Community Impact

Heinz Endowments awards major grant to Pittsburgh Girls Choir

Two-year commitment marks recognition of importance of afterschool choral music education

PITTSBURGH, PA, October 29, 2019.  Pittsburgh Girls Choir (PGC) is delighted to announce that it has received, with gratitude, an important commitment of financial support from The Heinz Endowments. 

The grant, for $30,000 over two years, is a substantial demonstration of support for PGC’s afterschool choral music education programs, amounting to nearly 10% of PGC’s annual operating budget.

Grant Oliphant, president of The Heinz Endowments, said that PGC “represents an important endeavor in advancing our overall goals” and offered the foundation’s thanks to PGC “for the important work you do to enrich the quality of life in our community for everyone”. 

The Heinz Endowments is devoted to the mission of helping our region prosper as a vibrant center of creativity, learning, and social, economic and environmental sustainability. Core to its work is the vision of a just community where all are included and where everyone who calls southwestern Pennsylvania home has a real and meaningful opportunity to thrive.

Kathryn Barnard, PGC’s founder and artistic director, noted that the award comes at the beginning of PGC’s fifteenth concert season: “when we began in 2005, with 15 girls from 8 families, no one had any idea what the future held.  As I look back, I am filled with gratitude for the hundreds of girls I have had the joy of teaching.  I have experienced unspeakable beauty reverberating through the aisles of Bath Abbey Cathedral, the Cathedral of Cologne and many other places throughout Europe and the US.  As I reflect on the past, and look to the future, I am grateful for the many gifts of the past and look forward to the surprises awaiting us! Thank you for your part in our history and in our future.”

Reflecting on PGC’s most recent achievement, Ms. Barnard added that “this past summer, PGC debuted Anne Frank: A Living Voice in Amsterdam, 24 hours after touring the hiding place of Anne Frank. This was the performance of a lifetime for PGC: in this concert every core value of PGC was realized. Our girls sang with understanding, compassion, empathy and profound skill.  I know that both musicians and audience will remember this experience forever.”

This Heinz Endowments grant will support PGC’s sliding-scale tuition, which makes participation in PGC’s choirs – and experiences such as the Amsterdam Anne Frank concert – accessible to every girl interested in choral singing in the greater Pittsburgh region by adjusting tuition fees according to her family’s resources. 

For more information about Pittsburgh Girls Choir, including enrollment, visit To learn more about The Heinz Endowments’ philanthropic leadership in western Pennsylvania, visit