Program Areas

The McElhattan Foundation makes grants in four program areas: Workplace Safety; End-of-Life Care and Planning; Education; and Community Development in Knox and Franklin, PA.

Workplace Safety

The Foundation's interest in preventing death and serious injury in the workplace stems from the family's company, Industrial Scientific Corporation, which manufactures life-saving gas-monitoring devices. The McElhattan family is deeply committed to ending death on the job by 2050, and we expect the majority of our grant budget will be dedicated to this effort. We are especially interested in innovative safety technology, including virtual and augmented reality.

Please note that we are interested in funding initiatives that advance workplace safety in general, across entire industries. We do not fund applications from individual nonprofits for employee training or installing safety equipment.

Past grant recipients in this program area:



The McElhattan Foundation will support nonprofit initiatives that help underserved populations access high-quality educational opportunities that would otherwise not be available to them and, once enrolled, to complete those programs.

  • We believe education is key to breaking the intergenerational poverty cycle and creating a workforce capable of supporting 21st-century industry.
  • Access to excellent educational opportunities is often limited by factors beyond a student’s control. We’d like to widen that path.
  • We are open to applications from public, private, and charter schools; preschool and childcare programs; educational afterschool and summer programs; trade academies; two- and four-year colleges; life-skills training centers; and adult mid-career retraining programs.
  • We acknowledge that helping students access educational opportunities is not enough—it’s important for students to complete a program in order to reap its full benefits. We will therefore also fund initiatives that, for example, help single mothers find reliable childcare while they are in school.
  • We will support programs in Pittsburgh, Franklin, and Knox, PA.

We are not seeking to fund:

  • Equipment purchases, staff training, or capital campaigns, unless they are tied to a specific program that addresses what we’ve outlined above.
  • Mentorship programs that are not focused on helping students enter and/or complete post-secondary education or training.


Past grant recipients in this program area:


The McElhattan Foundation believes it is possible for most people to have a higher quality of life at the end of life. Grants in our End-of-Life Planning and Care program area will support initiatives in three strategic areas: Awareness and Documentation, Caregiver/Provider Training and Support, and Technological Innovation. As always, we seek to fund changemakers—visionary leaders and strong teams who will create dramatic, measurable improvement in how patients and their families experience the inevitable process of dying.

We will support initiatives that educate and empower our community—Western Pennsylvania—about end-of-life decision-making, including clarifying the option of hospice care. We are open to funding broad awareness campaigns as well as targeted efforts aimed at reaching specific segments of the population, especially underserved groups. Once an individual understands their end-of-life options and decides upon their preferences, it’s essential for that person to make their wishes known, in advance and in writing, to their loved ones and medical providers. We will support initiatives designed to make recording and sharing this information easier.

We support initiatives that offer resources, such as respite care, practical training, and counseling, to family and other nonprofessional caregivers. We support programs that train or retrain professional end-of-life care providers—nurses, doctors, social workers, home healthcare aides, etc.—for careers that pay family-sustaining wages. We are particularly interested in improving communication skills around end-of-life care for providers, and in high-quality home-based care. This work too will be focused in Western Pennsylvania.

We believe technology can play a role in improving the “quality of death” for many people. Perhaps there is an application for existing technology, like augmented reality, in training caregivers, or perhaps someone can use emerging technology to prevent pressure sores. We would love to see this innovation begin in Pittsburgh, but we are open to applications from end-of-life tech innovators anywhere in the U.S.

Note: Our focus is “Quality of life at the end of life.” We realize “end of life” is broad, but we’ve chosen it intentionally, building upon our mission of preserving and enhancing human life and our vision of eliminating end-of-life suffering. “Hospice care” has a specific definition under Medicare, and we want to support more than hospice programs. “Palliative care” can apply to conditions that are not necessarily fatal, but we’re concerned with issues that come up in association with death. “End of life,” to us, also includes more than just medical care. For many people, dying also raises legal, spiritual, and cultural questions that need to be addressed with just as much attention as, for example, pain control.

Past grant recipients in this program area:

Community Development in Knox and Franklin, PA

The McElhattan family's roots are in Knox and Franklin, PA, and we would like to see those communities thrive. We aim to support locally-led initiatives that improve residents' job opportunities, health, safety, and general quality of life.

Past grant recipients in this program area: