The Pittsburgh Foundation

$556,000 raised to aid recovery after synagogue attack

#LoveIsStronger campaign donations matched by Foundation

 Beneficiaries include injured officers, immigrant aid and Jewish congregations

PITTSBURGH, Nov. 5, 2018 – The Pittsburgh Foundation’s Critical Needs program, which has raised nearly $4 million over the past five years for a range of human services, has raised $556,000 to support organizations helping victims, their families and others affected by the Oct. 27 mass shootings at Tree of Life Synagogue in Squirrel Hill.

Donors to the crowdfunding event under the #LoveIsStronger banner that ran from Nov. 1 to last night with dollar-for-dollar matching from the Foundation, ranged from Walmart with a $50,000 contribution to a Jefferson Hills family with $210 offered in memory of Irish-born parents who were victims of religious bigotry.

The Foundation’s donation platform,, will continue to take contributions without the Foundation match until 5 p.m. Friday in response to the shootings in which 11 Pittsburghers attending services at Tree of Life Synagogue in Squirrel Hill were killed, and six others – including four police officers – were injured. Police have charged a Baldwin man with an attack they say was fueled by antisemitism and hatred of immigrants.

For the matching campaign, there were 873 gifts totaling $278,103. The list ranges from individuals to community foundations to corporations, including Walmart and the Kennametal Foundation, which made a $10,000 contribution. Of these, the clear majority – 704 – were for $200 or less. 

Donors participating in the matching event were able to choose from among eight designated charities, including the three congregations that shared space at Tree of Life in Squirrel Hill, the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) headquartered in Silver Spring, MD, and the Fraternal Order of Police Injured Officers Fund.

“None of us at this Foundation ever imagined we would have to respond to a hate-fueled mass shooting at a synagogue in a Pittsburgh neighborhood,” said Pittsburgh Foundation President and CEO Maxwell King in announcing the event’s results. “But we were determined that this foundation help the community recover and heal. Our family of donors and others from across the country and the world have been so impressive in responding. They have made #LoveIsStronger a success, but it is only a first step.”

King said that staff will reach out to the organizations designated in the campaign and others in the community to determine how the Foundation might assist with longer-term needs. “We will work with government officials at all levels, religious leaders and nonprofit/civic organization staffs in helping our community unite, heal and rebound.” Part of the work, he said, involves confronting hate speech and bigotry generated in the region.

Gifts from individuals to #LoveIsStronger ranged in size from $10 to $25,000 offered by R.W. Mike Glenn, a Pittsburgh Foundation donor from Sewickley who founded Mid-Penn Refining Co. “I just lost my wife of 61 years, Cordelia, in the last month and I know how that has affected me,” said Glenn. “I cannot imagine the grief these people are bearing, and I just wanted to help.”

Many donations were made from the Pittsburgh diaspora. One came from a couple who met in Pittsburgh as Carnegie Mellon University students and were married in the city. Allyson Halpern and Dan Cohen, since relocated to San Francisco, made their donation in memory of Cohen’s mother, Miriam, who as a child was orphaned in the Holocaust. Their gift was made to benefit Jewish Family and Community Services with a request that it “be directed to the needs of our second hometown, the brave and resilient community of Pittsburgh.”

Some of the gifts include donations from small businesses that ran fundraisers to benefit the victims. Scratch Food and Beverage in Troy Hill gave proceeds of $486 from dinner service Saturday night to; and East End Brewing locations will donate all proceeds from sales at both locations tomorrow, Nov. 6, to #LoveIsStronger to benefit Tree of Life.


Doug Root