About Us


To encourage human development in West Virginia and Southwestern Pennsylvania through strategically placed charitable resources.

Guiding Principles

The following principles guide the Foundation’s grants programs in those regions:

  • We honor Michael and Sarah Benedum’s belief in “helping people help themselves,” and we seek opportunities to cultivate the creativity of people and communities.
  • We nurture leadership within the communities we serve, and we participate in leadership when it adds value.
  • We encourage planning, projects and programs that cross geographical and political boundaries so that access to services and economic growth is maximized.
  • We expect collaboration among the public, private and nonprofit sectors in order to leverage the resources that each can bring to common concerns.
  • We strive to advance innovative practices that demonstrate measurable and sustainable benefit.
  • We seek projects that contribute to advancement in public policy.

The Foundation’s Role

In seeking to achieve our mission and acknowledging lessons learned in 70 years of grantmaking, the Foundation has identified its role as follows:

The Foundation largely takes on the agenda of the people we serve. Our business is to help people help themselves. This is not intended to suggest that the Foundation’s role is passive. To the contrary, we go out into the field and listen closely. We build strong and supportive relationships with grantees. We provide technical assistance. We broker ideas and institutions. We create partnerships. We undertake analyses of issues and problems and we promote public awareness of them. We help to build broad consensus for change. We seek to empower people to develop their own capacity and the capacity of their institutions to succeed. We leverage not only funds but interest, involvement, and commitment.”

Excerpted from “In the Company of Extraordinary People A Special Report on the 50th Anniversary of the Benedum Foundation,” 1994