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Supporting Organizations

Working together for a brighter future
by Deanna Garcia

As The Pittsburgh Foundation developed and launched a new strategic plan, its five supporting organizations continued work in their respective areas. With accomplishments ranging from funding scientific research, helping students attend college, creating and sustaining healthy neighborhoods, and assisting nonprofits, each supporting organization bolsters the Foundation’s capacity to build just, equitable and vibrant communities. Here are highlights from the past year.

Deanna Garcia is a Communications Officer with The Pittsburgh Foundation.

A Community Forward Digital Learning Center at the Homewood-Brushton YMCA. These provide access to free digital skills training, workforce training and hands-on learning with cutting-edge technology with a goal of removing barriers in under-resourced communities and addressing the digital equity gap in Pittsburgh.

Image courtesy of Neighborhood Allies

Neighborhood Allies

Neighborhood Allies collaborates with Pittsburgh residents and organizations to build resilient, thriving and equitable neighborhoods. In partnership with Verizon, the Community College of Allegheny County and the YMCA, Neighborhood Allies launched two new Verizon Community Forward Digital Learning Centers in 2023. These provide access to free digital skills training, workforce training and hands-on learning with cutting-edge technology. The two new spaces are located in the heart of Homewood, providing residents with vital resources in an increasingly digital world. Pittsburgh was one of four cities across the United States selected for this pilot program, which aims to reinvigorate community spaces and bridge the digital divide.

Volunteers visited Allderdice to talk to students about the Advancing Educators of Color scholarship. Students were asked to write “What makes a good teacher?”

Image courtesy of The Pittsburgh Promise

The Pittsburgh Promise

The Pittsburgh Promise announced the launch in January 2022 of a ground-breaking program, the Advancing Educators of Color scholarship. Conceptualized and funded by Debra Kline Demchak and William S. Demchak, it is now providing full-ride scholarships to add 35 Black educators to the Pittsburgh Public Schools over the next seven years. The Promise provides scholarships of up to $20,000 for college, trade school or technical school to eligible Pittsburgh Public Schools graduates. This program would furnish an additional final-dollar college scholarship, which fills the gap between the actual cost of school and the total amount of students’ scholarships and federal aid. To qualify, students must train to be educators, pursue their teaching certificate and teach in the district for at least five years following graduation. Since it began in 2008, the Promise has awarded $171.5 million to more than 11,500 students. The organization announced that its final scholarships will be given to the class of 2028.

A computer rendering of magnetically powered artificial cilia. The research will examine whether artificial, magnetic cilia could serve as a self-cleaning coating material capable of preventing bacterial contamination in biomedical devices.

Image from Advanced Science, 2021

The Charles E. Kaufman Foundation

Research in 10 projects funded this year by the Charles E. Kaufman Foundation ranges from looking broadly backward to formation of the first stars to examining microscopically individual human cells. The Charles E. Kaufman Foundation’s mission is to increase fundamental research in biology, chemistry and physics at Pennsylvania institutions of higher education. In 2022, the scientific advisory board awarded $2 million to fund 10 research projects at the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University, The University of Pennsylvania, Haverford College, West Chester University, Chatham University, Dickinson College and Pennsylvania State University. The Charles E. Kaufman Foundation has awarded 91 grants totaling $18.6 million since 2013.

The 2023 Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership summit drew more than 1,000 participants to the David L. Lawrence Convention Center Nov. 9 and 10, 2023.

The Forbes Funds

The Forbes Funds’ program, the Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership, successfully worked in 2023 to increase attendance at its biennial summit from 700 in 2021. At this year’s summit, about 1,200 participants attended dozens of workshops and panel discussions and heard several high-profile keynote speakers. Workshop topics ranged from “Selfcare: the superpower you need to prevent burnout” to “Unleashing potential: AI’s role in transforming nonprofit work.” The summit’s focus on continuing education and establishing strategic collaborations to increase organizations’ effectiveness and capacity acts as a magnet, luring nonprofit leaders from across southwestern Pennsylvania to attend. Meanwhile, the Forbes Funds continued to host the weekly Zoom community meetings that it began during the COVID-19 pandemic. It has facilitated more than 4,700 meetings with more than 39,000 participants. Topics range from strategic planning to community and grassroots advocacy and from tax preparation to bridging the racial equity divide in Allegheny County. This helps fulfill the mission that the Forbes Funds adopted in 2022, which is to help nonprofits in the region grow, thrive and lead in the communities they serve.

The Pittsburgh Foundation’s Strategic Plan launch at Catapult Greater Pittsburgh on January 31, 2023.

Image by Joshua Franzos

The Jack G. Buncher Charitable Fund

The Jack G. Buncher Charitable Fund of The Pittsburgh Foundation is dedicated to strengthening the Foundation and The Community Foundation of Westmoreland County and, by extension, the nonprofits each serves. In 2023, the Buncher fund awarded $1.6 million to the two foundations for technology upgrades and other operational needs. In addition, the Buncher fund helped support the development and launch of The Pittsburgh Foundation’s new strategic plan. Since its inception in 2007, the fund has encouraged the pursuit of ideas and innovations that unlock the potential of individuals and communities.