The Sprout Fund enriches the Pittsburgh region’s vitality by engaging citizens, amplifying voices, supporting creativity and innovation, and cultivating connected communities.
Background & Organizational Overview
The Sprout Fund is Pittsburgh’s leading agency supporting innovative ideas, catalyzing community change, and making our region a better place to live, work, play, and raise a family.
Sprout provides critical financial support for projects and programs in the early stages of development—when just a small amount of investment has the potential to yield big results in the community. Sprout projects create new initiatives, events, and organizations that help citizens take action on a pressing issue or enhance the cultural vitality of the Pittsburgh region.
Since 2001, Sprout has supported more than 700 projects and initiatives through more than $5 million of direct investment.
Directed by a board of civically engaged leaders, led by its co-founders, supported by a dedicated staff, and with strong relationships to many community organizations and regional stakeholders, Sprout has worked successfully across political and geographic boundaries to make hundreds of community-decided investments in early-stage projects, organizations, innovators, and activities.
Programs & Activities
The Seed Award Fund for Community Innovation offers grants to support, celebrate, and showcase the initiatives of creative people in the greater Pittsburgh region with the cumulative power to create a critical mass of positive change. Seed Award projects are innovative, non-traditional ideas that focus on current issues and challenges faced by the community, and inspire a diverse group of participants to be more active, involved, and civically-engaged.
Sprout stewards the Pittsburgh Remake Learning Network by providing catalytic support for new learning initiatives, building the learning innovation field through program design and professional development, raising awareness and understanding through knowledge sharing and enhanced communications, supporting research fellows, and telling the story of learning innovation in the region through multimedia documentation—all in an effort to provide more relevant, imaginative, and accessible learning opportunities for children, youth, and families in the greater Pittsburgh region. Sprout provides funding for new projects and initiatives in the Remake Learning Network through the Hive and Spark programs.
Past significant programs include: Sprout Public Art, which enhanced the visual landscape of neighborhoods and communities by creating more than 50 works of high-quality public art from 2003 to 2010; Spring, which supported community-based projects that demonstrated the value of biodiversity and provided citizens with opportunities for meaningful participation in these efforts; Pittsburgh 250 Community Connections, a grassroots initiative supporting projects that encouraged civic engagement to commemorate the region’s 250th anniversary; Engage Pittsburgh, connecting new ideas and collaborations that emerge at community dialogue events and discussion forums to start-up resources, project coordination, and technical assistance, and, Hothouse, Sprout’s “live annual report” to the community, which served as a stage to present a sampling of some of the innovative projects and emerging leaders supported by Sprout.
Board of Directors
Mark Broadhurst, Chair
Eat’n Park Hospitality Group
Dan Byers, Secretary
The Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston
Fourth Economy Consulting
Mike Haggerty, Treasurer
The Hillman Company
YWCA Greater Pittsburgh
Cathy Lewis Long, President
The Sprout Fund
PNC Realty Services
Henry J. Simonds, Emeritus
Allegheny Partners for Out of
School Time (APOST)
Cathy Lewis Long, Co-Founder
Executive Director & President
Matt Hannigan, Co-Founder
Deputy Director & Vice President
Communications & Documentation
Senior Program Officer,
Program & Business Operations Staff