Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Mission & Vision

- Our Mission -

Three Rivers Community Foundation (TRCF) promotes Change, not charity™, by funding and encouraging activism among community-based organizations in underserved areas of Southwestern Pennsylvania.  We support groups challenging attitudes, policies, or institutions as they work to promote social, economic, or racial justice.

The Foundation’s key issue areas include: Disability Rights; Economic Justice; Environmental Justice; Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues; Peace and Human Rights; Racial Justice;  and Women, Youth, and Families Issues

Not all of our grantees are categorized under the umbrella of our seven key issue areas (see above).  We fund other components of social justice – on local, regional, national, and international levels.

Several of our grantees have successfully incorporated the arts into their work to promote social justice.  The arts can be a powerful tool in creating change, and we’re proud to support the arts through these grants.

TRCF believes in the human possibility of bringing about progressive social action.  Our Foundation solicits, identifies, and evaluates projects that define and resolve community issues at a grassroots level, and makes grants to organizations working on the ground floor of change. We support groups challenging attitudes, policies, or institutions as they work to promote social, economic, or racial justice. To support this work, TRCF raises funds from individual donors and foundations.

- Our History -

Three Rivers Community Foundation was formed in 1989 by a group of community activists who wanted to create a new kind of philanthropy in southwestern Pennsylvania.  They formed TRCF in order to invest in activist, grassroots organizations working to bridge divisions in society.  These divisions centered on issues of race, economic status, gender, sexual identity, and disability.  Since then, TRCF has added environmental justice to those key issue areas.  The founders of TRCF embraced the philosophy that the best way to bring about social justice is by supporting community-based organizations that are working “on the ground floor” of change.  TRCF continues to embrace this philosophy today, promoting Change, not charity™ by:

Funding activism among people and groups who might otherwise not have their voices heard.
• Focusing on groups that may not be able to attract support from sources because they are too small, too new, or too controversial.
• Helping to develop new leadership in the region along with deeper and broader participation in the democratic process by all citizens.
• Offering technical assistance and networking opportunities to grassroots groups through grantwriting workshops, issue-specific forums and expositions, and outreach.

Three Rivers Community Foundation was initially incorporated as Three Rivers Community Fund.  For the first eleven years, the organization’s active volunteer board of directors managed the Foundation with only limited staff support, and using the services of consultants as needed.  Several committees were created, utilizing support from both the board members and talented and committed community volunteers.

In 2001, the Board and several other volunteers launched a $1 million endowment campaign with the goal of significantly increasing TRCF’s grantmaking capacity.  The corpus of the endowment remains untouched, and only the earnings off the investment will be used, and it is designated to be used strictly for grantmaking.  This campaign reached its goal in 2007.  In early 2009 the board installed a new Executive Director, with the mandate of implementing board initiatives, increasing TRCF’s grantmaking and administrative capacity, and expanding its reach into as many communities in the region as possible.

– Vision Statement –

Three Rivers Community Foundation (TRCF) will be universally recognized as the pre-eminent supporter of social justice and progressive change in southwestern Pennsylvania.  A familiar presence in communities throughout the region, TRCF will be the nexus for grassroots activism, serving as an anti-racist and oppression multi-cultural institution; a convener and connector of individuals and groups in the movement for progressive change; and a funder and nurturer of projects with clear potential to advance equity and justice.