Effective and sustainable partners are key to solving complex social, economic, and environmental challenges, yet the nonprofit and public sector has chronically underfunded investments in organizational capacity.
Our partners will have the organizational strength and agility to pursue big ideas and take risks in service of accelerating achievement of their strategic priorities.
Four primary areas of focus
Leadership and Governance
- Diverse, high-performing leaders
- Collaboration and access to networks
- Board development and engagement
Priority: Diverse, high-performing leaders – Attracting and retaining diverse, high-performing leaders who have the vision and capacity to pursue big ideas and risks
Priority: Collaboration and access to networks – Access to effective communities of practice and collaboration among nonprofit leaders, and stronger networks and collaborations across the region
Priority: Board development and engagement– Fostering collaborative, future-oriented boards with the necessary expertise to provide effective oversight
Human Capital Management
- Talent acquisition and retention
- Diversity, equity and inclusion
- Competitive nonprofit career paths
People are what make nonprofit organizations go – however, resources for investing in the growth and development of the nonprofit workforce are limited. Organizational capacity, turnover, burnout, and other challenges plague the nonprofit sector. Through the Human Capital Management investment area, the Foundation aims to support our nonprofit partners in attracting and retaining high-performing staff and investing in their organizational culture, with a focus on creating diverse, equitable, and inclusive organizations. We aim to support the development of competitive nonprofit career paths within organizations and the sector as a whole. The Foundation’s priorities within the Human Capital Management investment area are below.
Priority: Talent acquisition and retention – Attracting and retaining high-quality talent with needed expertise
Priority: Diversity, equity, and inclusion – Fostering organizational cultures and processes that result in diverse, equitable, and inclusive organizations and improved diversity, equity and inclusion across the region
Priority: Competitive nonprofit career paths – Attractive nonprofit career paths that are competitive with other opportunities in Southwestern Pennsylvania.
Strategy and Learning
- Culture of learning
- Impact measurement
- Adaptive strategy
- Resilient, balanced financial structure
Nonprofit organizations operate in complex environments, requiring nimble and adaptive strategies to achieve impact over time. Through the Strategy and Learning investment area, the Foundation aims to support nonprofits in developing organizational strategies and resilient financial structures. We aim to support investments in impact measurement and an adaptive approach, facilitating continual learning over time. The Foundation’s priorities within the Strategy and Learning investment areas are below.
Priority: Culture of learning – Creating an organizational culture of learning that values data-driven decision making in creating and executing strategy
Priority: Impact measurement – Creating an organizational ability to measure and articulate impact
Priority: Adaptive strategy – Generating organizational strategies that reflect the complexity of the challenges being addressed, ensuring experimentation and flexibility in identifying creative solutions
Priority: Resilient, balanced financial structure – Identifying operating models that are right-sized for an organization’s strategy, with resilient, balanced funding.
- Brand strategy
- Contemporary storytelling
Effective communication defines, cultivates, and understands important audiences, allowing organizations to build relationships, deploy influence, and increase impact. We aim to support nonprofit organizations in crafting high-quality brand strategies and telling their stories effectively through contemporary channels. The Foundation’s priorities within the Communications investment area are:
Priority: Brand strategy – Brand strategy that enhances the effectiveness of both an organization’s advocacy and its ability to rally others to support its work, yielding meaningful ongoing organizational returns
Priority: Contemporary storytelling – Replicable means of crafting and distributing the organization’s brand through contemporary channels, e.g., digital media
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. There currently are four pending RFPs – two in the Economic Development program area, and two in the Economic Mobility program area. Those pending RFPs can be reviewed here.
Historic RFPs can be submitted at any time through our General Application.
Apply for a Grant
The Foundation approved 21 Organizational Effectiveness grants in 2021, totaling more than $2.6 million.
FAQ: Organizational Effectiveness
Only nonprofit or public sector organizations that have received general operations or project support funding within the past three years are eligible for Organizational Effectiveness grants.
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.
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.