Serving the nonprofit sector since 1982.
The Forbes Funds, a supporting organization of The Pittsburgh Foundation, was established in 1982 to provide emergency financial assistance to nonprofit organizations that were experiencing funding interruptions or short-term cash flow problems. Under the leadership of our founding director, Elmer J. Tropman (PDF) , The Forbes Funds also provided management consultation and advice to small nonprofit organizations and conducted regional scans to identify unmet needs in the human service sector.
We provided an important service during a particularly turbulent time when many nonprofit organizations were struggling to adjust not only to a new domestic policy agenda but also to significant changes in federal and state funding priorities and procedures. By the late 1980s, while continuing to provide loan guarantees, we shifted our emphasis to long-term capacity building in the nonprofit sector.
During this time, The Forbes Funds focused on helping nonprofits improve administrative skills and infrastructure, with special emphasis on long-range planning and strategic management. Through our grantmaking, we helped nonprofit organizations secure technical assistance to address such matters as strategic planning, financial management and board governance.
Beginning in 1996, The Forbes Funds advanced efforts to support management capacity building and strategic planning, while also addressing such sector-wide issues as inter-agency partnerships and mergers. Additionally, we provided support for local universities and colleges to train nonprofit staff and boards.
Beginning in 2001 and continuing today, The Forbes Funds focuses on an ambitious strategy to enhance the management capacity of the nonprofit sector, especially human services and community development organizations, through three complementary activities: grantmaking, applied research and building sector leadership.