The Pittsburgh Foundation

Arthur J. and Gladys E. Edmunds Fund

Established: 12/3/2008

Arthur Edmunds believed every American deserved an opportunity to pursue the American Dream. He devoted his life to this calling as a pioneer in the Pittsburgh civil rights movement.

A native of Des Moines, Arthur began his career working for the Urban League in both Flint, MI. and St. Louis, MO. He came to Pittsburgh in 1960 where he led the Urban League as Executive Director for 25 years.

During his time there, Arthur grew the Urban League of Pittsburgh from a small organization with a staff of nine to a $2.5 million operation employing 150 and serving 10,000 clients a year. It was considered one of the finest leagues in the country.

He lived nearly 50 years in Pittsburgh, devoting his life to numerous organizations in the region that encouraged diversity and equal opportunity for all. In 1963, he helped organize a group that led the march on Washington, D.C. where Martin Luther King delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech.

A down-to-earth, highly focused leader who preferred to remain out of the limelight, Arthur understood the importance of reaching across racial and civic divides, working closely with many local leaders such as Elsie Hillman, the late Sen. John Heinz and former Gov. Richard Thornburgh to achieve his goals.

Arthur was actively involved with The Pittsburgh Foundation, WQED, West Penn Hospital, NAACP, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western Pennsylvania (now Highmark) and Federal Home Loan Bank.

The fund supports improvements of economic and social conditions of minority groups of color in the greater Pittsburgh area.

Arthur died on Oct. 5, 2008, at the age of 86. His legacy is celebrated as part of the Freedom Corner, a monument that stands on the corner of Centre Avenue and Crawford Street in the Hill District, a living legacy to all those who have sought and are seeking justice and equality for all.

Type of Fund

  • Advised