Hazelwood community members talking to developers about the Hazelwood Green development. They are pointing to different sections of the master plan and writing comments. Hazelwood development community meeting. Photo by Annie O'Neill

Program Overview

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.

Goals & Strategies
Goal 1: Inclusive Economy

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

Goal 2: Clean Economy

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

Goal 3: Equitable Development

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

Goal 4: Environment & Public Health

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

Goal 5: Food Systems

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

Goal 6. Military Veterans

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

Hazelwood: Strengthening Community & Uplifting People

“Hazelwood: Strengthening Community & Uplifting People” dives into the incredible work and vibrant partnerships of residents and organizations in the historic Hazelwood neighborhood.

Produced by The Heinz Endowments in partnership with Hazelwood residents, leaders and organizations, the video features interviews and personal stories by those leading Hazelwood into its bright future. “Hazelwood: Strengthening Community & Uplifting People” spotlights the dedication, skills and love of those leading Hazelwood in the realms of education, the arts, workforce and business development, faith, and affordable housing. Like many neighborhoods anchored in the steel industry, Hazelwood hit difficult times when the mills closed. Today, a deep commitment to community, partnerships, and creativity is guiding their renaissance. “We’re not just looking in the rearview mirror,” says Center of Life’s Pastor Tim Smith, the video’s narrator. “We’re building Hazelwood’s future.”

Watch and share “Hazelwood: Strengthening Community & Uplifting People.”



Hazelwood Green

"Hazelwood Green" outlines the stunning transformation of a former steel mill site into a community-guided development.

Hazelwood Green, a shared initiative of the Endowments, Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, and Richard King Mellon Foundation, is a former steel mill site on 178 acres of Hazelwood’s riverfront along the Monongahela. Through deep community partnerships – and guided by tenets of equity and ecological sustainability - the twenty-year project has seen major progress in recent months. The openings of the Plaza at Hazelwood Green and The Roundhouse, the expansion of Mill 19, and significant new investment announcements are sparking international interest in the site. Watch this short video to learn more.  



Mapping the Navigation Systems of Pennsylvania: Opportunities for the Future

When a person in our community needs help, they must navigate an ever-changing landscape of benefits, services and programs scattered across an array of providers. The Endowments-funded “Mapping the Navigation Systems of Pennsylvania: Opportunities for the Future” dives into the real-world challenges – and considerable opportunities – of connecting individuals to services in today’s world.

As the Endowments’ Sustainability team found that an increasing number of our grantees were inquiring about assistance to develop networks to better connect with their potential beneficiaries, we wanted to learn more about the services navigation sector. This report offers a state-wide view of what it takes to overcome barriers to services, focusing on 20 independent navigation systems, 50% of which were created since 2016.

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.

Program Staff
Andrew  McElwaine
Andrew McElwaine Vice President, Sustainability
Megan Andros
Megan Andros Program Director, Veterans
Matthew  Barron
Matthew Barron Program Director, Sustainability
Corinne Connor
Corinne Connor Program Analyst, Sustainability
Ruth Hodsoll
Ruth Hodsoll Program Assistant, Sustainability
Philip Johnson
Philip Johnson Senior Program Director, Environment & Health
Mary M.
Mary M. Program Assistant, Community & Economic Development
Rob Stephany
Rob Stephany Senior Program Director, Community & Economic Development