The Endowments’ Learning area incorporates the activities of the foundation’s former Education and Children, Youth & Families program departments. The Learning area seeks to create conditions that foster equitable opportunities for all children and their families, especially those living in vulnerable neighborhoods.
We focus on child and family well-being, holistic education and workforce readiness. The Endowments partners with communities to help build on their strengths and resourcefulness, to support existing strategies, and to inspire, seed and incubate new ideas designed for all to thrive. Our work within this strategy is guided by the following principles:
- Recognize that learning happens best within the context of relationships;
- Embrace a spirit of authentic collaboration by involving the community as the key agent, co-creator and producer of change;
- Utilize learning from national and global models;
- Promote innovation by seeking new ideas to address persistent challenges, especially in individual neighborhoods;
- Consider how neighborhood lessons influence broader systems; and
- Commit to ongoing assessment
Supports children as they grow, imagine and create.
Strategies - Healthy communities exist when healthy families exist. Family and child well-being comes from supports and resources that strengthen their physical, mental, social and environmental health. The Learning Strategic Area will partner and collaborate with a variety of community agencies and grantees who contribute to this healthy and safe ecosystem in the following areas:
- Build effective partnerships to make the best use of resources and minimize duplication in efforts to improve maternal and newborn health.
- Invest in activities that support maternal and newborn health.
Child Health: encompassing environmental, physical, social and emotional development
- Work with community and grantees to define approaches to the safety, nutrition, and health of children.
- Employ interventions that address environmental factors affecting the safety, nutrition, and health of young children.
- Identify and support grantees that can address health promotion, protection, and disease prevention as they apply to early childhood development and education.
- Promote family engagement and strengthen supports.
- Collaborate with community organizations and grantees to identify consistent family engagement goals.
- Develop families’ knowledge and skills in financial literacy to address their specific needs (such as safety, housing, health, budget and finances, and overall well-being).
- Use positive parenting practices with families such as attachment and nurturing relationships that complement the stages of their child’s development.
- Advance families’ own learning and utilize social service agency resources to assist their educational goals.
- Elicit strong family participation in their children’s learning by developing skills, attitudes, and behaviors to promote school readiness at school and home.
- Provide leadership development programs for participating families to cultivate and strengthen self-efficacy and leadership skills.
Endowments' point of contact: Carmen Anderson, Director of Equity and Social Justice
Supports child, adolescent and adult learning from birth through post-secondary.
Strategies - Recognizing that education with a holistic perspective is concerned with the development of an individual’s intellectual, emotional, social, physical, artistic, creative, and spiritual potential. Learning will seek to engage community agencies and grantees who engage students in a teaching/learning process in the following areas:
- Individualized learning – a methodology in which curriculum, use of technology and environment, pace of learning and assessing understanding are to a large degree informed by the abilities and interests of each learner and their teachers’ uses of differentiated instruction.
- Technology to support equitable learning opportunities – Student access to technology and digital fluency is a prerequisite for full participation in high-quality education opportunities. Goals for improved educational achievement and increased participation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learning and careers will be through the integral use of technology.
- Enrichment and the arts – Involvement in the arts is often cited as influencing student gains in math, reading, cognitive ability, critical thinking, and verbal skills. Consequently, arts learning should be intentionally woven into student learning experiences to further bolster motivation, concentration, confidence, and teamwork.
- Youth leadership and advocacy – Youth leadership is promoted through activities and experiences that help youth develop social, ethical, emotional, physical, and cognitive competencies. Effective programs support a young person in developing self-efficacy; confidence; motivation; and the ability to analyze her own strengths and weaknesses, set personal and vocational goals, and connect them to a larger social system beyond self.
- Educator development and support – Research shows that four core teaching skills essential to providing the greatest impact for student growth and achievement are creating an engaging learning environment, planning for successful outcomes, delivering relevant instruction, and analyzing and adjusting teaching practices.
Endowments' point of contact: Michelle Figlar, Vice President, Learning
Connects school and industry to help launch career pathways.
Strategies - Members of the workforce require tools, resources, approaches and policies that will prepare them for their roles, facilitate their success throughout their career, and support them in adjusting and adapting to new opportunities, knowledge, and changes occurring in the 21st century workplace. As a strategic area, Learning will support grantees and community organizations focused on workforce readiness and development, and will encourage access to appropriate data, partnerships, training, leadership development, industry-based experiences and equipment that address:
- Career pathways in secondary schools – Preparation for careers requires scaffolding of coursework and work-based experiences that are aligned to student interest and ability. Consequently, this notion of a pathway can be introduced at the onset of high school, or earlier, and can be tailored to address one’s learning and life beyond graduation into vocation.
- Higher education collaboration – Designing a formal pipeline for the education of a community’s children must take into consideration that learning is a life-long pursuit. It continues into adulthood either in a specified area where a certificate of completion, technical designation, an associate’s or bachelor’s degree will provide a point of entry into a variety of careers for students. Likewise, given the advances of technology and the explosion of data, collaboration between secondary schools and higher education is vital to prepare students to work in careers that solve society’s needs and problems that currently exist today and/or have yet to materialize.
