Jefferson Regional Foundation marked its 10th anniversary at AHN Jefferson Hospital on Wednesday and looked forward to its next decade during the celebration.

The theme, “Then, Ten and Time Ahead,” highlighted the foundation’s history and the $20 million in grants it has awarded. The Jefferson Regional Foundation was created when the former Jefferson Hospital became part of the Allegheny Health Network. The foundation is dedicated to grantmaking in the South Hills and Mon Valley areas of Pittsburgh that will improve the health and vitality of residents, according to a news release.

CEO Dr. Trisha Gadson, board chair Richard Talarico and Lt. Gov. Austin Davis all lauded the deep relationships and partnerships JRF has developed with community-based organizations and residents in its work.

“Today is both a celebration and a charge to continue to accomplish important work,” said Gadson, who started in her role in September 2022. “Our measures of success are tied to the increased well-being of the citizens in our service area.”

Talarico, board chair, reviewed the history of the hospital’s acquisition, and the advances it has made since then, and the creation of the foundation. AHN made a contribution of $75 million to create the foundation as part of the affiliation, which was finalized in March 2013.  The goal then — and it remains — was to improve the health and well-being of the people who live and work in the communities that Jefferson serves, he said.

The foundation wanted its work to be informed by those residents and the organizations doing work in their communities, he said. That led to early investments to create the annual Jefferson Forum and Jefferson Community Collaborative, which let JRF’s partner organizations and community members gather to share information, network and collaborate.

“Recently, that led to the creation of the foundation’s Community Voice fund, that we hope will reach into every community, so they will be heard, and we can learn,” he said.

Lt. Gov. Austin Davis congratulates the Jefferson Regional Foundation on its 10th anniversary on Wednesday, April 12, 2023. (Pittsburgh Union Progress)

The Community Voice Fund will award grants of up to $35,000 to organizations that convene residents and stakeholders of the Jefferson service area and include their knowledge, passion and lived experience for immediate and long-term ideas and action plans that will increase health and well-being of community residents. Applications must be submitted by April 28.

Talarico acknowledged the work of the staff, including Mary Phan-Gruber, the inaugural CEO who retired in 2022, and Kelleigh Boland, an original member of the team who is now director of grantmaking and strategy.

Davis stressed the importance of the foundation’s investment and support through its grantmaking process and partnerships with communities in the South Hills and the Mon Valley. As someone who grew up in McKeesport, he said, a community that has often felt forgotten or unheard or unseen, “You all give these communities a strong voice here, not just in our region but across our great commonwealth.”

He pledged that he and Gov. Josh Shapiro will continue to work collaboratively with JRF to continue to move the region forward and improve the lives of its residents.

Staff representatives from state Sen. Jim Brewster, D-45th District, and Sen. Devlin Robinson, R-37th District, read proclamations celebrating the anniversary.

The foundation’s inaugural board members and Phan-Gruber received gifts at the celebration.

Gadson stressed in her remarks and in a news release that over the next 10 years she looks forward to continued community partnerships and ongoing investments via a process that enables residents to participate in and help JRF set priorities and objectives that will inform the foundation’s grantmaking process. “The health and vitality of neighbors remains our focus, and we will achieve that goal by collaborating to mitigate social determinants of health,” she said.

Kelleigh Boland, Jefferson Regional Foundation director of grantmaking and strategy, presents inaugural board member and past officer John Echement with his gift during the foundation’s 10th anniversary event on Wednesday, April 12, 2023.

The PUP is the publication of the striking workers at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Pittsburgh Union Progress

The PUP is the publication of the striking workers at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.