The Pittsburgh Foundation

Wish Book FAQ

How to Apply

If you’re a nonprofit with questions on how to apply for consideration for the next Wish Book, please review the FAQs. The next Wish Book application period will open in mid-2020.


  • What is the Wish Book?

    The Wish Book is a hard–bound, printed book that is mailed to the Foundation’s donor community every November. Organizations selected for inclusion in the Wish Book will have a short description of their mission and a tangible wish of $3,000 or less published in the book, giving donors an opportunity to learn about and support regional nonprofit organizations.

    • What is an eligible wish?

      Criteria for eligibility:

      • Preference given to organizations not in last year’s book.
      • Only one wish can be submitted per organization.*
      • A wish must be for a tangible item and not for general operating or program support.
      • A wish cannot exceed $3,000.
      • Full funding of a wish is not guaranteed.
      • Must be located in Allegheny, Westmoreland or Butler counties or provide at least 75% of services in these counties. Exceptions may be made depending on circumstances. For questions about eligibility, please contact us.


      *A wish may be comprised of multiple items. Please choose items that you will be able to purchase even if partial funding is received.

    • What is NOT an eligible wish?

      The following will not be considered for funding:

      • General operating support.
      • Salaries, stipends (including internships), teachers or instructors.
      • Professional development.
      • Office furniture and supplies.
      • Transportation, such as bus tickets, cab fares or parking.
      • Fundraising materials (refreshments, pamphlets, mailings, events, etc.).
      • Tickets for events or grantmaking.
      • Marketing costs (including websites, signage or ad costs).
      • Memberships, tuition or conference support.


    • What is the overall application process?


      • The next Wish Book application period will open in mid-2020.



      • Internal committee of Foundation staff reviews applications for completeness in late August.
      • A rotating selection committee of Foundation donors makes final selections by early October.



      • 75 organizations are selected for inclusion in the book and all organizations are notified of the final decision by early October.
      • In early November, the book is printed and mailed to the Foundation’s donor community.
      • The Pittsburgh Foundation accepts requests from donors on a rolling basis between November and March. At the end of March, the project is closed, and nonprofits are notified that the granting period for Wish Book has ended.
    • What are the application questions?

      Below are the application questions and the information you'll need to complete it.

      1) Your organization's name.

      2) Mission: One sentence description of your organization’s work. This is the first sentence that the reviewers will read, so make sure it describes what you do.

      3) Budget: What is your organization’s budget for the current fiscal year?

      4) Into which category does your wish fall: From these categories, please select the category that best characterizes your wish.

      • Arts, Culture and Humanities.
      • Community Development and Environmental Stewardship.
      • Education.
      • Families, Children and Youth.
      • Health and Special Needs.
      • Human Services.


      5) Description of Wish: Please describe the item(s) you are requesting and how these items will help you fulfill your mission. Include who will be served by these items and why they are needed. Your description is used to create the final paragraph that will appear in the book if your organization is selected.

      6) Wish List Template/Cost: Please use the Excel spreadsheet provided in the application to calculate the total cost of your wish. Organizations generally ask for funding between $1,000 and $3,000. Please round up to the nearest dollar. You may ask for up to four items. Please round down when your wish covers only part of an additional item- for example if $3,000 purchases 6.6 beds, ask for 6 beds.

      7) Population served by this wish: Describe briefly which people will be served by this wish if it is fulfilled.

      8) Overall population served: Tell us who and how many people your organization serves each year.

      9) Photo upload: Please attach a high quality .jpeg image that is representative of your organization’s work. This image may be included in the book that is printed and mailed to donors. Please ensure that you own any rights to the image that you are uploading. Make sure that the file is a .jpg. We cannot accept Word documents, PowerPoint documents or .PNG images.

    • May I see sample application answers?

      The following is meant to be a guide as you structure and frame your application.

      1) Organization Name: ABC Organization

      2) Mission:ABC Organization provides free childcare for parents returning to school to receive their high school diploma or post-secondary training.

      3) Budget: $55,000

      4) Into which category does your wish fall: Families, Children and Youth.

      5) Description of wish:At ABC Organization, we provide free childcare for parents returning to school to receive their high school diploma or post-secondary training. Parents who participate in the program are all low-income, struggling to pay for child care costs while they forgo a salary in order to ultimately create a more secure and independent future for their children. At ABC, we provide as many basic supplies as we can. Traditionally, when a parent enters our program, we provide them with a year’s supply of baby bottles. We received a large shipment of bottles as a corporate overstock donation five years ago, but that supply has run out. As a result, we have had to ask parents to buy their own bottles. We are asking for 100 6-packs of 9 oz. BPA bottles for infants in our free childcare program. By granting this wish, you help these parents focus more of their resources on attaining an education and achieving independence for their families.

      6) Wish List Template/Cost: 100 six-packs of 9 oz. BPA-free bottles @ $2,400.

      7) Population served by this wish: Low-income parents with infants in ABC’s free child care program.

      8) Overall population served: Each year, ABC Organization provides free child care for 500 parents who are going back to school.

      9) Photo Upload.

      See an example of a previous Wish Book (PDF).


    <Back to Wish Book home

    If you have any questions about Wish Book, please contact Christy Stuber at 412-394-2646 or stuberc [at]