest $50 million of the unrestricted grant-making pool over the next five years to advance racial equity and racial justice with the projected outcome that at least 50% of unrestricted grants will benefit organizations led by and serving Black, Indigenous and People of Color communities.
“We’re proud to have supported The Pittsburgh Foundation in finding a space that will help achieve the goals outlined in their strategic priorities and also fulfill the needs of their employees,” Geoff Greco, senior vice president with JLL, the real estate services provider representing the Foundation in the search, said at the lease signing. “We appreciate the opportunity to help an organization that is so deeply embedded in communities throughout the region and focused on creating more opportunities for those dealing with inequity. It is a very exciting period for the Foundation and great news for the city of Pittsburgh.”