The Endowments’ Sustainability strategic funding area incorporates the activities of the foundation’s former Environment & Health and Community & Economic Development program departments. The Sustainability funding area seeks to address underlying threats to Pittsburgh’s quality of life while focusing on opportunities to support the region’s health, safety and prosperity, now and for the future.
The Sustainability area’s vision is to contribute to a Just Pittsburgh, where economic and community development and healthy environment systems protect and benefit all citizens, where race, experience, identity and zip code do not determine life outcomes, where air and water are safe and where large sections of poor and vulnerable populations are not left behind.
As part of our Sustainability strategy, the Endowments seeks to improve the economic position of marginalized populations and places by advancing a clean economy, protecting the environment and public health and pursuing equitable development.
The Endowments also is focused on reducing disparities in our broad community related to environmental health, increasing access to healthy foods and successfully reintegrating veterans and their families into our community, in recognition of the assets they represent for our region.
Improve people's economic position through higher wages, family-sustaining employment and entrepreneurship.
- Connect workers on the margins to family-sustaining employment.
- Expand minority entrepreneurs’ access to capital and business development assistance.
- Bolster opportunities for minority entrepreneurs to manage and increase their own income.
- Connect opportunities from the innovation economy to all residents.
Endowments point of contact: Rob Stephany, Director, Community & Economic Development
Advance a clean economy with renewables, green infrastructure and climate-friendly solutions.
- Implement renewable and alternative energy solutions.
- Apply green infrastructure best management practices to improve the water quality in Pittsburgh’s rivers and streams while providing secondary benefits to communities.
- Promote innovative strategies at the neighborhood, local and regional level to reduce climate pollution.
Endowments point of contact: Philip Johnson, Director, Environment & Health
Pursue socially just economic opportunity so that distressed neighborhoods thrive without displacing vulnerable residents.
- Target distressed neighborhoods that are adjacent to strong markets that can leverage public and private capital to improve housing markets without displacing vulnerable residents.
- Embrace first-in-class civic design.
- Connect Pittsburgh through “complete streets,” transit-oriented development and alternative transportation.
- Engage the arts and artists in socially just community revitalization, ennobling culture and neighborhood beautification.
Endowments point of contact: Rob Stephany, Director, Community & Economic Development
Restore and protect Pittsburgh’s environmental systems, and enhance its public health.
- Protect all populations from disproportionate harm caused by pollution and reduce environmental health burdens, especially among those experiencing environmental injustice.
- Encourage socially and environmentally responsible use of western Pennsylvania’s natural resources.
- Deepen community engagement and leadership networks through education, outreach and advocacy.
- Advance independent, comprehensive and fact-based scientific knowledge to foster healthy environments.
Endowments point of contact: Philip Johnson, Director, Environment & Health
Promote community health and vitality through sustainable food systems, especially in food deserts.
- Improve access to fresh, healthy, local foods in low-income neighborhoods.
- Promote urban agriculture as a means of increasing food security and educating participants about food systems.
Endowments point of contact: Andrew McElwaine, VP of Sustainability
Create communities where military veterans and their families are welcomed, valued and understood.
- Create easy-to-navigate pipelines to family-sustaining jobs, services, and opportunities for veterans and service members in the region.
- Equip post-9/11 veterans and service members with the skills and networks necessary to become regional leaders.
- Promote changes in workforce initiatives, social services, program funding and community conversations about veterans by supporting and advancing the narrative that veterans are assets for the region.
- Work proactively and preventatively in the support of veterans, service members and family members, and promote best practices to impact predominantly reactive public policy.
Endowments point of contact: Megan Andros, Program Officer, Community & Economic Development
The Office of Public Art has announced the teams selected for its new Environment, Health, and Public Art Initiative, a pilot program connecting three artists with three Pittsburgh-area organizations that have identified environment and health issues as topics of concern and advocacy. Center for Civic Arts and Nine Mile Run Watershed Association are partnering with artist Ginger Brooks, Grow Pittsburgh is collaborating with artist Mary Tremonte, and North Braddock Residents for Our Future is teaming with artist Arron Henderson. Image credit: see below; image caption:Learn more about the initiative
Cancer and the Environment Symposium
New data and personal stories bring urgency to examining link between cancer and our environment
What role do environmental factors – the harmful chemicals in our air, land, water and products – play in cancer severity and diagnosis rates in our region? That question was front and center at the recent “Cancer and the Environment Symposium: Priorities for Research, Policy, and Clinical Practice” at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. The event spotlighted eye-opening data and personal stories, underscoring the urgency of unified cross-sector action. Learn more.
Capturing the Next Economy: Pittsburgh’s rise as a global innovation city
Pittsburgh’s innovation economy is strong and growing, but city leaders can do more with its existing assets to compete globally and capitalize on the region’s growing innovation clusters, according to a new report from the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Initiative on Innovation and Placemaking at the Brookings Institution.
The culmination of an 18-month study, “Capturing the Next Economy: Pittsburgh’s rise as a global innovation city” examines Pittsburgh’s unique opportunity to become a top global destination for technology-based economic activity and as a key part of Pittsburgh’s efforts to become a world-class innovation city.
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