The Allegheny Foundation was created in 1956 by Richard Mellon Scaife, the grandnephew of industrialist and philanthropist Andrew W. Mellon, to provide grants to Pittsburgh-area nonprofits. The foundation’s endowment grew substantially after Scaife’s death in 2014.
Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation
The foundation’s first major project was working with the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation to preserve Station Square, several buildings once owned by the Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad. Between 1976 and 1984, the Allegheny Foundation donated $5 million to preserve the buildings. The Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation sold the buildings to a private developer in 1994, earning $25 million in profit that it used for historic preservation. 1
In 1993, the Allegheny Foundation gave the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation an initial grant to preserve abandoned churches in Pittsburgh, a program which the History and Landmarks Foundation has continued. 2
Preservation of Carnegie Libraries
The Allegheny Foundation has funded efforts to preserve libraries established by Andrew Carnegie. In Braddock, Pennsylvania, the foundation helped preserve the first library Carnegie funded, which opened in 1889. The library was in such bad shape that in 2012, Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation president Arthur Ziegler recalled visiting the library with Richard Mellon Scaife, when the library only had one room open and “the room was heated with a kerosene heater.” 3 The library became a National Historic Landmark in 2012. 4
The Allegheny Foundation, collaborating with the state of Pennsylvania, the Buhl and PPG Industries foundations, and the Heinz Endowments supported the renovation of the Carnegie Library and Music Hall in Carnegie, Pennsylvania, including a complete renovation of both the library and its accompanying concert hall. 5
Expansion after Scaife’s Death
Richard Mellon Scaife died in 2014, and he willed the Allegheny Foundation $364 million. The gift led the Chronicle of Philanthropy to declare Scaife America’s most generous philanthropist in 2015. 6 The gift grew the Allegheny Foundation’s endowment from $67 million to $425 million, and dramatically increased the size of its grants. “The Allegheny Foundation gave more in 2015 to one project than it used to give to three dozen,” the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported in 2017. 7
As of 2022, the largest grant the Allegheny Foundation has made since 2015 was $30 million to Carnegie Mellon University in 2018 to support the construction of New Scaife Hall, a replacement for Scaife Hall, funded by the Sarah Scaife Foundation, a foundation established by Richard Mellon Scaife’s mother, in 1962.The original Scaife Hall was torn down in 2020 and its replacement is scheduled to open in the fall of 2023. 8
In 2020, the Allegheny Foundation made four grants of more than $1 million: $5 million to Carnegie Mellon University, $1.6 million to the Laurel Highlands Workforce and Opportunity Center, $1.25 million to the Braddock Carnegie Library Association, and $1 million to the Community College of Allegheny County. 9
- “History.” Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation. Accessed September 29, 2022. https://phlf.org/about/history/.
- “Historic Religious Properties Grant Program.” Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation. Accessed September 29, 2022. https://phlf.org/preservation/historic-religious-properties-grant-program/.
- Bill Zlatos. “Carnegie’s 1st Library Granted Landmark Status.” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. March 7, 2012. https://archive.triblive.com/news/carnegies-1st-library-granted-landmark-status/.
-  Bill Zlatos. “Carnegie’s 1st Library Granted Landmark Status.” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. March 7, 2012. https://archive.triblive.com/news/carnegies-1st-library-granted-landmark-status/.
-  David Mayernik, Jr. “Park Planned for Carnegie Library, Music Hall.” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. October 3, 2016. https://archive.triblive.com/news/park-planned-for-carnegie-library-music-hall-land/.
- Maria Di Mento. “Philanthropy 50.” Chronicle of Philanthropy. February 2016. https://www.philanthropy.com/package/the-2016-philanthropy-50.
- Rich Lord. “Enlarged Allegheny Foundation Gushes with Grants.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. January 15, 2017. https://www.post-gazette.com/news/politics-nation/2017/01/15/Enlarged-Allegheny-Foundation-gushes-with-grants/stories/201701050148.
- Adam Tunnard. “With Old Scaife Hall Demolished, Construction Begins on Its Replacement.” Carnegie-Mellon Tartan. February 14, 2021. https://thetartan.org/2021/2/15/news/new-scaife.
- “2020 Allegheny Foundation Annual Report.” Allegheny Foundation. Accessed September 29, 2022. http://www.scaife.com/Alleghen-2020.pdf.