PITTSBURGH — Dec. 17, 2020 — The Advanced Leadership Initiative (TALI) is pleased to announce the receipt of a $1 Million Grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation. The grant, which was approved in early December, will propel TALI forward in its mission to advance the presence of African Americans in executive leadership roles by helping to establish The Advanced Leadership Institute, Inc. (TALI Institute). The new funds will be utilized to build the team and infrastructure for TALI Institute to expand its capacity and impact, both locally and nationally.

According to Evan Frazier, Founding Director of The Advanced Leadership Initiative and Senior Vice President of Community Affairs at Highmark Health, “It has always been our vision, from day one, to create a self-sustaining institute that will provide longevity for TALI and its mission. This grant will be transformational, enabling TALI to build on early local success while expanding reach and impact through expanded areas of focus and a new national footprint.” Frazier also added, “We are truly grateful to the Richard King Mellon Foundation for this grant and their strategic investments in TALI at critical times over the years.”

This is not the first time that the Richard King Mellon Foundation has shown its support for African American leadership development. In 2018, the Foundation provided TALI with a grant for $100,000 to pilot its flagship program, the Executive Leadership Academy (ELA), in partnership with Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business. The Executive Leadership Academy is a robust, seven-month Executive Education program that provides instruction geared to addressing the challenges that African Americans uniquely face and equipping them with tools to help propel them towards success. TALI will continue to partner with Carnegie Mellon University to operate ELA, which will serve as a model as the initiative expands. The grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation is distinct from TALI’s existing program and is designated primarily for operational expansion.

“Supporting Black leadership has been an ongoing focus for us,” said Richard King Mellon Foundation Director Sam Reiman. “That’s why we seeded TALI with its first six-figure grant in 2018. And now, we are making an even larger grant of $1 million, in hopes that TALI can seize this remarkable societal moment to generate even greater private-sector enthusiasm for its important work. TALI has enjoyed noteworthy support already, from corporate leaders such as BNY Mellon, Highmark, PNC and UPMC. But even more private-sector partners are essential for this ambitious initiative to achieve its full potential.”

The Advanced Leadership Institute’s mission will be to cultivate African American executive leadership to strengthen companies, institutions, and communities across America. Its primary focus will be to educate, develop, connect, and position African American leaders for executive advancement.

TALI Pittsburgh will be the flagship and demonstration model that provides measurable success for other regions across the country to follow.

“The future of TALI and all that it stands for has been strengthened, with this sizeable grant. We are very encouraged by the support that we are receiving from R K Mellon, as we move forward toward securing our long-range mission.” – Marsha Jones, Advisory Board Co–Chair and Executive Vice President & Chief Diversity Officer at PNC

“This has the seeds that can grow into a strong institution that supports the advancement of African Americans in ways that few have done in the past.” – Greg Spencer, Founding Board Co-Chair of The Advanced Leadership Initiative and President and CEO of Randall Industries

“I have always supported the inclusion and advancement of African Americans in the c-suite. They need access to the tools, networks and opportunities to excel. This grant provides more opportunities to make TALI’s vision a reality.” – Jerry MacCleary, Advisory Board Co–Chair and Retired Chairman, President and CEO of Covestro

Formation of The Advanced Leadership Institute, Inc. has begun and will continue over the next several months; the leadership team anticipates an official launch by Summer 2021. POISE Foundation will serve as the fiscal sponsor for the new Richard King Mellon Foundation grant.

The Advanced Leadership Initiative will continue to move forward with its plans for the 2021 cohort (Year 3) of the Executive Leadership Academy beginning in January. Support for The Advanced Leadership Initiative continues to grow as regional corporations and foundations embrace the need for diversity, equity, and inclusion. Below is a partial list of current sponsors and contributors:

Lead Contributors: The Richard King Mellon Foundation, The Heinz Endowments, BNY Mellon Foundation of SWPA, and Hillman Family Foundations. Presenting Sponsors: Highmark Health, PNC, and UPMC. Contributors: Buhl Foundation. Gold Sponsors: Bank of America, BNY Mellon, Covestro, Dollar Bank, FHL Bank, Gateway Health, Giant Eagle, Giant Eagle Foundation, Koppers, and PPG. Silver Sponsors: Ernst & Young (EY), and Wabtec Corporation. Academic Partner: Carnegie Mellon University Tepper School of Business. Fiscal Sponsor: POISE Foundation

Companies, organizations and individuals can support the work of The Advanced Leadership Initiative in multiple ways, including sponsorship, mentorship, and advocacy. For information about how you can be involved, visit www.advancedleadershipinitiative.org.