History of The Forbes Funds 

The Forbes Funds was established in 1982 to provide emergency financial assistance to nonprofit organizations experiencing funding interruptions or short-term cash flow problems.  Under the leadership of our founding director, Elmer J. Tropman, The Forbes Funds provided management consultation and advice to small nonprofit organizations, and conducted regional research to identify unmet needs in the human services sector.  We provided an important service during a particularly turbulent time when many nonprofit organizations were struggling to adjust to a new domestic policy agenda, as well as to significant changes in federal and state funding priorities and procedures.

By the late 1980s, while continuing to provide loan guarantees, the emphasis of our work shifted 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 grantmaking, The Forbes Funds helped nonprofit organizations secure technical assistance to address critical matters such 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.  Given the rapid changes in the nonprofit sector and the tumultuous economic environment in which each nonprofit organization must navigate, the work of The Forbes Funds is more relevant than ever.

Building upon our successful foundation, in 2013 we redefined our focus to concentrate on three complementary activities which now comprise the core of our work – 1) Capacity Building, 2) Social Innovation, and 3) unity of the sector through the Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership – to respond to the critical and contemporary needs of the nonprofit sector.  

In 2018, we welcomed long-time nonprofit capacity builder and innovator Fred Brown as the President and CEO of The Forbes Funds. Under Fred’s leadership, the Forbes Funds is working to ensure the effective and efficient delivery of our mission in the 21st century, by expanding the depth and breadth of our work to innovatively address challenges and actively seize opportunities.