Pittsburgh Glass Center, Inc.:
Helping Nonprofits Build Capacity
Pittsburgh Glass Center (PGC) is a school, gallery, and state-of-the-art green glass studio, one of only a few public access glass art centers in the U.S. PGC drives economic development in its East End neighborhood and strives to partner with other organizations in the nonprofit sector. For example, PGC shares a chief financial officer with four other organizations and is part of an arts capitalization collaborative. Because of its history of collaboration and productive use of capacity-building resources, PGC was a natural choice to serve as the fiscal agent for a capacity-building pilot project undertaken
in partnership with KPMG.
When the Foundation launched its online application portal in December 2018, the application included a questionnaire around the capacity needs of each potential grantee in six key areas: leadership, financial management, facilities, systems, strategy, and organizational realignment. Collecting this data helps the Foundation understand the issues that limit the performance of both individual grantees and the nonprofit sector as a whole. To date, the more than 200 self-assessments completed by grantees indicate a need for assistance across the board.
However, fewer organizations in the region offer capacity-building assistance for these agencies. In addition, the small number of consultants—especially for projects in the $10,000 to $25,000 range—remains a challenge. Large consulting firms, however, have both the expertise and the desire to work in this sector.
To address this gap, Foundation staff approached KPMG, the leading provider of professional services to the “development sector,” with a unique inquiry: if the Foundation combined six to eight grantee projects, would the engagement opportunity be attractive to the firm? In response, KPMG provided the Foundation with a proposal to work with up to eight nonprofit organizations on their most pressing capacity issues, which the Foundation is funding with a grant of $150,000. PGC will serve as the fiscal agent for the project, reducing the need to recommend grants to eight individual organizations.