Hillman Foundation Gives $5 Million to Pitt’s Institute of Politics

Issue Date: 
June 2, 2014

The University of Pittsburgh announced that the Henry L. Hillman Foundation has made a $5 million gift to support Pitt’s Institute of Politics. This is the largest gift ever received by the institute. It will be added to the University’s endowment and will support in perpetuity new and enhanced efforts by the institute to promote citizen engagement, develop innovative approaches to important public policy issues, and encourage ever-higher levels of social responsibility among students and community partners.

Among the planned initiatives is a Civic Engagement Scholars Program, which will support students conducting independent public policy research in such diverse areas as human services, public health, education, and community development. Program scholars will use materials from Pitt’s rich archival collections—which include the papers of civic leader Elsie Hillman; Dick Thornburgh, former Pennsylvania Governor and former U.S. Attorney General; and the late K. Leroy Irvis, former Speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. Participating students also will have the opportunity to interact with regional decision-makers and learn from the accomplishments of high-profile leaders.

Since its inception more than 20 years ago, the Institute of Politics has made unique contributions to regional progress as a nonpartisan convener of public policy discussions and impartial community research initiatives. Through consensus-based dialogue, balanced research, and collaborative planning, the Institute of Politics has served as a catalyst for the development of innovative approaches toward pressing public policy challenges.

“We are deeply grateful for this exceptionally generous and very well-targeted gift, which will help secure the future of the institute,” said Terry Miller, director of the Institute of Politics. “For decades, Elsie and Henry Hillman have stood as inspiring examples of completely committed civic leaders who have been passionately committed to the progress of Western Pennsylvania. Speaking in more human terms, then, we also are honored to have the mission of Pitt’s Institute of Politics so visibly embraced by the Hillmans.”

Pitt Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg said, “More than anything else, this gift stands as another testament to the extraordinary generosity of the Hillman family, and our sense of appreciation for this investment in such an important Pitt program really is boundless. It also reflects the widespread respect that has been earned by the Institute of Politics, particularly under the leadership of Terry Miller. The Henry L. Hillman Foundation has been a longtime supporter of the institute and knows its programs very well. The decision to make this gift, then, also is the product of a well-informed belief in the quality and impact of the institute’s programs.”