In Allegheny and Westmoreland counties, children in lower-income households have less access to opportunities that contribute to economic mobility in adulthood. Also, community-level factors create obstacles that impede some children’s pathway to economic mobility.
All children and youth living in Allegheny and Westmoreland counties will be able to access their most promising future. The Foundation invests in pathways to opportunity for vulnerable children and youth to overcome the obstacles to achieving economic mobility.
Areas We Invest In
Our investments in educational attainment serve children and youth throughout the education continuum with a greater emphasis on the purpose that education serves.
Priority: Kindergarten Readiness – Early-childhood education provides a strong start for children, with favorable effects on developmental outcomes and even on employment and earnings outcomes in adulthood.
Kindergarten Readiness Outcomes: (1) highly trained and effective early-childhood educators; (2) expanded access to high-quality early-childhood options.
Priority: K-12 Academic Performance – Elementary and secondary education teaches the foundational academic skills students need to obtain advanced degrees and jobs that make economic mobility possible. For this reason, the quality of K-12 schools is strongly correlated with geographic variation in economic mobility for children and youth.
K-12 Academic Performance Outcomes: (1) achievement in academic subjects; (2) school attendance and engagement; (3) high-school graduation.
Priority: Postsecondary Education Success – Postsecondary education includes any type of education, occupational training, or skills development that occurs after a young adult obtains a high school diploma or GED and that results in a certification, diploma or college degree. Postsecondary degrees open doors to higher-paying jobs in sectors of the economy that require skilled workers.
Postsecondary Education Success Outcomes: (1) Postsecondary education application and enrollment; (2) postsecondary education persistence and completion.
Future of Work
The future of work will require children and youth to be well-educated and cultivate a range of skills to be competitive in new industries. Helping children and youth prepare for the future of work raises their chances of experiencing upward mobility and enduring unexpected crises.
Priority: Career Readiness Skills – Career readiness skills include soft skills that employers have repeatedly identified as critical. These broadly transferable skills can be coupled with an understanding of the pathways that exist between K-12 education and different careers, to increase the likelihood that students will successfully pursue a career path.
Career Readiness Skills Outcomes – (1) mastery of social and emotional skills; (2) knowledge of industries and job opportunities.
Priority: Relevant Applied Work Experiences – Internships and hands-on project-based learning opportunities allow children and youth to gain and improve important skills. These and other career-exploration opportunities also give children and youth the chance to identify their strengths and weaknesses and to see themselves in a career. Stable employment and sustainable living wages for young adults are key steps on the ladder to economic mobility. Meaningful paid employment opportunities help youth strengthen their resumes and open the door to other better-paying jobs in the future.
Relevant Applied Work Experiences Outcomes: (1) participation in internships, project-based learning and other career-exploration activities; (2) employment and earnings.
Supportive Living Environments
Healthy family relationships, housing stability and quality, and supports that create resilience to trauma all contribute to supportive living environments for children and youth. Each of these factors helps to lay the foundation they need to access their most promising future.
Priority: Children Thriving at Home – Ensuring that children and youth can live in high-quality, safe and stable housing increases their ability to succeed academically, to increase their social capital and to thrive. Having consistent access to adequate, affordable and nutritious food is also essential for the well-being of children and youth of all ages. Consequently, the Foundation seeks to help provide supportive home environments for children, especially those children and youth experiencing homelessness or disruptive housing transitions.
Children Thriving at Home Outcomes: (1) stable homes; (2) food security.
Priority: Strong Family and Caregiver Relationships – Nurturing and responsive relationships and stable families are fundamental to children’s success. Dr. Raj Chetty’s research on economic mobility finds that family stability, as measured through a neighborhood’s percentage of single-parent households and teenage births, is one of the most important factors related to the geographic variation in whether children from underserved households experience mobility as adults. Other important measures related to family stability and children’s well-being include exposure to adverse childhood experiences and child abuse.
