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Our Impact

Colcom Foundation’s funding interests include:

Funding Interest

Carrying Capacity

Colcom Foundation supports national projects acknowledging the impact of human population growth on the environment. Learn More →

Family Planning

Population Media Center utilizes entertainment-education and mass media to prevent unplanned and unwanted births to reduce birth rates globally.

Immigration

According to Pew Research Center, immigration accounts for 88 percent of US population growth. NumbersUSA, Federation for American Immigration Reform, and Center for Immigration Studies seek to advance a public conversation on sustainable immigration policy. By reducing current immigration levels, the US can stabilize and gradually decrease its population, thereby shrinking its ecological footprint. Colcom Foundation supports stabilizing and beginning to gradually shrink the US population by 2040.

The notion of ever more old people needing ever more young people, who will in turn grow old and need even more young people, and so on ad infinitum, is an obvious ecological Ponzi scheme.

David Attenborough

Clean water degradation correlates strongly to urban development, resource extraction, infrastructure development, as well as suburban development and large-scale farming operations. As population numbers increase these impacts also increase.

Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds

Funding Interest

Local Environment

Colcom Foundation supports environmental and conservation projects in southwestern Pennsylvania. Southwestern Pennsylvania includes the following counties: Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Bedford, Blair, Butler, Cambria, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Lawrence, Somerset, Washington, and Westmoreland.

Conservation

Hollow Oak Land Trust protects and connects greenspace with an emphasis in the Pittsburgh Airport Corridor. Hollow Oak has nine conservation areas totaling over 700 acres in Moon, Kennedy, Franklin Park, North Fayette, Hopewell, Kilbuck, Ben Avon, Emsworth, and Chippewa. 

The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy’s Revolving Fund for Local Land Trusts provides grants in the form of rapid response short-term, zero interest loans to land trusts and other nonprofits seeking to preserve open space and conserve high priority properties.

The generous support of Colcom Foundation has played a significant role in advancing the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy’s watershed conservation, urban forestry, community greening, land conservation and other initiatives since 2004. This has resulted in major long-term and tangible impacts on the health of our region’s rivers, streams and forests, as well as making downtown Pittsburgh a more tree-shaded, colorful and inviting place for its residents, workers and visitors.

WeConservePA helps people care for, wisely use, and enjoy what nature offers. 

Colcom Foundation’s support of WeConservePA is helping charitable organizations and local governments to effectively and efficiently conserve land, protect and restore waterways, implement sustainable practices, and connect people to the outdoors. Colcom Foundation has played a pivotal role in assuring that the conservation volunteers and professionals working to make southwestern Pennsylvania a better place have the direct technical assistance, training, model legal documents, general guidance, and other resources they need to achieve more and better conservation for the benefit of all.

Andy Loza, Executive Director

Westmoreland Land Trust conserves and stewards land in Westmoreland County of special ecological, cultural, or recreational value, for public benefit.

Westmoreland Land Trust (WLT) is honored to have received support from Colcom Foundation over the years.  Colcom’s assistance has been key to WLT’s establishment of nature preserves, buffering of natural treasures like the Cedar Creek Gorge, and enlargement of County parks.  Colcom support has been invaluable, including that for a pilot meadow of native wildflowers and grasses to add to habitat value of the land while serving as a source of information useful for the development of other ecologically valuable meadows.  Colcom’s commitment to the environment is evidenced by the Foundation’s sensitivity to today’s environmental challenges and steady support for land conservation.

Betsy Aiken, Executive Director

Education and Media

Rail Pollution Protection Pittsburgh (RP3) is a group of Pittsburgh residents committed to addressing the risk and negative impacts of rail proliferation where it conflicts with urban health, sustainability, and personal well-being.

RP3 recognized that Pittsburgh is at risk because it sits on the most intensively used rail line in North America for the transportation of hazardous chemicals and explosive oil. RP3 predicted an East Palestine-type derailment before it happened — and pivoted to rail safety and policy reform. That work led to RP3 forming a coalition of 68 other regional and national environmental organizations to educate residents and elected officials on the city, county, state, and federal levels about rail risks, safety failure points, and state and federal policy options implemented in other high rail volume states.  

Between 2018 and 2022 RP3 utilized a two-prong litigation and grassroots campaign strategy to obtain mitigation for neighborhoods impacted by Norfolk Southern’s Pittsburgh Vertical Clearance Project (PVCP).  Litigation delays and a three-year mediation negotiation provided the leverage which led to a significant settlement (so large that the amount cannot be publicized given the terms of the Settlement Agreement). It was only by virtue of Colcom’s steadfast support that these issues and realistic solutions were brought to light.

Conservation Research

The National Aviary is home to more than 500 birds representing more than 150 species from around the world.

