The Pittsburgh Foundation, Heinz Endowments, Richard King Mellon Foundation, and Hillman Family Foundations have announced commitments totaling up to $10 million in support of coronavirus response efforts in southwestern Pennsylvania.
The four largest foundations in the Pittsburgh area will provide $4 million to create an Emergency Action Fund and up to $6 million for aligned, coordinated efforts to help address the impact of the COVID-19 virus on residents of the region. The foundations, which are assessing needs in consultation with Allegheny County, will streamline internal approval processes and award grants quickly to organizations providing essential human services, healthcare support, and economic assistance, with priority given to those directly affected by the curtailment of economic activity, school operations, transportation options, daycare services, and government programs.
The first round of rapid-response grants will address the economic impact of reduced and lost work due to the outbreak, the immediate needs of economically vulnerable populations caused by closures and cancellations related to the virus, and increased demand for medical information and healthcare services. The Pittsburgh Foundation, which is hosting the fund, will waive all processing fees on individual donations.
"We are in uncharted territory gauging the full societal harm that will be caused by the COVID-19 virus and by the necessary suspension of most activities of daily life across our region to combat it. We hope that the public will donate generously to this effort," Pittsburgh Foundation president and CEO Lisa Schroeder and United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania president and CEO Bobbi Watt Geer said in a joint statement. "The establishment of the Emergency Action Fund is the first step from our sector in developing a recovery plan for the long term. Philanthropic organizations in our region have a wide range of strategies and values that govern their giving, but through this fund we come together as one, with one goal: ensuring rapid and effective assistance for the most vulnerable and other COVID-19 response needs as they arise."
"The launch of this emergency fund is only the beginning, with initial commitments by Pittsburgh's philanthropic cohort designed to help with immediate and urgent need," said Heinz Endowments president Grant Oliphant. "We will continue to monitor the situation and we will respond as the situation develops."