Strong Family and Caregiver Relationships Outcomes: (1) resilience to trauma; (2) reducing risky behaviors; (3) strengthening caregiver-child relationship quality.
Places of Opportunity
The Places of Opportunity investment area targets neighborhood-level impacts. The Foundation invests in efforts to build social capital through increasing community engagement; building community capacity to meet children’s needs; and expanding cross-community collaboration. The Foundation also will invest in opportunities to improve community spaces and reduce crime.
Priority: Connected and Safe Communities – Children and youth can have greater opportunities to experience economic mobility if they live in more engaged communities. Initiatives to increase youth civic engagement and participation in social associations can increase this community connectedness. Furthermore, communities and stakeholders need to collaborate to make the region’s economic mobility resources accessible for all children and youth. Collaboration can involve sharing missions and goals; co-creating and sharing programs and services; and partnering in systems change. Welcoming, accessible and well-maintained community spaces such as libraries, parks, community gardens and recreation centers also build children and youth’s social capital, and enhance quality of life. Finally, preventing or reducing youth involvement with the justice system is an important component of social capital. Places with less crime tend to have higher levels of neighborhood satisfaction and economic mobility. Children and youth can have better chances of experiencing mobility if they live, work and attend school in areas with less crime.
Connected and Safe Communities Outcomes: (1) Community engagement and capacity; (2) cross-community collaboration; (3) community-space improvements; (4) preventing or reducing youth involvement with the justice system.
Request For Proposals
The Foundation periodically issues Requests for Proposals (RFPs) to solicit proposals on specific subject areas of its Strategic Plan, areas that the Foundation believes are worthy of greater focus.
Our historic Economic Mobility RFPs can be viewed here:
- Addressing Learning Loss for PreK through Grade 12 Students
- Creating Economic Connectedness to Support Young People’s Economic Mobility
- Educational Attainment & Children’s & Young Adults’ Mental Health
- Educational Attainment & Pre-K Through Grade 12 Attendance
- Postsecondary Educational Attainment
While these RFPs no longer are open, applications for funding on the subject matter highlighted in those historic RFPs can be submitted at any time through our General Application.
Apply for a Grant
Requests for Proposals:
The Foundation periodically issues Requests for Proposals in specific areas of its Strategic Plan. Learn more
The Foundation in 2021 awarded 74 grants totaling $16,687,215 to advance its new Economic Mobility strategy, initiated in the Foundation’s 2021–2030 Strategic Plan.
FAQ: Economic Mobility
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.
Any questions about the application may be submitted via email to [email protected]. We will be responsive to all thoughtful inquiries.
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.
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.
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.
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.
For organizations that are eligible to receive support for indirect expenses, we do not have a recommended ratio.
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.
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.
The Foundation is generally not providing multi-year grants at this time. The majority of our grants are twelve to eighteen months.
The Foundation normally has Board meetings in the Spring, Summer and Winter.
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 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.
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.
Yes, we consider applications from organizations that are not based in Allegheny or Westmoreland counties. In your application, you should be clear about why you are interested in serving children and young adults in these counties.
We recognize that children who are economically disadvantaged reside in all communities. We foremost serve these children, regardless of the community where they live in Allegheny or Westmoreland counties. We also understand that children whose low-income household is in a middle- or upper-income community may have difficulty accessing the resources present in that community.
All three criteria (household income, age, and county of residence) are important to our funding consideration. Applicants who only meet one or two of these criteria are less likely to receive Economic Mobility program funding.
We do not require grantees to verify the household income of each child they serve. Grantees may use proxy measures to estimate the number of children who reside in low-income households. For example, if a grantee is serving a representative sample of a school population, and 70% of the students in the school are identified as economically disadvantaged, then the grantee reasonably could assume that at least 70% of the students served by the program are economically disadvantaged.
We do not have a specific definition of “low-income” that we require all grantees to use. Our grantees describe the children and young adults they serve by using widely established definitions such as free or reduced-price lunch eligibility or the federal poverty level.