Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy

Together we make parks amazing

Pittsburgh, PA   |  www.pittsburghparks.org


To improve quality of life for the people of Pittsburgh by restoring the park system to excellence in partnership with government and the community. Projects and programs are conducted with respect for the environment, historic design, and the needs of our diverse region.

Ruling year info


Chief Operating Officer

Catherine Qureshi

Main address

317 East Carson Street Suite 230

Pittsburgh, PA 15219 USA

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NTEE code info

Parks and Playgrounds (N32)

Botanical, Horticultural, and Landscape Services (C40)

Environmental Beautification (C50)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Sign in or create an account to view Form(s) 990 for 2019, 2019 and 2018.
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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

The evolving role and performance of Pittsburgh’s parks in this era of urban sustainability is crucial to the health, vitality and economy of the city, its residents, its institutions, and businesses. The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy envisions a future in which parks, trails and waterways are part of an integrated urban ecology, playing a vital role in the green infrastructure, economy, and sustainability of the region. Each park and trail will be attractive, well maintained and widely used, and will offer an appealing experience, contributing to the economy and quality of life of Pittsburgh’s residents and visitors.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Capital Projects

Restoration of buildings, gardens, and sculptures is the most visible aspect of our work.

Completed projects include:
- Frick Park Gatehouse at Reynolds Street, 2000
- Schenley Park Café & Visitor Center, 2002
- Highland Park Babbling Brook, 2003
- Phipps Run, 2004
- Highland Park Entry Garden, 2005
- Schenley Plaza, 2006
- Riverview Park Chapel Shelter, 2008
- Mary E. Schenley Memorial Fountain, 2008
- Mellon Park Walled Garden, 2010
- Park Signage and Trail Restoration, 2010
- McKinley Park, 2013
- Mellon Square, 2014
- August Wilson Park, 2016
- Frick Environmental Center, 2016
- Westinghouse Memorial and Pond, 2016

Each project requires historical research, analysis of environmental impact, assessment of visitor needs, and creation of a maintenance plan. An interdisciplinary team of experts is selected for each project.

Population(s) Served

Natural areas in urban parks require restoration and maintenance. Parks Conservancy's field staff work in the parks daily on their own or in partnership with City park crews or volunteers.

Management plans are prepared for defined areas in each park, describing existing ecological conditions, remediation goals, and recommended actions. The plans guide the work of staff and planning of volunteer activities.

Plan actions may include:
- removing invasive species manually or with herbicide
- establishing a community of native plants
- addressing erosion on slopes
- pruning trees and shrubs

Data collection and site monitoring are ongoing.

Population(s) Served

We offer four programs to area public, charter, and private schools:
Habitat Explorers (grades K-2)
Park Stewards (grades 4-5)
Ecosystem Investigators (grades 6-8)
High School Urban EcoStewards (grades 9-12)
Each offers K-12 students outdoor learning experiences that blend standards-based science education with hands-on stewardship of the local Pittsburgh environment.

They are tailored to each developmental stage (elementary, middle school, and high school) and, in combination, offer a unified curriculum of experiential environmental education. The parks serve as classrooms.

Educational programming also includes summer camps for pre-K through middle school students, one-day or weekend workshops for adults, and seasonally appropriate family programs, such as Night Explorers, Bump in the Night, and the Earth Day Festival.

Population(s) Served

Volunteers are essential to ecological restoration since much of the work is manual.
Volunteer work includes:
- Removing invasive plants
- Laying jute netting on hillsides to combat soil erosion
- Planting native wildflowers, shrubs, and trees to diversify the ecosystem

The Parks Conservancy arranges eight large Volunteer Days each year, as well as numerous activities for groups from corporations, universities, schools, and nonprofits.

The Urban EcoSteward program trains and supports long-term volunteers who commit to ""stewarding"" a particular park site. Experienced volunteers may also receive training as Crew Leaders to supplement staff at Volunteer Days.

Volunteers also assist the organization with data gathering and with informational "tabling" at events and festivals.

Population(s) Served

The Parks Conservancy is responsible for programming and visitor services at Schenley Plaza, Schenley Park Café & Visitor Center, Mellon Square, and the Frick Environmental Center.

Visitor services include food concessions, free wireless internet, restrooms, sanitation, and security.

More than 200 programs are offered each season at Schenley Plaza, including lunchtime concerts and major music festivals, Kids Days, yoga sessions, and many other arts and recreational activities.

Maps of the four regional parks available to park visitors in print and on our website.

