Heinz Endowments commits $30 million for economic empowerment

Heinz Endowments commits $30 million for economic empowerment

Carnegie Mellon University has announced a grant of $30 million over six years from the Heinz Endowments in support of an initiative to address inequities and promote economic empowerment in western Pennsylvania.

The grant — the largest ever made by the foundation — will launch a Center for Shared Prosperity at CMU and support efforts to develop a sustainable, replicable model for community-university collaboration, with a focus on socioeconomic inequities and the well-being of people and families in the region. The grant includes funding to develop, pilot, and scale interventions identified by representatives from community organizations, residents, Heinz Endowments staff, and CMU faculty and students that address structural barriers to access and opportunity in the areas of housing, education, transportation, health care, technology fluency, and access to capital. In addition, a portion of the grant will be used to establish an endowment in support of the center's work.

"As a university- and community-wide effort, the Center for Shared Prosperity will apply a comprehensive methodology to CMU's engagement across western Pennsylvania and will leverage our unique expertise to help residents benefit from the innovation economy," said CMU president Farnam Jahanian. "The Heinz Endowments and CMU have worked together for decades on projects that support Pittsburghers, and this new initiative will expand our community collaborations at a particularly critical moment."

"Around the world, a relative handful of major research institutions, Carnegie Mellon among them, are literally inventing the future, with significant global benefits and impacts," said Heinz Endowments president Grant Oliphant. "But too rarely are local communities and complex social needs the real beneficiary or even the focus of the knowledge, creativity, and wealth-creation flowing from these extraordinary engines of innovation. We wanted to see if Pittsburgh could reinvent that paradigm, and Carnegie Mellon — with its long history of tackling real-world problems — has risen to the challenge."

(Photo credit: Carnegie Mellon University)