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Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation


Last Updated: 2016-06-06

At A Glance

Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation

223 4th Ave., 1400 Benedum-Trees Bldg.

Pittsburgh, PA United States 15222-1713

Telephone: (412) 288-0360


Type of Grantmaker

Independent foundation

Financial Data

(yr. ended 2014-12-31)

Assets: $372,155,753

Total giving: $16,691,000





Additional Contact Information

Tel. for Grants Admin.: (412) 246-3636


Incorporated in 1944 in PA - The foundation was established as a memorial to Michael and Sarah Benedum's only child, Claude, who died while serving in World War I. The Benedums, both native West Virginians, came to Pittsburgh, PA in 1907. Headquartered thereafter in Pittsburgh, Mike Benedum was well known for his major role as one of the foremost oil and gas wildcatters and independent producers in the American oil and gas industry from its beginning. Mrs. Benedum died in 1951, and Mr. Benedum in 1959 at the age of 90 Michael L. Benedum's directive, to "help people help themselves," suggests the basic human concern that serves as a touchstone for the foundation's efforts, which historically have included a commitment to rural populations in West Virginia and southwestern Pennsylvania. The foundation focuses its grantmaking on those regions, generally investing two thirds of its grant dollars in West Virginia and one-third in southwestern Pennsylvania The Benedum Foundation purposefully maintains flexibility in its actions. The foundation's chief contribution is its ability, in cooperation with others, to take a long and thoughtful view of problems and solutions and provide carefully directed funding initiatives which involve other community sectors in bringing about positive change and development

Purpose and Activities

The foundation makes grants in three program areas that spans its geographic areas of interest, West Virginia, and in Southwestern Pennsylvania: education, civic engagement, and economic development. In addition, the Foundation supports community development and health & human services grants programs in West Virginia, and in Southwestern Pennsylvania supports the major performing arts organizations within the cultural district. The Foundation recognizes that economic regions do not follow political boundaries, and therefore, the foundation both encourages projects that cross state lines, and supports economic initiatives that benefit the multi-state economy centered on Pittsburgh. .

Program Area(s)

The grantmaker has identified the following area(s) of interest:

Community Development

Improving capabilities of leaders, organizations, and interested citizens to address challenges and opportunities will help communities be more prosperous through their own efforts. The foundation promotes the economic well-being and quality of life of West Virginia communities. Specific areas of interest include: a) activities that engage diverse groups of citizens in the life of the community; b) efforts that help communities organize, plan, and implement ambitious but achievable improvement strategies; c) leadership development; d) programs that improve the effectiveness and accountability of nonprofit and public organizations; e) efforts to expand technology access, affordability, and utilization; and f) activities that provide decent, safe, and affordable housing through home construction, repair, financing, and education programs.

Economic Development

Innovation will be the cornerstone of the future success of the economy in West Virginia and Southwestern Pennsylvania. The foundation supports economic development activities based upon the region’s strengths in research, technology, and advanced manufacturing. The foundation’s agenda seeks to promote regional planning and cooperation, recognizing that with respect to any endeavor, “region” should mean whatever area is most appropriate to optimize the available opportunity, without reference to historic, geographic, or political boundaries. The expected outcomes of the program grants are the creation and growth of innovative, wealth-producing businesses and high-quality jobs. In addition, many of the communities in the region served by the foundation are rural, and enjoy abundant natural assets that provide economic opportunities that complement centers of technology-based growth. The foundation supports efforts to advance agriculture, outdoor recreation, artisanship, and cultural tourism. Specific areas of foundation interest include: a) promotion of entrepreneurship; b) projects that promote technology-based economic development; and c) programs to promote the growth and accessibility of new capital for businesses in distressed communities and areas of high unemployment.


The foundation seeks to promote successful learning through the formal education system. Academic achievement and preparation for the 21st-century workforce are the ultimate objectives of this program. The foundation places a high priority on teacher quality and the most advanced instructional tools. Because schools do not function in isolation, the foundation also looks to the resources of community organizations, business, and higher education to reinforce the learning objectives of the classroom. In preparation for the rising demands of the workplace, the foundation recognizes the need for all students to be prepared, without remediation, to pursue some form of post-secondary education. Although the foundation is interested in any significant opportunity to improve the education system, specific areas of interest include: a) programs that improve teacher quality through professional development and innovative instructional strategies; b) arts education, the integration of arts into other disciplines, and the partnership of community arts groups and higher education with the PreK-12 education system; and c) career education that aligns secondary and post-secondary programs to high-demand, high-wage occupations.

Health and Human Services

West Virginia will benefit when all families have access to high-quality health care and human services. The best possible resources are required for families to raise their children to be productive members of their communities. Emphasis in this program area is placed on innovations in health care delivery systems, a strengthening of the public health infrastructure, and community-based health promotion; especially with regard to chronic disease prevention and management. Collaborative efforts involving communities, businesses, and public agencies are encouraged through technical assistance, program development, research, and public policy. Specific areas of interest include: a) support for a healthier quality of life for West Virginians through access to affordable health care, preventive health services, state-level policy development, and quality care systems across the lifespan; b) ensuring a system of accessible and affordable health care for children, early intervention services that lead to school-success, and the promotion of child-focused public policy; and c) delivery of oral health education for the public and the implementation of preventive strategies in the state oral health plan.

Program-Related Investment

The foundation has made PRIs in the form of loans to organizations that help create low and moderate-income housing and foster the rehabilitation of existing housing units, as well as to generate economic development activity.

Fields of Interest

  • Community and economic development
  • Economic development
  • Education
  • Health
  • Human services
Population Groups
  • Academics
  • Children and youth
  • Economically disadvantaged people
  • Low-income and poor people
  • Students

Financial Data

Year ended 2014-12-31

Assets: $372,155,753 (market value)

Expenditures: $20,991,055

Total giving: $16,691,000

Qualifying distributions: $19,433,895