2019 in Review:
The Legacy Foundations
Hillman Family Foundations (HFF) is an administrative organization serving 18 distinct grantmaking foundations.
Five of these institutions focus exclusively on the greater Pittsburgh area. Known as the legacy foundations, these five institutions are the Henry L. Hillman, Hillman, Mary Hillman Jennings, Elsie H. Hillman, and Polk foundations.
While each of these foundations have individual priorities, they share a common commitment to a strong democracy, empowering citizens, and engaging leaders in diverse grantmaking areas.
This section shares one way—of many—in 2019 that each foundation invested in a stronger democracy and a stronger Pittsburgh for years to come.
Henry L. Hillman Foundation
TOWARD COMMITTEE OF SEVENTY, A NONPROFIT FOCUSED ON ADVOCATING FOR BETTER GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS IN PA
Henry L. Hillman Foundation: Works to ensure that Pittsburgh leverages its strengths and opportunities to make it one of the world’s most innovative, visionary and equitable cities.
What: $175,000 of a $300,000 commitment for Draw the Lines PA, a statewide nonpartisan civic education and engagement initiative aimed at helping Pennsylvanians of all ages learn about and connect with the issues of political redistricting and gerrymandering.
Who: Committee of Seventy, a nonprofit focused on fostering better government and better politics in Pennsylvania.
Why: The fairness of Pennsylvania’s congressional map has been a subject of much debate and in 2018 was found to be in violation of the state’s constitutional guarantee of “free and equal elections.” This initiative connects Pennsylvanians with teaching resources, digital tools and data so that they can draw their own election maps. Or, as Draw the Lines PA puts it: “We’re trying to teach people how redistricting works, so that they can seize their own destiny.”
Strategic Fit: This initiative aligns with the Foundation’s Inclusive and Participatory Democracy portfolio.
A complete listing of the Henry L. Hillman Foundation’s 2019 grants can be found here.
TOWARD THE INSTITUTE OF POLITICS, AN ORGANIZATION FOCUSED ON DEVELOPING PUBLIC POLICY THAT PROMOTES THE VITALITY OF WESTERN PA
Hillman Foundation: Supports a wide range of institutions devoted to helping Pittsburgh-area residents lead better lives.
What: $40,000 of a $120,000 commitment to support a neutral forum and the evidence-based resources needed to help local leaders work through some of the region’s most complex public policy issues.
Who: The Institute of Politics, an independent, community-supported organization operating under the auspices of the University of Pittsburgh.
Why: The Institute’s current lineup includes a number of social and civic challenges, including the topics of criminal justice reform, education policy and the opioid epidemic.
Strategic Fit: This investment supports the Hillman Foundation’s efforts to bolster unbiased information that can help inform and inspire progress throughout the region.
A complete listing of the Hillman Foundation’s 2019 grants can be found here.
Mary Hillman Jennings Foundation
TOWARD THE COUNCIL OF STATE GOVERNMENTS, WHICH DEVELOPS STRATEGIES TO INCREASE PUBLIC SAFETY & STRENGTHEN COMMUNITIES
Mary Hillman Jennings Foundation: Dedicates its grantmaking efforts to assisting disadvantaged populations.
What: $50,000 of a $75,000 commitment to help counties in Southwestern Pennsylvania implement Stepping Up, a national initiative to reduce the number of people with mental illnesses in jails.
Who: The Council of State Governments Justice Center, which develops nonpartisan, research-driven strategies and tools to increase public safety and strengthen communities.
Why: One-fourth of Pennsylvania’s prison population is grappling with a mental illness, according to Pennsylvania Secretary of Corrections John Wetzel, who has called for data-driven approaches to reducing this statistic. Although local counties are ready to comply, they need additional training and technical support to leverage data and realize meaningful change.
Strategic Fit: This initiative aligns with the Foundation’s focus on serving populations who are disconnected from opportunity due to a disability or incarceration.
A complete listing of the Mary Hillman Jennings Foundation’s 2019 grants can be found here.
Elsie H. Hillman Foundation
TOWARD THE TEEN SCREEN PROGRAM, WHICH SHOWS FREE FILMS IN MOVIE THEATERS FOR YOUTH IN PITTSBURGH.
Elsie H. Hillman Foundation: Focuses on investing in women, minorities, and civic leadership programs.
What: $20,000 for the Teen Screen program, which shows free films in movie theaters for middle- and high-school groups in the Pittsburgh area.
Who: Film Pittsburgh, a nonprofit that presents independent films from around the world.
Why: Teen Screen gives students from low-income and disconnected communities a chance to explore important topics via an engaging and familiar medium: movies. Through the program, which screens carefully curated films of historical, cultural and social significance, the young viewers are prompted to both consider different perspectives and discover common connections.
Strategic Fit: This grant supports the Foundation’s focus on programs that bridge
populations, promote equity and justice, and fight violence and discrimination.
A complete listing of the Elsie H. Hillman Foundation’s 2019 grants can be found here.
TOWARD MERAKEY ALLEGHENY VALLEY SCHOOL’S FAMILY FUND PILOT PROGRAM
Polk Foundation: Provides support to individuals with intellectual disabilities and their families.
What: $75,000 for the Family Fund pilot program.
Who: Merakey Allegheny Valley School, a nonprofit operating in nine Pennsylvania counties that offers homes and expansive support services to individuals living with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Why: Some individuals served by Merakey Allegheny Valley School miss out on supportive family connections due to logistical and financial barriers. The Family Fund removes these barriers so that these family members can connect with their loved one—both in-person and virtually—and support their efforts to reach their fullest potential.
Strategic Fit: This grant promotes the social and emotional welfare of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, which is a strategic priority for the Foundation.
A complete listing of the Polk Foundation’s 2019 grants can be found here.
Across All 18 of the Hillman Family Foundations: