In assessing grant proposals, TRCF gives first consideration to grassroots organizations with budgets of less than $200,000; projects addressing divisions in society based on race, color, age, sexual orientation, class, religion, disability, sex, ancestry, or national origin; projects that develop new grassroots leadership, with strong components of community organizing, community education, problem identification and solving, and community building; youth-led projects and those promoting youth activism; projects addressing emerging or cutting-edge issues and/or new approaches to problem solving; new organizations or projects that exhibit potential for growth; and coalitions that emphasize innovative joint strategies and collaborative projects.
The process by which TRCF makes funding decisions is central to its mission. The Foundation is committed to a process that is open, honest, compassionate, and accountable to the wider community. Decisions are made by a grantmaking committee whose 14 members reflect the diverse composition of the Pittsburgh region. All members˜activists, community representatives, past grantees, board members or donors˜have equal status and decisions are made by consensus. The process and interactions with grantees are designed to allocate resources to those who have been disenfranchised. The grantmaking process is developmental rather than simply evaluative, and includes grant-writing workshops, in-depth review of proposals by all committee members, rating of proposals according to established criteria, telephone and face-to-face interviews with applicants. TRCF strives to be inclusive in its processes, activities, and events. It promotes collaboration and seeks to build bridges between donors and grantees and between grantees and other community groups.