As Pittsburgh evolves, the nonprofit sector adds significantly to the region’s quality of life. One in ten local jobs is presently in this sector. Nonprofits educate, elevate, and nourish the community. Their programs help to make the promise of Pittsburgh possible.
Community success relies on talented nonprofit leaders who are deeply committed to the mission of serving others. Often these leaders work for modest pay and in demanding circumstances. Budgets are often so tight that the training necessary to stay current in a field or to grow professionally remains out of reach. Pittsburgh needs these dedicated leaders. We also need them to thrive here. How can we keep these talented leaders contributing to Pittsburgh?
We asked our grant partners for their ideas. Through a survey and a design charrette, we explored what they need to develop successful, long-term careers in the region. Above all, they affirmed the importance of supporting leadership development for nonprofits in Pittsburgh. Their insights moved us and influenced the design of our next step, the Benter Vision Awards. In the process, they set the stage for our work in the coming decade.
The Benter Vision Awards offer dynamic leaders the ability to gain professional development skills that can add to their careers, improve their organizations, and benefit our region.
The Benter Vision Awards are structured in two phases. Phase I provides $20,000 to enable an executive leader or a senior-level staff member to pursue a transformative professional development experience. What do we mean by a transformative experience? Each applicant was invited to decide which learning opportunities would inspire creative approaches in their work, open doors to mentorship, and equip them to continue to lead in their fields. We hope the experience deepens their commitment to Pittsburgh’s vibrant future. We want them to come back energized and more resilient. Awardees may be later invited to submit a proposal for Phase II, an award of up to $40,000 to extend the learning of Phase I into a project with substantial possible impact for the region.