Oliphant, who has headed the Pittsburgh Foundation since 2008, previously served for more than ten years in senior positions at the Endowments. He will replace Robert Vagt, who announced his resignation last October, following the departure of the Endowments' director of environmental programs, Caren Glotfelty, and communications director, Douglas Root, in a shakeup that some believe was tied to the Endowments' support under Vagt for the Center for Sustainable Shale Development.
"It is fair to say that almost everything I believe about the work of social change and how philanthropy can help a community move forward, I learned in some way or another through my association with the Heinz family," said Oliphant, who at the beginning of his career was press secretary to the late U.S. Sen. John Heinz (D-PA). "The Heinz Endowments is a true philanthropic leader, locally for the Pittsburgh region, nationally, and beyond, with a distinctive and successful track record for addressing big and critical community issues. I have learned from the best, and now to be asked to lead the best is a deeply gratifying honor."
During his tenure at the Pittsburgh Foundation, Oliphant helped launch the Pittsburgh Promise scholarship program for Pittsburgh Public Schools students and was a key figure in the development of PittsburghGives, an online giving portal. The foundation will begin a national search to recruit his successor. "World-class talent attracts world-class opportunities, and Grant Oliphant has both," said board chair Edie Shapira. "The Pittsburgh Foundation has been extremely fortunate to have had the benefit of Grant's leadership. He has brought our organization to new heights of effectiveness, stability, and community leadership."
"I have known Grant for many, many years and watched him grow into an exemplary professional and an exceptional leader, visionary, and innovator," said Teresa Heinz, board chair of the Endowments, in a statement. "Above all he is a caring and compassionate human being who offered us three characteristics that made him the perfect choice for this role. He has a deep understanding of Pittsburgh, an informed and strategic view of philanthropy, and a close personal alignment with our family's philanthropic and community values. I am delighted that he is returning to lead our vital mission at the Endowments."