- Building industry and educator collaboration and capacity – Industry often laments that there exists a disconnection between how schools are preparing students for life beyond education and what industry says it needs in the workplace. Creating an exchange between teachers and industry could better help each develop a clear understanding of how they might more intelligently develop students who can think, create and lead in this new world of work.
- Youth employment – Youth ages 15 to 24 appear to be in greatest need of employment in many of the nation’s urban areas. Aligning education with workplace experiences and opportunities and getting commitments from industry to help develop a pathway to entry level jobs for this population – if certain criteria are met – is a means to build capacity and honor in working.
Endowments' point of contact: Stanley Thompson, Director, Education
Save the date: The Heinz Endowments’ Equity and Social Justice team is partnering with the FISA Foundation in presenting “Disability Inclusion & Access: Moving Forward,” a one-day symposium taking place Nov. 21 at the Heinz History Center. The symposium’s aim is to help ensure that disability issues are actively represented in existing equity initiatives in the nonprofit sector; post-symposium follow-up will include grant opportunities and technical assistance seminars. Be on the lookout for details about presenters and registration, which are coming soon.
Related News and Media
The United Way of the Laurel Highlands officially launched its 2019 fundraising campaign at a breakfast event Thursday morning, and the organization’s leader said its goal is to raise more than $1.3 million before the... READ MORE
Kids love playing musical chairs. Around they go, and when the music stops, someone has a seat, and someone is standing.READ MORE
A working group charged with examining potentially creating a county-wide Children’s Fund to support early learning and out-of-school-time programs is aiming to present recommendations to Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald in September.READ MORE
Six area teenagers known for their commitment to activism and writing are in San Juan Puerto Rico as delegates to the International Congress of Youth Voices this month. The five-day conference will give the delegates... READ MORE
Roughly 13,000 babies are born every year in Allegheny County. County human services officials are working on an ambitious plan to reach out to the parents of all of them — shortly after they are born... READ MORE
Suspensions among 4th-6th graders are down at Woodland Hills School District. That can be attributed, in part, to a restorative practice program created by the University of Pittsburgh, according to school district administrators.READ MORE
A group of students are getting the opportunity to enhance their community, while gaining valuable lessons in teamwork and decision-making, through the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies’ Youth Philanthropy Internship program.READ MORE
Connecting the Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall, located at the top of a steep hillside, to Carnegie’s business district below has long been a dream for many. The Library Park project includes the... READ MORE
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, June 26, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- On August 8, 130 accomplished young writers from around the world will meet with activists, political leaders, and other changemakers to learn and collaborate as they seek to make a... READ MORE
The Heinz Endowments announced Wednesday it is making a $1 million contribution to the Pittsburgh Promise scholarship program, bringing to $19.4 million the total donated over the program’s decade of existence.READ MORE
The Heinz Endowments has made a $1 million donation to the Pittsburgh Promise scholarship program.READ MORE
Soccer’s more than football. It can — and has — made a difference in people’s lives, thanks to enthusiasts like Justin Forzano.READ MORE
The Heinz Endowments has made a significant grant to the Jewish Healthcare Foundation to help launch two new programs in 2019.READ MORE
This week will kick off a series of six community meetings about early learning and out-of-school programs in Allegheny County, with an eye toward the potential creation of a countywide Children's Fund.READ MORE
Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald has appointed a working group to examine creating a Children's Fund to bolster early learning and out-of-school time programs for kids throughout the county.READ MORE
MCKEESPORT, Pa. — Penn State Greater Allegheny is offering for the first time a blended associate’s degree in information sciences and technology (IST) that local residents can complete both on campus and online. The pilot,... READ MORE
The seven young women sat in a circle in the middle of the room. They giggled and teased each other. They slouched with their arms crossed tightly against their chests.READ MORE
Like many Pittsburghers, I’m so proud of our city’s strength and resilience. Of how we’ve transformed our old industrial economy into one that is diversified and forward-looking. Of how, as home to a number of the... READ MORE
Talk of dozens of efforts to help disadvantaged kids had gone on for an hour Thursday when a soft, Scottish-accented voice piped up.READ MORE
A multimillion dollar expansion project designed to help children with early education programs has been completed.READ MORE
The 20 preschool children who came to the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, last week weren’t simply on a field trip. Instead, they are part of the first-ever early childhood class to be housed... READ MORE
A dedicated advocate for students and families in under-resourced Pittsburgh schools, Kenny Donaldson is passionate about improving students’ lives. As Associate Director of Strategic Programming and Initiatives at the University of Pittsburgh Center for Urban Education,... READ MORE
A new University of Pittsburgh study of Allegheny County schools shows severe racial disparities in out-of-school suspensions with a rate that is double for African-American students compared to their non-Black classmates.READ MORE
New research released by the University of Pittsburgh says there’s a connection between suspensions, grades and whether a child ends up in the juvenile justice systemREAD MORE
