The Pittsburgh Foundation has announced a $15 million donation from Alcoa heir Richard M. Hunt and his wife, Priscilla, the largest one-time contribution from living donors in the foundation's seventy-year history.
The fund will support organizations in the Pittsburgh area and elsewhere, including the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, where the Hunts' son, Bill, chairs the board; the Southern Poverty Law Center; FamilyAid Boston; and Priscilla Hunt's alma mater, Oberlin College, where her father served as president.
A grandson of Alcoa founder Alfred E. Hunt, Richard Hunt, 89, left Pittsburgh for a New Hampshire boarding school, studied at Yale and Columbia, and since the 1950s has lived in the Boston area, where he received his Ph.D. in history from Harvard and taught for four decades. The couple wanted to give back to the city where his family made its fortune in the aluminum business, and Bill Hunt was a driving force in his parents' decision to endow a fund at the foundation. The president and CEO of the Elmhurst Group, a real estate and investment firm in Pittsburgh, Bill Hunt served on the Pittsburgh Foundation's board from 2008 to 2014.
"This is where a lot of the money was made through Alcoa and through investments in Pittsburgh-area businesses," Richard Hunt, a trustee of the Pittsburgh-based Roy A. Hunt Foundation, which was established in 1966 by his father's will, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "We want to make gifts that we think would be good for Pittsburgh, and good for the world."
The Hunts' gift reflects an increasing trend among donors to play an active role in how their wealth is directed while they are still alive, Pittsburgh Foundation president and CEO Maxwell King told the Post-Gazette. "More and more in Pittsburgh and elsewhere, donors want to have a direct impact on where their grants go," said King. "It used to be major donors would make their gifts as bequests in their wills."