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The Buhl Foundation

Areas of Giving

The Buhl Foundation and the two funds it administers, the Frick and McCreery Funds, provide grants to organizations in Western Pennsylvania to help the residents they serve with a special concern for the well-being of the citizens of the City of Pittsburgh and the County of Allegheny. The Buhl Foundation operates as a tax-exempt private, non-operating foundation in accordance with the wishes of its founder, Henry Buhl, Jr.

Buhl's giving has historically been focused in Southwestern Pennsylvania with an emphasis on Allegheny County and the City of Pittsburgh and most recently, a revisioned focus on the Northside. The Foundation looks to find opportunities that best leverage our dollars and contribute to the sustainability and vitality of the community. The mission, objectives and guiding principles of the Foundation have traditionally been focused on the following areas of giving:

  1. Education – Initiatives that foster learning environments critical to building a knowledgeable and talented population.

    Education has always been a cornerstone of our giving. Over the course of the Foundation's existence, our educational giving has adapted to the changing needs of our community. Most recently, the Foundation's education giving has been directed primarily for the benefit of K-12 public schools with the goal that students graduate prepared to meet the challenges of the 21st century. Areas of interest have included initiatives that improve quality of instruction, advance the professional development of teachers, develop effective curriculum with a particular emphasis on science and math, integrate arts and culture into curriculum in partnership with community groups, support environments in which youth can learn, encourage community and higher education partnerships that further science, technology, engineering or math education (STEM), and promote intermediary organizations that improve school quality, governance, leadership and accountability.

    In its earliest years, the Foundation invested heavily in academic research and, at various times in its history, has endowed professional chairs at Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Pittsburgh, Allegheny College and Carnegie Science Center. Later, during the period from 1930 to 1970, prior to widespread institutional or government funded scholarship programs, the Foundation provided more than one thousand scholarships to aspiring students. In the advent of the computer age, the Foundation invested heavily in library technology and university distance learning centers.  As discussed further below, the Foundation is again revisiting its funding priorities with an eye toward the Northside.

  2. Youth Development – Projects that provide opportunities for our young people to thrive, to be safe and to live in a nurturing environment.

    The Pittsburgh region that Mr. Buhl loved will thrive when young people are able to learn and to assume the responsibilities of civic participation and leadership. The Buhl Foundation looks for initiatives, particularly in disadvantaged communities, that support young people in out-of-school time activities that develop leadership, enhance learning, encourage community service, provide recreational enjoyment or prevent violence.  These priorities are currently being evaluated with specific focus on the Northside of Pittsburgh.

  3. Human Services – Strategies where our resources make a difference in addressing persistent community challenges or unmet needs of at-risk neighborhoods.

    The Foundation has funded efforts that support a thriving and diverse community, encourage citizen volunteers or improve access to services. Support has also been provided for special projects that improve the effectiveness of such organizations to reach out and meet these human service needs.

  4. Economic and Community Development – Efforts that encourage innovation and entrepreneurial solutions to improve the quality of life.

    Preference is given to undertakings that support Downtown and North Side revitalization, enhance neighborhood vitality, or encourage use of our parks and recreational opportunities.

Commencing in 2013, the Foundation embarked on a revisioning effort to determine how these historic themes might be integrated into a more geographically focused effort on the Northside of Pittsburgh. In furtherance of that effort, Buhl has been engaged in an extensive planning effort with the Northside community to find consensus around key needs and the strategies to address them. The results of that undertaking will significantly impact Buhl's granting priorities over the next decade or longer. Until that process is completed, grantees, and prospective grantees are encouraged to learn more about this undertaking by visiting www.northsideconversation.org or by contacting Buhl staff.

Henry C. Frick Educational Fund

Grants are made from the Frick Fund with special concern for strengthening K-12 public school education. A sub fund of the Frick Fund, the Frick Teacher Alumnae Fund, supports efforts to improve the teaching profession and the effectiveness of teachers. These focus areas align well with the educational interests of the Buhl Foundation. Grant procedures for the Frick Fund are the same as the Buhl Foundation.

Learn more about this fund

William and Elizabeth Rodgers McCreery Memorial Fund

The McCreery Fund provides support for musically talented students residing in the Pittsburgh region to further their musical education or to enhance young people's appreciation of music. Application processes are the same as to the Buhl Foundation.

Learn more about this fund