Funding Programs:

Economic Development


The Problem

The region’s economic prosperity is hindered by a widening gap in economic opportunities among residents and education systems that are not keeping pace with what the workforce of the future needs to compete in the innovation economy.

Our Vision

A region that is an engine for economic growth and vitality by investing in the ingenuity and creativity of its population, enhancing individuals’ economic prosperity, and strengthening our sense of community.

Investment Areas

Three primary areas of focus

Funding through the Foundation’s Economic Development program is focused in three Investment Areas: Talent Development. Employment Opportunities. And Community Building.

Talent Development

Employment Opportunities

Community Building

Request for Proposals


Apply for a Grant

Our application portal is open and accepting grant applications for funding through its Economic Development program. All applicants should apply using the General Application.  Applications may be submitted on a rolling basis.

Requests for Proposals:
The Foundation periodically issues Requests for Proposals in specific areas of its Strategic Plan.  Learn more Apply Now

Our Impact

In 2021, the Foundation awarded 57 grants and investments totaling $287,027,503 to advance its Economic Development strategy, including the two largest grants in Foundation history—$150 million to Carnegie Mellon University and $100 million to the University of Pittsburgh. Both grants will be paid out over 10 years.

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ: Economic Development

It is unlikely that you can meet with a program officer before submitting. In general, program officers are not available for a discussion until after a proposal has been submitted. You can also email [email protected] with questions.

The first step is to check your organization’s tax status and verify that you are eligible to receive philanthropic funding. After that, you can submit an application through our online portal. We will only consider applications submitted through this portal.

You will immediately receive an email confirming that your application was successfully submitted. There are not specific timelines associated with the review of a funding application.

The Foundation normally has Board meetings in the Spring, Summer and Winter.

Questions about a declined application may be submitted via email to[email protected]. The Foundation aspires to reply to all inquiries but, given the volume of applications the Foundation receives, we cannot commit to answering every such inquiry.

The Foundation is generally not providing multi-year grants at this time. The majority of our grants are twelve to eighteen months.

Yes, the Foundation provides general operating support for organizations that are not postsecondary institutions or research institutions.

In the application, you will encounter a question about the type of support that you are seeking. You can select from the following options: Capital Support; General Operating Support; Land Acquisition; Project Support.

Yes, you can include indirect expenses in your proposed budget if your organization is not a postsecondary or research institution.

We define indirect expenses as those expenses categorized as “Management and General;” “Administrative and Management;” or “Fundraising” according to the IRS and FASB functional expense allocation guidelines.

For organizations that are eligible to receive support for indirect expenses, we do not have a recommended ratio.

The Foundation will not fund ideas that include regranting to individuals. The Foundation may fund applications that include regranting from a lead agency to other agencies who are identified in the submission as participants in a collaboration. In this case, the regranted funds are solely to support the collaborative activities described in the submission. We will consider ideas in which organizations provide technical assistance in areas where they have expertise or are working with pre-identified partners, who will then assist with the implementation of the proposed project. 

The two programs focus on different populations and have different goals. The goal of the Economic Mobility program is to improve the social, economic and academic outcomes of children and young people, aged 0 through 24, who are living in poverty. The goal of the Economic Development program is to foster the economic prosperity of the Pittsburgh region. Investments within the Economic Development program’s Talent Development and Employment Opportunities areas focus on adults aged 18 and above. Both programs require that services and activities occur within Allegheny and Westmoreland counties.  

Arts and culture organizations are pivotal economic drivers in the region. The Foundation has historically focused on enhancing the cultural experience in Downtown Pittsburgh, but will also consider applications from organizations outside of Downtown that support the region’s economic development. 

To receive Foundation funding for an Economic Development application, the initiative needs to focus on economic development in Allegheny or Westmoreland counties. If your organization has an idea to economically activate lands the Foundation has historically conserved to promote sustainable rural economic development, please consider applying through the Foundation’s Conservation program.  

Yes, we consider applications from organizations that are not based in Allegheny or Westmoreland counties. In your application, you should be clear about why and in what ways the project will serve economic development in these counties.   

Yes. You may submit an application if your company is based anywhere in the United States. Unfortunately, we are not able to entertain applications from companies not incorporated in the United States. For ideas focused on Economic Mobility, Economic Development, or Health & Well-Being, if your company is located outside the Pittsburgh region, please be sure to address within the application how your idea will positively impact Allegheny and/or Westmoreland counties. If your proposal is related to our Conservation program area, the positive impact you seek to generate can be anywhere in the United States. 

Any questions about the application may be submitted via email to [email protected]. We will be responsive to all thoughtful inquiries.