LAWMAKERS ADVOCATES RESEARCHERS NONPROFIT LEADERS FORMERLY INCARCERATED PEOPLE The Pittsburgh Foundation takes a stand on issues affecting the most vulnerable. By Ryan Rydzewski W H E N T H E P I T T S B U R G H F O U N D AT I O N ’ S directorofpublicpolicyandadvocacy, KhalifAli,firsttouredtheTradeInstituteofPittsburghin2016,heremembers thinking it was “perfect.” Since its founding in 2009, the Institute had helped hundreds of men and women — the clear majority of whom had been incarcerated — land living-wage jobs. Its renowned 10-week training programnotonlytaughtconstructionandmasonryskills,butalsoprovided counselors, caseworkers and other supports for students. Its graduates took jobs paying $15 an hour or more, transforming families and saving taxpayers more than $10 million as recidivism rates plummeted. The Institute was so successful, in fact, that it “almost seemed too perfect,” says Ali, jokingly. But there was a catch: Many of the higher-paying, benefit-providing jobs that Institute students train for also require a driver’s license. And in Pennsylvania, people who’ve been incarcerated can lose their licenses even fornonviolent,nondrivingoffenses.SteveShelton,theInstitute’sfounderand executive director, estimates that nearly 70 percent of his students come in with suspended licenses — an issue that affects their earning potential and threatens their self-sufficiency. Getting those licenses restored, he told Ali, couldmakethedifference“betweenjustscrapingbyandmakingasolidliving.” The story stuck with Ali and his Foundation colleagues. “Here were individuals transitioning out of the criminal justice system who wanted to change the circumstances of their lives,” he says. “We found it very disconcerting that people who’ve made that sort of commitment would be denied an opportunity to do better for themselves and their families.” SubsequentresearchanddiscussionsledtheFoundationtopubliclysupport the legislative package that would repeal the state’s automatic driver’s license suspension for many nonvehicular offenses. The Foundation, along with a coalition of nonprofit organizations and orchestrated one- on-onemeetingswithlegislators,supportedatargetedsocialmediacampaign, PHILANTHROPY MEETS ADVOCACY DRIVINGPOLICY CHANGEFOR SOCIALGOOD A skyward look at the Pennsylvania State Capitol’s 272-foot, 52 million-pound dome, inspired by Michelangelo’s design for St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. 29 RE PO RT TO TH E CO MMU N ITY THE PITTSBURGH FOUNDATION