- Associated Press - Sunday, February 28, 2016

PITTSBURGH (AP) - The Heinz Endowments has told Pittsburgh-area nonprofits that work on environmental and economic development issues that there are changes coming in the way the foundation gives out grants.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (https://bit.ly/1WRJ8qG ) reports that a new strategic focus is planned that includes making the Pittsburgh area more sustainable with clean air and water initiatives, green and energy-efficient building, healthy food and services for veterans and military families.

But the 86 leaders at a half-day forum at the Energy Innovation Center earlier this month weren’t told how that would happen. Instead, Grant Oliphant, the endowments’ president, says he envisions foundations, nonprofits and government officials collaborating on critical issues.

He said the new strategy means there may be fewer grants given out but the average grant size could grow. The organization gave out $74 million in 2014, according to its federal tax filing.

Oliphant said board members believe Pittsburgh has largely transitioned from a predominantly industrial past but there are challenges in becoming a sustainable and creative center for innovative industries.

“We have a five- to 10-year window to make a serious impact or we will have missed a generational opportunity to change the face of Pittsburgh,” said Oliphant said. “We’ve gone from trying to figure out how to start the engine, crank it and get it going to steering a vehicle that feels like it’s moving pretty quickly down the track.”

Officials said nonprofits can count on more input in the early stages of the funding process, with both the endowments and nonprofits producing “data and metrics” to hold themselves accountable for measuring the impact of their grants.

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Information from: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, https://www.post-gazette.com

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