Creative Learning

Three young African America men are singing on a city street. One is playing the guitar. Three young African America men are singing on a city street. One is playing the guitar.


The Heinz Endowments' Creative Learning initiative is a coordinated, cross-programmatic strategy to cultivate an equitable creative arts and cultural learning network, improve access to transformative learning experiences for young people, and support meaningful professional opportunities for teaching artists in Pittsburgh's out-of-school-time (OST)* ecosystem. For the purpose of this initiative, creative learning will be defined as high-quality arts education in OST settings, with equitable access for the social, emotional and creative development of children and youth.

The Endowments aims to support the work of existing and new grantees in this space; improve their effectiveness; and create a more powerful network of programs, organizations and teaching artists. Creative Learning grantees will go beyond arts exposure to inspire deeper, generative, transformational and participatory learning for young people with an emphasis on racial equity in the learning ecosystem. 

The Endowments’ core strategies for this work are:

  • Support provider organizations that work directly with young people.
  • Support intermediary organizations that improve conditions for providers, teaching artists, and young people.
  • Support teaching artist field-building and professional development.
  • Support young artists.
  • Center equity in terms of race, resources and reach.

The Endowments developed this initiative through a diligent process that engaged OST provider organizations, teaching artists, researchers, practitioners and funding colleagues for more than two years. The 2019 Creative Learning in Pittsburgh report from the University of Pittsburgh summarizes our process and findings, and serves as a starting point for our current initiative. We acknowledge the prior investments of time, expertise, funding and practice that preceded Creative Learning at the Endowments: the Transformative Arts Process (TAP), Culturally Responsive Arts Education (CRAE), and the community processes that led to the creation of the Arts Education Collaborative and APOST.

Funding criteria and information about how organizations, teaching artists, and young people can apply for support will be announced in late spring / early summer 2020.

*We use the abbreviation "OST" as shorthand for the field of practice that is alternately referred to as out-of-school-time, expanded learning, informal education, enrichment and after-school. Creative Learning in the Pittsburgh region will support an ecosystem of OST providers and teaching artists focused on creative youth development – with programming delivered to children and youth in a variety of settings, including community learning centers, cultural spaces, arts facilities, parks, museums, libraries and schools.

Request for Proposals: Creative Learning Network Anchor

Effective intermediary organizations will share responsibility with the Endowments — whose direct grantmaking also will influence grantees — for ensuring that the network improves grantee practices and success. To focus these efforts, the Endowments will direct significant funding and other support towards the development of a Creative Learning Network Anchor for the region.

Through this request for proposals, the Endowments is looking for a lead organization or coalition of partner organizations with a mission focused on creative arts learning and a track record of managing collaborations; leading professional learning for educators; and increasing equitable access to creative learning for young people through research, policy and implementation. Recognizing that there are existing intermediaries operating in the region already, the Endowments is interested in new approaches and partnerships that can amplify Creative Learning goals. 

Eligibility and Qualifications
In addition to meeting The Heinz Endowments’ standard eligibility criteria, the ideal organization(s) will have demonstrated experience in: 

  • Improving the connectivity and effectiveness of regional youth-serving nonprofit network(s).
  • Organizing and delivering professional learning for organizations and practitioners.
  • Promoting continuous learning and improvement through the use of data.
  • Identifying, implementing and evaluating changes in policy and practice.

For essential context, candidates for this request for proposals are strongly advised to read and interpret the University of Pittsburgh's recent Creative Learning in Pittsburgh report. 

How to Apply
Applications are no longer being accepted for this opportunity. Future application deadlines and criteria for Creative Learning will be available in advance of the Endowments' fall board meeting deadline of August 1, 2020.


For Heinz Endowments staff assistance, please contact Mac Howison at 412-338-2651 or