Generous financial support from Colcom Foundation throughout the years has helped the National Aviary fulfill our mission and our vision to save birds and protect their habitats. The Foundation has provided critical funding for veterinary programs, endangered bird breeding programs, conservation and field research at home and abroad, educational programs, and important habitat upgrades. As a result, the Aviary has achieved a number of conservation milestones and helped hundreds of thousands of visitors learn to be good stewards of our environment.

Stewardship

Tree Pittsburgh restores and protects the urban forest through tree planting and care, education, advocacy, and land conservation.

Grants from Colcom Foundation have supported Tree Pittsburgh’s work to grow and distribute more than 12,000 trees to Allegheny County residents to date, conserve five acres of riverfront land through the acquisition of our Upper Lawrenceville campus, and provide vital funds for capital improvements and organizational operations.

Danielle Crumrine, Executive Director

The Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds invests in efforts to protect, preserve, and restore Pennsylvania’s water resources and watersheds.

The Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds (FPW) has worked with Colcom Foundation since 1996 to support, guide, and fund conservation projects in Pennsylvania.  The FPW provides grants to community organizations at the forefront of environmental and social change, helping leverage and match private, local, state, and federal funds.  The FPW has provided more than 1,600 grants, totaling more than $15.4M and leveraging more than $193.7M in conservation efforts, a 12:1 return on investment.  Colcom’s funds have helped improved water quality, improve stream habitat, reduced stormwater impacts, and bring once-dead streams back to life.

Trails

Armstrong Trails

Armstrong Trails is a 52.5-mile rails to trails project on the eastern bank of the Allegheny River in Westmoreland, Armstrong, and Clarion Counties and the northern bank of the Kiskiminetas (Kiski) River.  The project included the development of 14-miles of new trail and the rehabilitation of the Kiski Bridge. Funding for Phase I rehab of the Kiski Bridge project was secured through Colcom Foundation and others.

Armstrong Trails’ Kiski Bridge project was a linchpin in furthering development on the emerging Erie to Pittsburgh Trail (270 miles), and Brookville to Butler Route (130 miles), and proposed Pittsburgh to Harrisburg Main Line Canal Greenway (320 miles).  While these systems are still under development, the rehab of the Kiski Bridge connected 100 miles of continuous trail activating multi-day trips and creating an economic impact through lodging/food/transportation and retail sales.

Waste Diversion

Pennsylvania Resources Council protects local resources for future generations through environmental education, recycling, anti-litter campaigns, and more.

Pennsylvania Resources Council (PRC) envisions a Pennsylvania where nothing is wasted, where every resource is utilized effectively. Through education and direct services, PRC actively empowers residents of Southwestern PA to minimize their environmental footprint by reducing waste generation. The invaluable support from Colcom Foundation has played a pivotal role in sustaining and expanding our waste reduction and diversion efforts for over a decade. Thanks to Colcom’s funding, we have successfully diverted over 3 million pounds of materials from local landfills in 2023 alone. Over the last decade, with Colcom’s unwavering support, our recycling and composting initiatives have diverted a remarkable 14 million pounds, significantly contributing to a more sustainable future.

Youth

The Student Conservation Association is the largest provider of hands-on environmental conservation programs for youth and young adults.

With support from Colcom Foundation, the Student Conservation Association (SCA) can improve Pittsburgh’s parks and green spaces, bolster city-wide sustainability efforts, and engage youth and young adults through local conservation projects. Colcom’s investment contributes to tangible and measurable environmental benefits in the communities where SCA’s crews work and plays a unique role in developing the next generation of conservation leaders. In partnership, Pittsburgh youth embrace green jobs, preserve the region’s natural resources, and take pride in their communities.

Funding Interest

Local Community

Colcom Foundation supports projects that enrich and improve quality of life in southwestern Pennsylvania.

Arts and Culture

Pittsburgh Cultural Trust

Colcom Foundation has been a strong partner, contributing significantly to the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s mission to develop one of the nation’s premier destinations, Pittsburgh’s Cultural District. Notably, Colcom sponsored the artist-designed bike racks on Penn Avenue, a precursor to the installation of bike lanes that have boosted the city’s bike infrastructure. In addition, Colcom has supported various impactful Pittsburgh Cultural Trust initiatives, including the Water Cube at 8th and Penn which reduces single-use plastic bottles, as well as projects like the Allegheny Riverfront Upper Park and the installation of dark-sky-compliant outdoor lighting to address nighttime light pollution. Colcom’s support has also played a role in redirecting tons of waste from landfills at the Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival by sponsoring a “Green Team” that separates compostable and recyclable materials. The Cultural Trust expresses its appreciation for Colcom Foundation in these endeavors and applauds its dedication to beautification and environmental protection.

Kendra Whitlock Ingram, President & CEO

Community and Economic Development

Scenic Pittsburgh protects, enhances, and promotes the scenic beauty – both natural and built – of southwestern Pennsylvania.