Population(s) Served

Where we work


Historic Preservation Award - Riverview Park Chapel Shelter 2009

City of Pittsburgh Historic Review Commission

Diamond Award for Outstanding Achievements as CEO - Meg Cheever 2009

Pittsburgh Business Times

Community Impact Award - Schenley Plaza 2006


Western Pennsylvania Environmental Award - Community Category 2006

Pennsylvania Environmental Council

Environmental Award of Excellence 2006

Carnegie Science Center

Historic Preservation Award - Highland Park Entry Garden 2006

City of Pittsburgh Historic Review Commission

Professional Award of Merit - Highland Park Entry Garden Restoration 2005

American Society of Landscape Architects Vermont Chapter

Historic Preservation Award - Highland Park Babbling Brook 2004

City of Pittsburgh Historic Review Commission

Award of Merit - Frick Park Reynolds St. Gatehouse Restoration 2001

Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation

Commonwealth Award (Silver) for Schenley Plaza 2009

10thousand Friends of Pennsylvania

Initiative Award for Stewardship 2009

Preservation Pennsylvania

Mayor's Award for Public Art:Mellon Park Walled Garden Art Installation by Janet Zweig 2011

Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council

Western PA Environmental Award: Trail and Signage Project 2011

PA Environmental Council

Historic Preservation Award: Mary E. Schenley Memorial Fountain 2010

City of Pittsburgh Historic Review Commission

Beacon of Hope 2010

Hill House Association

Community Greening Award - Highland Park Entry Garden, the Mellon Park Walled Garden, and the Schenley Plaza Gardens 2011

Pennsylvania Horticultural Society

Special Recognition Award for Use of Technology and Collaboration with an Artist - Mellon Park Walled Garden 2011

American Society of Landscape Architects (PA-DE Chapter)

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

ADVOCACY - Create broad, enthusiastic public commitment to bring more resources to parks under unified parks administration and improve Pittsburgh park system's ranking among the top 100 cities.

GREEN FIRST - Build green infrastructure into parks, leveraging recreational improvements.

EQUITY - Adopt a long term goal of bringing all parks in all city neighborhoods up to a high level of quality.

SUSTAINABILITY - Move toward a sustainable organizational revenue model; and maintain and build organizational capacities to support the strategic direction.

Advocate broadly throughout the community to create enthusiastic and broad public support for contribution of more resources to the city's park system. Work with foundations, the City and parks stakeholders to achieve an adequate and sustainable level of funding for the Pittsburgh parks system.

Create a park-specific green infrastructure unit to develop, construct and maintain green infrastructure installations within and adjacent to the park system where parks can contribute to the reduction of stormwater overflows and collateral benefits.

Initiate a Capital Campaign. Work with the City, foundations and parks stakeholders to invest $200M+ in high-need, high-impact parks citywide. Establish metrics for parks equity including access, programs and maintenance, and compare progress to baseline conditions.

Develop KPI metrics to measure priority operational performance and project outcomes of the Conservancy, including outcomes and benefits to parks users.

We believe that an excellent park system is a key element in the value proposition for the Pittsburgh region. We are uniquely focused on the entire parks system, and we enter our third decade of partnering with local government with these strengths:

- The organization has a long list of high profile capital projects, recognized for quality, originality, and excellence.
- Broad staff expertise includes landscape and tree care, professional horticulture, ecological restoration, historic preservation, security, planning, community engagement, design and management of capital projects, and provision of a range of educational and recreational programs as well as fundraising and special events management.
- The organization has raised awareness of the role parks play in achieving social equity, buffering climate change impacts and improving quality of life.

The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy has completed 17 capital projects including: Frick Park Gatehouse, Schenley Park Cafe & Visitor Center, Highland Park Babbling Brook, Phipps Run Trail, Highland Park Entry Garden, Schenley Plaza, Riverview Park Chapel Shelter, Mary E. Schenley Memorial Fountain, Mellon Park Walled Garden, park signage & trail restoration, McKinley Park, Mellon Square, August Wilson Park, Westinghouse Memorial & Pond and the Frick Environmental Center.

Projects on the horizon include work in community parks like Allegheny Commons and McKinley Park and green infrastructure initiatives.


Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


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Connect with nonprofit leaders


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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy

Board of directors
as of 5/17/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. Mike Lyons


Term: 2019 - 2022

Alan Ackerman

Ritchie Battle

Daniel Booker

Meg Cheever

Director Emeritus

Ann Davis

Susan Dorrance

Jeremy Feinstein

Abigail Foster

Rebecca Foster

Elise Frick

Mike Gable

ex officio

Raymond Gastil

ex officio

Nicholas Gianaris

Matthew Gleason

David Hillman

Dan Holthaus

Ralph Horgan

Mark Jones

Margaret King

Robert Levin

Nancy Levine

Michael Lyons

Kathleen McSorley

Inez Miles

Michael Morley

Therese Moss

Darlene Motley

Gary Mulholland

Brian Mullins

Mildred Myers

Michael Pavlick

William Peduto

ex officio

Gabriel Pellathy

Gabriela Porges

Christine Raetsch

William Rudolph

James Spencer

Paul Supowitz

James Spencer

Paul Supowitz

Christy Wiegand

Paul Supowitz

Christy Wiegand

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? No
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? No
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? No
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? No
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 05/17/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data


No data

Sexual orientation

No data


No data