Black students in the Pittsburgh region are getting suspended at more than double the rate of their white classmates, according to a new study from the University of Pittsburgh.READ MORE
PITTSBURGH (Newsradio 1020 KDKA) – As public school students head back to class for the start of another school year, a report out of the University of Pittsburgh finds glaring racial disparities in how those... READ MORE
The Heinz Endowments has given the Allegheny County Health Department a $200,000 grant to support its “Health Equity in Action” program.READ MORE
It may turn out that few of the 28 students enrolled in this year’s All Star Code Summer Intensive program go into the production side of sports broadcasting, but the skills they are learning in... READ MORE
A county family care center that recently expanded into Penn Hills will host a week of events to celebrate its presence in the community.READ MORE
Every weekday, kids stream into Kingdom Life Fellowship Pittsburgh for an after-school program, getting homework help and lessons, eating dinner and playing games for three hours before heading home.READ MORE
At the very start of his training workshop on how to prevent sexual harassment, Jackson Katz asked the attendees to define leaders.READ MORE
A strong late-afternoon sun slanted through the large windows as a group of high school students began to give short oral reports, some in quiet, halting voices, others in firm tones, about someone who inspired... READ MORE
Marc Cherna came to Pennsylvania from New Jersey to run Allegheny County’s Children, Youth and Families agency in 1996, a time when CYF was a national disgrace for endangering children rather than aiding vulnerable families.READ MORE
Carnegie Mellon University has hit on an interesting strategy for predicting which industries are most likely to be affected by artificial intelligence in coming years — knowledge that has the potential to affect government policy,... READ MORE
In many of our communities in Allegheny County, there is a largely unrecognized contagious disease killing our children. Our communities are being exposed every day to this terrible disease, and we don’t have enough resources,... READ MORE
The fifth and sixth graders sat in hard metal chairs arranged in a wide circle on a concrete-floored classroom at Woodland Hills Intermediate School on Friday...READ MORE
The Fred Rogers Co. is poised for expansion as a result of $3 million grant from the Heinz Endowments.READ MORE
Three-year funding supports children’s ‘social-emotional learning initiatives,’ new content, advances in educational technologyREAD MORE
“How do we preserve the tomorrows of our kids?” asked Flint, Mich., pediatrician Mona Hanna-Attisha at an event Wednesday sharing her ongoing advocacy for eliminating lead exposure in children, first sparked by her city’s water... READ MORE
Pittsburgh is usually ahead of its time. Occasionally we get reminded of this in surprising and satisfying ways.READ MORE
A proposed coffee shop in the Plum High School library is gaining support from district officials. The intent of the coffee shop is to develop entrepreneurship, and have life-skills students run it to obtain hands-on... READ MORE
PITTSBURGH, PA September 13, 2017 – The Heinz Endowments today announced the appointment of Mac Howison as Program Officer for Creative Learning. Mr. Howison will take up his new position on October 3, 2017, and... READ MORE
Pittsburgh will translate messaging from its public safety departments into Arabic, Chinese, Nepalese, Spanish and Swahili as part of an effort to ensure that immigrants and refugees can access city services.READ MORE
Pittsburgh's Public Safety department is angling to strengthen ties — and trust — with refugee and immigrant communities through a multicultural program.READ MORE
Ronald Joseph recalled waking up anxious every Friday for two months straight. The chief technology officer of Pennsylvania's second-largest school district described having "a hold-your-breath moment" each week during summer 2016 as he met with... READ MORE
The Community Foundation of Westmoreland County has awarded grants totaling $50,000 to local nonprofits through its Youth Philanthropy Internship Program.READ MORE
Carnegie Mellon University's Advanced Robotics Manufacturing Institute will be the first anchor tenant to set up shop in a former Hazelwood steel mill, officials said Monday.READ MORE
It’s amazing how much progress can happen in 27 days. “You were scared to let go of the wall, and now you’re motorboating and jumping in,” Obama Academy swim coach Mark Rauterkus says to his... READ MORE
Working through the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies and funded by Pittsburgh’s Heinz Endowments, two teams of interns have $25,000 each to grant community organizations looking to better engage and prepare their county’s youth. The... READ MORE
Plum High School's library may get new furniture and upgrades with grant money that a student group secured.READ MORE
The BMe Community Genius Awards were held on Friday night at the Heinz History Center in the Strip District, honoring black men in the Pittsburgh community who are shining lights for those around them.READ MORE
Pennsylvania's wait list for state-subsidized child care could climb to a historic high of 19,000 children under the budget plan approved by the state House, a spokeswoman for Gov. Tom Wolf warned Monday in Pittsburgh.READ MORE
Two nonprofits are launching a program to help Pittsburgh-area schools and child care centers get rid of lead and radon hazards.READ MORE
Women for a Healthy Environment (WHE) and the Green Building Alliance (GBA) announced at a joint press conference Thursday a new initiative, 1,000 Hours a Year, that will provide funding to local schools and early... READ MORE
Children spend an estimated 1,000 hours every year in schools, early-education centers and after-school programs. While parents can work to protect their children from environmental hazards like lead and radon at home, they have little... READ MORE
Superintendent Patrick Graczyk didn’t sleep for 48 hours after he had received his school district's lead testing results.READ MORE
Teams from the Allegheny County Health Department soon will be on the ground in neighborhoods hardest hit by gun violence to try to stymie what officials see as a public health crisis.READ MORE