Pine Road Fund
Charles Denby was "Mr. Pittsburgh Symphony," a nickname he earned for his role in elevating the symphony to one of the finest and most highly respected in the world.
A longtime resident of Sewickley, he was a partner in the law firm of Reed Smith Shaw & McClay until his retirement in 1970. In 1969, Charles established the Pittsburgh Symphony Endowment to serve as a depository for financial gifts and grants to give the symphony a solid financial base. The endowment successfully raised millions of dollars in support of the orchestra.
He also successfully persuaded the Heinz family to provide Heinz Hall as the symphony's permanent home, a place befitting of its growing international status.
When he left the Symphony Society board in 1974, the orchestra was financially solvent with money in the bank.
It's a point of prestige, "a psychological matter", for the city of Pittsburgh's stature to have such an orchestra as a way to establish itself and attract industry to the region, he once said. Losing the symphony would be as devastating a loss as losing the Pirates or the Steelers.
Charles was born in Tientsin, China, where his father served as a diplomatic official. He lived with his family in China, Germany and Vienna before returning the U.S. at the start of World War I. A graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Law School, Charles served as a law clerk to the late Oliver Wendell Homes, Justice of the Supreme Court, early in his career. He moved to Pittsburgh in 1939.
In addition to his fundraising work with the symphony, Charles was active in civic affairs, serving the old Community Chest, YMCA, Public Charities Association, Family Service Association and American Service Institute.
The Pine Road Fund was established by Charles and Rosamond Reed Denby.
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