With Colcom’s generous support, Scenic Pittsburgh has been able to help communities across southwestern Pennsylvania identify their scenic assets, protect their scenic character, and address issues of sign proliferation, blight, and careless development. Colcom understands our work of preserving and promoting scenic beauty goes beyond simply enhancing the physical aesthetics of our surroundings; it positively impacts the lives of individuals and communities, creating a more harmonious and sustainable world.

Mike Dawida, Executive Director

Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership

Since 2006, Colcom Foundation has supported the Paris-to-Pittsburgh Program, serving on the Program’s review committee and helping to modify and expand the program to meet the community’s evolving needs.  The Program has been instrumental in elevating the quality of historic preservation and design across Downtown Pittsburgh, where it has financially supported exterior renovation projects and in doing so, opened a door to provide input in the design process with the architects, developers, and property owners.  The Program has also supported sidewalk activation projects Downtown, including outdoor dining and horticulture planters.  Since its start, the program has provided $3.3 million in grant support to leverage nearly $129 million in total development costs (across 138 projects).

Jeremy Waldrup, President and CEO

Grounded improves the social, economic, and environmental health of communities by building capacity to reclaim vacant and underutilized land.

Grounded was fortunate enough to receive funding from Colcom Foundation to support our Lots to Love trio of resident support services. These include: Land Doctor – A technical assistance program to aid residents in their acquisition of and access to vacant and underutilized parcels in Allegheny County, The Refresh Fund – A reimbursement program to support residents in maintaining vacant space projects by providing materials such as paint, mulch, and plants to sustain existing greenspace projects, and The PGH Mobile Toolbox – A “Shed on Wheels” containing enough landscape maintenance equipment to outfit a large team of volunteers for community upkeep.

Education

Touchstone Center for Crafts’ Summer Internship Program enables emerging artists, graduate, and undergraduate students to learn studio management and operations while refining their artistic skills and working with some of the nation’s best artists.

Colcom Foundation’s support of the internship program at Touchstone has allowed us to provide an increased amount of support and professional development opportunities to those involved. As a pivotal program for both Touchstone and the participating artists, we are thrilled that Colcom Foundation understands the need, the benefits and importance of the program, and has made an investment in our organization in this way.

Lindsay Ketterer Gates, Executive Director

Bidwell Training Center provides career training and academic enrichment to adults in transition.

Bidwell Training Center (BTC) provides adult workforce training in Pittsburgh at no cost to Pennsylvania residents. Colcom has provided funding to BTC’s greenhouse facility which houses its Horticulture Technology program, allowing for repairs and upgrades to keep this critical resource up-to-date and meeting industry standards. Additionally, Colcom’s support has enabled new infrastructure and programming within the greenhouse for Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA), which will add Urban Food Production training and a community-focused shop to BTC’s growing initiatives in education and social enterprise.

Health and Human Services

Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs paired service dogs with Pittsburgh veterans.

Compassion & Choices improves care, expands options, and empowers individuals to map their end-of-life journey through medical aid in dying.

The steadfast support from Colcom Foundation over many years has been instrumental in advancing the mission and impact of Compassion & Choices. Through Colcom’s generous funding, Compassion & Choices has expanded our outreach, education, and advocacy initiatives to advance end-of-life choice and care. Colcom’s financial support has enabled us to reach a broader audience, engage in robust public awareness campaigns, and provide resources for individuals planning for or facing complex decisions at the end of life. Colcom Foundation’s commitment to Compassion & Choices reflects a shared dedication to fostering a society where individuals have the autonomy and options to make informed choices about their end-of-life care.

Kim Callinan, President and CEO

Leisure and Recreation

Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy

Colcom Foundation has generously invested in our mission and our efforts to create more accessible, cleaner, and greener parks, including the transformation of Mellon Square Park in Downtown Pittsburgh, the historic revival of the Northside’s Allegheny Commons Park, and the construction of the Frick Environmental Center, which remains one of the world’s only Living Buildings, a welcome center that is free and open to the public, and a hub for environmental education for thousands of children and their families. Colcom’s ongoing support has been instrumental toward creating a world-class park system for all to experience, learn from, interact with, and enjoy.

Catherine Qureshi, President and CEO

Friends of the Riverfront

Colcom Foundation has provided invaluable support for Friends of the Riverfront for years – support that has allowed our organization to continue to build and maintain the economic, environmental and quality of life assets that are the Three Rivers Heritage Trail and the Water Trail and ensure more people can access and benefit from them. We have been able to expand our volunteer workforce, plant more trees, remove invasive plants and litter from the trails, and continue to build our regional trail network, as well as engage more people than ever, with 1.3 million trips on the trails in 2023. Work to extend our trails and keep them in good repair benefits our entire region not just for now, but for decades to come, and Friends is fortunate that the Colcom Foundation has seen the importance of investing in that vision.