The Pittsburgh Foundation’s new 5-year strategic plan commits to creating “a vibrant, equitable and just Pittsburgh that supports everyone,” Lisa Schroeder, president and CEO, said.
It acts on lessons from the community foundation’s emergency response to the pandemic — and data indicating a lack of progress in eliminating longstanding inequities that have held back many communities in the region.
The Pittsburgh Foundation on Tuesday held a late morning community event at Catapult Culinary’s space at Allegheny General Hospital Suburban Campus in Bellevue to introduce the plan. It includes investing $50 million of the foundation’s unrestricted grantmaking pool to advance racial equity and racial justice. By 2027, at least 50% of its unrestricted grants will benefit organizations led by and serving Black, Indigenous and People of Color communities. The plan also was designed to increase more diverse community input on multiple levels and to accommodate the needs of nonprofits who receive funding.
Schroeder and board members Bill Strickland, Anne Lewis and Jack McGinley were joined by donor Michelle Sandidge, community partners Tammy Thompson of Catapult Greater Pittsburgh, Rev. Paul Abernathy of the Neighborhood Resilience Project and Kyle Webster, general counsel for ACTION-Housing, who shared experiences and shed light on the new plan.
“Our new strategic direction provides a roadmap for how we can grow and improve our collaborations,” Schroeder said.
Connectivity, focus and cutting to the chase so resources more quickly reach those who need help most — hallmarks of how the foundation operated effectively during the pandemic — are coming into play in new ways.
“We are shifting our focus to multi-year operating support so that not-for-profits can focus and do their best work and worry less about where the support will come from,” said Strickland, chair of the board’s program committee at The Pittsburgh Foundation.
Abernathy called the multi-year funding “an absolute game changer.” He said the plan provides “the possibility for new regional perspectives on issues that have plagued our community for such a long period of time.”
Strickland introduced five discretionary grantmaking areas, providing some additional detail. “Some will be familiar, but others are new,” he said. “We seek to … move this community from surviving to thriving.” The foundation said it adjusted strategy grantmaking to better serve the community, putting increased emphasis on funding organizations that support the following areas:
In the past five years alone, the foundation’s donors and its holders of designated, scholarship and agency funds have given a total of $173 million to a wide range of causes across the region.
“Our daily experiences enable us to identify areas of compelling community need,” said McGinley, who is board chair. “That experience informs our formulation of this strategic plan.”