Voices of Philanthropy: Some Big Pittsburgh-Area Donors Talk About Why They Give

December 7th, 2020

Southwestern Pennsylvania has a generous pool of philanthropists who support the Pittsburgh region’s nonprofits from hospitals to the arts to youth programs and more.

Among them are Alba and Thomas Tull, who started the Tull Family Foundation; Nancy and her late husband Milton Washington, who owned Allegheny Rehabilitation Housing Corp.; and Kathe and Jim Patrinos, former owners of the Primanti Bros. restaurants.

These — just a small sampling of the many supporters of nonprofits, cultural organizations and other groups in our community — agreed to offer some insights into why they give and why it is important to them.

Alba Tull

The Tull name has become well known in Pittsburgh in recent years as Mrs. Tull, who is CEO of Tull Investment Group, and her husband, former CEO of Legendary Pictures and a part-owner of the Steelers, have committed to both economic and philanthropic endeavors. Here, in her words, she shares some of their vision:

“Our family is committed to supporting efforts across the education, medical and life science research, sports and conservation service sectors. We primarily focus our giving in order to empower change and advancement with particular attention to technological advancements and underserved communities. We look to invest in organizations that are groundbreaking and innovative and have the ability to transform the lives of the people they serve.

“The pandemic impacted our philanthropy, not just as a family foundation, but around our culture of giving through the companies we are involved with. We knew we needed to look outside our traditional focus of giving, take a break from long-term strategy and react to the incredible need around us.

“Through Thomas’ work at Legendary and the film ‘42,’ we formed a strong relationship with the Jackie Robinson Foundation. We wanted to honor Jackie and support the communities that the Jackie Robinson Foundation represents.

“On Jackie Robinson Day, April 15, we worked with FIGS [a medical supply company that is part of Tulco Holdings] to donate $4.2 million of PPE and other badly needed supplies to hospitals around the country serving predominantly Black neighborhoods.

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