For more than 60 years the Richard King Mellon Foundation has invested in the competitive future and quality of life in Southwestern Pennsylvania, and in the protection, preservation, and restoration of America’s environmental heritage.
The Foundation was created in 1947 by Richard King Mellon (1899 – 1970), president and chairman of Mellon Bank, a conservationist and leading figure in the financial and civic life of Pennsylvania. Following his service in World War II, General Mellon had recently returned home to catalyze the nationally recognized Pittsburgh Renaissance, a groundbreaking public-private partnership for urban revitalization. As a banker and director of major corporations, he envisioned philanthropy as an investment and partnership to improve the city and region where he worked and lived. As a lifelong outdoorsman and sportsman, he, along with his wife, Constance Prosser Mellon, had an equally strong commitment to preserving wildlife habitat and the natural world. Mrs. Mellon served as chair of the Foundation from 1947 until her death in 1980.
With assets over $1.9 billion at December 31, 2010, the Richard King Mellon Foundation has built on the vision of these founders. The Foundation’s current giving priorities primarily serve Southwestern Pennsylvania with a program focus on Regional Economic Development and Conservation, along with Education and Human Services and Nonprofit Capacity Building. The Foundation gives first consideration to requests that clearly align with these interests and demonstrates the greatest likelihood of achieving measurable results.
The Trustees have shown a preference for supporting established organizations with specific objectives, and for partnering with other donors rather than solely underwriting the entire cost of projects. The Trustees believe that this policy allows the Foundation’s funds to benefit the largest number of people. In 2010, Trustees approved grants totaling $87,556,842.
Commitment to Southwestern Pennsylvania
Seeking to build a vibrant Pittsburgh and Southwestern Pennsylvania, the Richard King Mellon Foundation invests in a broad range of economic development programs in the region. The Foundation recently has supported projects that strengthen Pittsburgh’s urban core by diversifying downtown housing, encouraging good riverfront usage, and creating or maintaining open spaces within the city.
The Foundation also contributes to a variety of endeavors to stimulate business development, to promote economic health in rural areas, to leverage the economic impact of the regional health care, education and cultural assets, and to attract and retain talented people to Southwestern Pennsylvania.
Commitment to the Natural Environment
Nationwide, the Foundation has built innovatively on Richard and Constance Mellon’s commitment to the conservation of wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, and historic battlefields throughout the United States. Often working in partnership with state and local governments and conservation agencies, the Foundation has ensured the protection of more than 2 million acres of land at sites in all 50 states. These gifts of land have been donated to the American people for their use and enjoyment in perpetuity.
The Foundation does not fund outside the United States. Its funds are committed almost exclusively to Southwestern Pennsylvania.