Economic Development Grant

From Richard King Mellon Foundation

Since 1947, the Richard King Mellon Foundation has invested in visionaries who seek to advance the competitive future and quality of life of Southwestern Pennsylvania, and to protect, preserve and restore America’s environmental heritage.

Type of Support


Southwestern Pennsylvania’s economic prosperity is hindered by a widening gap in economic opportunities among residents and education systems that are not keeping pace with what the workforce of the future needs to compete in the innovation economy. The Foundation envisions a region that is an engine for economic growth and vitality, and seeks to invest in the ingenuity and creativity of its population, enhancing individuals’ economic prosperity, and strengthening a sense of community.

Grants are awarded to organizations and programs focused on:

  • Talent Development, with priority to
    • 21st century skills such as critical thinking, communication, and collaboration
    • Building and supporting career pathways
    • Workforce development systems
  • Employment Opportunities, with priority to
    • Businesses and job creation
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Economic independence
  • Community Building, with priority to
    • Arts and culture
    • Innovation districts
    • Infrastructure and transportation


Organization's Location
Program Location
PA (Allegheny County, Westmoreland County, Southwestern Pennsylvania regions)
Organization Type
Public-sector agencies
For-profit businesses
Fiscally-sponsored organizations


Individuals or proposals that regrant to individuals
Lobbying, advocacy, or political causes or events
Terrorist activities
Postsecondary institutions or research institutions are not eligible for general operating support
not specified


Required Attachments
Board List
Letters of Support
Organizational Budget
501(c)(3) Letter
Audited Financial Statement
Project Budget
Contact info
Review Criteria

Talent Development proposals should include outcomes such as:

  • Improvement in skills
  • Participation in, or strengthening of, industry-based partnerships
  • Participation in on-the-job and work-based learning opportunities
  • Development of career pipelines and pathways
  • Navigation and awareness of career opportunities
  • Employment and retention in new economy jobs that offer family-sustaining earnings

Employment Opportunities proposals could include outcomes such as:

  • Increase in new economy jobs or businesses
  • Employment, income, or retention rates of hires in new economy jobs that offer family-sustaining earnings
  • Participation in activities that foster new economy business growth
  • Attraction of capital to foster start-ups and businesses
  • Stabilization of employment and earnings for gig economy and independent workers
  • Increase in the re-entry of women or vulnerable populations
  • Reduction in stressors of workers by supporting connections to the social safety net, improving financial literacy, lessening social isolation, or cultivating resilience

For-profit businesses only:

  • The Richard King Mellon Foundation is looking to invest in novel products, technologies or services from social-mission oriented for-profit companies.
  • Planning and Innovation: This funding supports experimentation and the development of novel concepts. Recipients might conduct activities such as piloting minimally viable products or services.
  • Implementation: The funding provides support for more developed concepts and services. Recipients of this funding often have demonstrated past success and have the capacity to engage in iteration and evaluation of their technology, products, or services.
  • Scalability: This funding supports scaling of a technology, product, or service.

Nonprofit and Public Sector only:

  • Planning and Innovation: This funding supports experimentation and the development of new ideas. Recipients might conduct activities such as piloting minimally viable products/services or completing a feasibility study.
  • Implementation: This funding provides support for more developed concepts and services. Recipients might continue current programs, construct a building, train staff, carry out a marketing campaign, or conduct a third-party evaluation. 
  • Scalability: This funding supports extending the reach of a promising model or project. Recipients might participate in conferences or publishing, convene networks, provide technical support to other organizations, or expand service delivery
  • Community engagement describes how the project will incorporate community perspectives to increase the likelihood of achieving the outputs and outcomes. You might describe how you have engaged with the target population to understand their view of the problem that you propose to address. You might also describe how you will engage your target population in ongoing leadership or advisory roles during the project’s implementation. You might also describe partnerships with other organizations that will increase the project’s effectiveness.
  • Project Sustainability helps us to understand your expectations for the relationship that might be formed between our organizations if funding were awarded. By asking this question, we want to understand how you are thinking about our role in your finances and program delivery.