The Alliance is pleased to welcome this community leader to Rally to share his insights with us:
Grant Oliphant is president of The Heinz Endowments. He rejoined the foundation in 2014, after serving as president and chief executive officer of The Pittsburgh Foundation for six years. For nearly two decades, Grant held several senior management posts with Heinz family foundations, including vice president for programs and planning at the Endowments, his position before taking over the helm at The Pittsburgh Foundation in 2008. He also served as press secretary to the late U.S. Sen. John Heinz from 1988 until the senator’s death in 1991.
Grant was The Pittsburgh Foundation’s fourth head in its 66-year history and led a major transformation in the organization’s engagement of key constituents, its efficient stewardship of its assets, and the development of ground-breaking initiatives to enhance services for donors and maximize grantmaking impact in the regional community.
This included the launch of The Pittsburgh Promise scholarship program for students in the city’s district and charter schools, and the development of PittsburghGives, an online giving and research portal that raised $13.5 million in two years for local nonprofits with special Day of Giving events. Both of these programs have become national models for similar initiatives by other community foundations and fundraising organizations across the U.S.
In 2009, The Pittsburgh Foundation achieved a landmark in its history under Grant’s leadership with the formation of the Legacy Fund, creating for the first time a vehicle for the foundation to invest its own assets. Until that time, the foundation had delegated its asset management to outside organizations.
In less than four years after Grant’s appointment, The Pittsburgh Foundation and its supporting organizations had received new funds, gifts to existing funds and other charitable donations of more than $150 million. During his tenure, the number of funds grew by nearly 50 percent, and the foundation had more than 1,600 donor funds and assets of more than $820 million. Strategic development also included the realignment of The Pittsburgh Foundation’s grantmaking and the partnership merger with the Community Foundation of Westmoreland County in 2010.
Grant frequently leads community conversations around critical issues such as public school reform, civic design, the ongoing sustainability of anchor institutions, domestic violence, riverfront development and various socio-economic concerns. He has taken a prominent role in building advocacy programs to support the work of local nonprofits and the families and individuals they serve. He serves extensively on the boards of local nonprofit and national sector organizations, including the Center for Effective Philanthropy, which he chairs.
Grant is a past board chairman of Riverlife, which works to transform Pittsburgh’s riverfronts, as well as a board member of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, which oversees the city’s celebrated Cultural District; The Allegheny Conference on Community Development; and the Pittsburgh Advisory Board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
In addition, Grant has served on the boards of Grantmakers Evaluation Network, Pennsylvania Partnership for Children, and the National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance, and as board chairman of the Communications Network, a nonprofit membership organization that promotes strategic use of communications as part of effective philanthropy.
Grant originally joined The Heinz Endowments in 1993 as director of communications for the foundation, the Heinz Family Philanthropies, and Endowments Chairman Teresa Heinz. After holding several senior positions, he became vice president of programs and planning and was responsible for managing the Endowments’ $70-plus million annual grantmaking portfolio. He also led special task forces promoting civic design, school reform and stronger links between environmental stewardship and economic development. He was responsible for strategic planning and led the organization’s board and staff through a major review and refocus of its strategic orientation and grantmaking priorities. As a corporate officer, he served on the Endowments’ Investment and Budget committees, which guided management of the foundation’s assets and expenditures.
Prior to his service as press secretary for Sen. Heinz, Grant was founding editor of American Politics, a monthly political magazine. Grant received a Master of Science degree in organizational development from Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business and a Bachelor of Arts from Swarthmore College. He lectures frequently on communications, leadership and organizational dynamics.
Photo courtesy of The Heinz Endowments