Jump to main content

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 is focused in Southwestern Pennsylvania with an emphasis on Allegheny County and, in particular, upon the City of Pittsburgh and its Northside. The Foundation looks to find opportunities that best leverage our dollars and contribute to the sustainability and vitality of the community. Historically, we carry out the mission, objectives and guiding principles of the Foundation by focusing on four primary areas of giving detailed below.

However, it is important to note that currently the Foundation has 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.  Until that process is completed, grantees, and prospective grantees, are encouraged to contact Buhl staff to determine how that effort might impact granting opportunities.  The primary areas of giving have been:

  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. Current areas of interest include 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.

  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.

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

    The Foundation funds efforts that support a thriving and diverse community, encourage citizen volunteers or improve access to services. Support is also 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.

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