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July 12, 2012

City, public service fund agree on $5.2 million contribution

Pittsburgh City Council has approved an agreement under which a consortium of local nonprofit organizations, including Pitt, will provide an estimated $5.2 million in voluntary financial support to the city in 2012-13.

G. Reynolds Clark, Pitt vice chancellor for community initiatives and co-chair of the Pittsburgh Public Service Fund consortium, said that The Pittsburgh Foundation, where the fund is housed, planned to send approximately 150 letters this week to solicit pledges of support from members of the nonprofit community that had expressed interest in earlier agreements.

Clark said the city council had asked for an estimate of anticipated support, adding that the consortium was comfortable with expecting $2.6 million in contributions in each of the two years. That figure is consistent with prior years’ totals, Clark said, noting that the public service fund contributed $2.68 million in 2011 and nearly $2.63 million in 2010.

The consortium is made up of more than 40 nonprofits, with Pitt, Carnegie Mellon University and Highmark among the main supporters, he said. Clark would not provide a list of which organizations would be asked for pledges, but said that the list of contributors would be made public. The group does not disclose the amount of each organization’s donation.

He said he hopes to have a handle on the level of participation by mid-August.

In 2005, the consortium, which then totaled more than 125 nonprofits, agreed to contribute a total of $13.25 million over three years in lieu of taxes to aid the city.

The fund made no contribution in 2008-09 because City Council and the consortium failed to come to an agreement on the amount of the donation. However, the new agreement signed July 3 by Mayor Luke Ravenstahl essentially is a renewal of the consortium’s 2010-11 agreement to contribute $2.6 million per year, Clark said.

Clark said participants in the nonprofit consortium want to provide support to ensure the city’s financial stability, adding that if the city is not fiscally strong, the broader region risks negative impacts.

—Kimberly K. Barlow

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