Community Foundation of Westmoreland County

Record $68.8 million raised to improve communities in 2021

Pittsburgh area donors follow history of giving more in tough times

PITTSBURGH, April 19, 2022 – Pittsburgh Foundation donors burnished their reputation for raising the standard of generosity in challenging times, when gifts from individuals reached a record $26.2 million last year, a 29%** increase over 2020. The total raised from all sources was $68.8 million, another record.*

Also last year, the Foundation distributed $57.1 million in grants to 2,850 nonprofits and civic institutions. The support went to a wide range of causes, including provision of essential human services, education, arts organizations and individual artists, and programs to advance medical research and public health.

Foundation officials attribute last year’s record fundraising from across the region to an awareness of the need for continued community recovery from crises that happened during the COVID-19 period. Also, many donors had more to be able to give more, thanks to stock market returns ranging from 18.7% to nearly 27% across the S&P 500, Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq Composite.

Those same returns also contributed to growth of the Foundation’s assets, which were boosted further by alternative investment opportunities such as private equity and venture capital. The result: total assets reached $1.63 billion at year-end, up $280 million from 2020.

“We’re very proud that increasing numbers of residents are realizing that our community foundation model enables them to be change-maker philanthropic changemakers at any scale,” Foundation president and CEO Lisa Schroeder said in announcing the fundraising results. “The numbers are fresh validation of an amazing record of generosity here: people dig deeper and give more broadly in tough times.”

Lindsay Aroesty, the Foundation’s vice president for Development and Donor Services, cited donor-advised fundholders’ commitment to helping the most vulnerable residents maintain housing, nutrition and other life essentials, as well as operational support to nonprofits instrumental in COVID-19 recovery as primary motivations for giving.

“What we are also noticing is that over the last five years, our donors have wanted to learn more about the most critical needs in our community and are trusting our foundation to be their philanthropic resource,” said Aroesty. “We’ve seen more strategic grantmaking from our donors, which shows commitment to creating pathways that take residents out of problems and toward improved quality of life.”

A total of 85 new funds were established last year, bringing the number under management to 2,562. These include gifts and grants by The Community Foundation of Westmoreland County, which raised $1.8 million.

Schroeder said that much of the fundraising success for both Foundations is due to longstanding partnerships with financial-management professionals – investment advisors, estates and trusts attorneys, and tax experts – “who contribute to community development by introducing their clients to charitable giving through our programs and services.” The Third-Party Investment Managers Program has 77 portfolios managed by professionals who have been approved by the Foundation to advise on client funds.

Contributions to the Foundation also increased in the planned-gifts category – wills, estates and trusts – last year, to $32.4 million as opposed to the $18.5 million annual average raised over the past decade.

Among the highlights of last year’s grantmaking:

  • The launch of the Exposure Artist Program, which awarded $395,000 to artists who identify as Black, Indigenous or People of Color (BIPOC).
  • A significantly streamlined funding application to make it easier and faster for nonprofits to apply.
  • The annual #ONEDAY Critical Needs Alert, which raised $1.83 million in operating support for nonprofits providing essential human services.
  • A $2 million award from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott to Advancing Black Arts in Pittsburgh, managed by the Foundation in partnership with The Heinz Endowments.

“The culture of giving runs generations deep in our region, and at its core is the personal responsibility our residents feel to give generously to ensure healthy communities,” said Schroeder. “Last year’s numbers are truly inspiring. Those dollars raised will supply more resources for the future, especially in our efforts to help communities move from holding in place to thriving.”  

* These are unaudited numbers. Audited financials will be available in July.

** Individual giving numbers were previously incorrectly reported as a record $26.2 million last year, a 53% increase.**