Pittsburgh and Southwestern Pennsylvania COVID Response – Summary and FAQ’s

Henry L. Hillman, Hillman, Mary Hillman Jennings, Elsie H. Hillman, and Polk Foundations have collectively distributed nearly $27 million to support the region’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with an emphasis on basic needs, public health and education infrastructure, and an equitable recovery.
These foundations have also approved approximately $1.5 million in repurposing requests for existing grants – to provide nonprofit partners with maximum flexibility in responding to the challenges ahead. A summary of new grantmaking follows:
  • Public health and human service systems response priorities ($1,350,000)
  • Emergency basic needs support, focused on vulnerable neighborhoods and populations ($7,500,500)
  • Vaccine development, expanded testing, and contact tracing ($1,530,000)
  • Support for childcare, K-12 schools, and related organizations as they adapt education and workforce models to the pandemic ($4,011,500)
  • Personal protective equipment for front-line health and human services providers ($650,000)
  • Gap funding support for minority- and women-led and other vulnerable businesses and nonprofits ($2,265,000)
  • Special initiatives and unrestricted operating funds to support arts and culture organizations ($3,240,000), including a contribution to the Arts I Equity I Reimagined Fund (more information available here)
  • Preparation for equitable recovery efforts focused on education, employment, and community development ($6,392,000)

A more complete listing of 2020 approved grants can be reviewed here.


Frequently Asked Questions Regarding HFF COVID-19 Response:
  1. Is the Foundation providing emergency grant funding to organizations impacted by COVID-19?
    We are doing our best to work with the community to respond quickly to emerging needs. Right now, our focus is on supporting the basic needs of the most vulnerable and strengthening the public health, human services, and education sectors – with emphasis on improving the equity of these response systems. We are not in the position to provide emergency operating grants to organizations not delivering frontline support.
  2. What is the Foundation doing to help current grantees impacted by COVID-19?
    Our program officers have been in contact with as many of our current grantees as possible to release restrictions, repurpose grant funds, extend report and project timelines if requested, and advance payment schedules forward. Please contact your program officer if you would like to explore any of these options if we have not already been in contact with you.
  3. If I have a request pending or would like to submit a request, will the COVID-19 crisis impact projects being considered for funding this year?
    Our main focus for 2021 will continue to be on responding to ongoing pandemic conditions that threaten the health, safety , and economic well-being of the most vulnerable in the communities we serve. We are continuously evaluating our grantmaking priorities and know that they will evolve in response to changing needs as we look to the months ahead. Please contact your program officer to discuss the timeframe and our current ability to advance your project.
  4. If I have a question that is not answered here, what should I do?
    Please contact your program officer with any questions. The foundation staff is working remotely, however, we are fully operational. If you don’t have a direct email or phone number for a staff member, you can reach us at info@hillmanfo.com or 412.338.3466.