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The Buhl Foundation

The Foundation

The Buhl Foundation is a tax-exempt, non-operating, private foundation – organized under the regulations of the Internal Revenue Service – that exists to distribute, in perpetuity, the remainder of Mr. Henry Buhl Jr.'s estate. Those funds were set aside to help people – especially in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County – upon Mr. Buhl's death in 1927. The Foundation also administers Funds established by Henry C. Frick and Emilie McCreery.


It is the mission of the Buhl Foundation to create community legacies by leveraging its resources to encourage people and organizations to dream, to innovate and to take action.


Henry Buhl, Jr. built his fortune in the retail industry and created the Buhl Foundation, the first multi-purpose foundation in Pittsburgh, as a memorial to his beloved wife, Louise C. Buhl. Mr. Buhl directed the Foundation to be especially concerned with the "well-being of the citizens of the City of Pittsburgh, and the County of Allegheny." Remembering that Henry Buhl, Jr. lived and worked on the Northside of Pittsburgh, and knowing his love for Pittsburgh and its people, the Buhl Foundation is particularly sensitive to four major areas:

  • Education - Initiatives that foster learning environments critical to building a knowledgeable and talented population
  • Youth Development - Projects that provide opportunities for our young people to thrive, to be safe and to live in a nurturing environment
  • Human Services - Strategies where our resources make a difference in addressing persistent community challenges or unmet needs of at-risk neighborhoods
  • Economic and Community Development - Efforts that encourage innovation and entrepreneurial solutions to improve quality of life

More recently, the Foundation has embarked on a revisioning effort to determine how these historic themes might be integrated into a more geographically focused effort on the Northside of Pittsburgh.  In furtherance of that effort, Buhl has been engaged in an extensive planning effort with the Northside community to find consensus around key needs and the strategies to address them. The results of that undertaking will significantly impact Buhl's granting priorities over the next decade or longer. Until that process is complete, grantees and prospective grantees are encouraged to learn more about this undertaking by visiting www.onenorthsidepgh.org or by contacting Buhl staff.

Guiding Principles

The Buhl Foundation's current aspirations are integrated into our long-standing mission, making it relevant to contemporary times.


  • Because today's dreams become the realities of tomorrow, Mr. Buhl hoped the Foundation would be curious, accessible, unencumbered in vision and purpose, and structurally capable of adaptability and usefulness. We welcome discussion of wide ranging ideas and opportunities to make a difference.
  • To advance its mission, the Foundation must do more than simply make grants. Acknowledging the finiteness of our resources, we seek to be informed by the community in order to best leverage our efforts and to be an active participant in finding solutions. We appreciate the need to give of our time and energy to help make dreams happen.


  • With a history of funding creative endeavors for nearly 90 years, the Foundation recognizes that any success is dependent on the vision and dedication of the many organizations that it is privileged to assist.
  • The Foundation has been fortunate that great ideas and the leaders to implement them have emerged. We seek to partner with such leaders to stimulate and strengthen our community's ability to survive, adapt and thrive in a fast changing world. Our resources are focused on inventive and entrepreneurial solutions to expand tomorrow's possibilities.


  • The Foundation is often the first funder of a new idea, willing to venture when the possible benefits outweigh the attendant risks. We look for opportunities where a small amount of money wisely invested can lead to strategic action and improvements.
  • In carrying out its mission the Foundation tries to find the balance between visibility and self-effacement; leadership and enablement.