Support for City as Our Campus

Edward E. Ford Foundation Matching Grant

In January 2005, Winchester Thurston School announced that the Edward E. Ford Foundation had awarded the school a matching grant of $50,000 to support City as Our Campus, an initiative linking curriculum and students to the educational and cultural resources available in the City of Pittsburgh. After the announcement of the grant, an anonymous donor came forward to match it, for a total of $100,000 devoted toward this program in the Upper School.

The school used the grant to create a special fund to provide entrepreneurial teachers with resources, and a peer committee to provide technical assistance, with the goal of supporting faculty in their efforts to extend their classrooms and connect their curricula to the considerable educational, research, and cultural resources in the region.

WT teachers spawned unique educational partnerships, creating hands-on experiential units and courses that bring learning to life. In these partnerships teachers found transformative ways for students to apply knowledge, deepen understanding, and discover passions and City as Our Campus quickly emerged as an engine of innovation and imaginative teaching.

Edward E. Ford Foundation Leadership Grant

Foundation leaders were impressed with the growth of City as Our Campus and in 2008 invited WT to join a select group of 20 schools to compete for a coveted Educational Leadership Grant. The school began to envision ways to expand City as Our Campus, in a series of intensive planning sessions that involved the contributions of faculty, Advisory Board, trustees, and administrators. A vision emerged for new programming that would engage WT students more deeply as contributors to the future of Pittsburgh. WT was one of only four schools to be awarded a $250,000 matching grant in 2009. WT trustees, parents, and alumnae/i came forward with the matching funds. The resulting $500,000 enabled WT to create a Director position and turn its vision into a reality.

Endowment Support

In 2013, as part of the Celebrate WT Campaign, an anonymous foundation came forward with major endowment support for City as Our Campus. Their generous support provided the opportunity for the program’s permanence through endowment. Most recently, in 2018, individual donors generously established the Gary J. Niels Chair for City as Our Campus, endowing the City as Our Campus director position in perpetuity. The endowed chair honors the service and leadership of former Head of School Gary J. Niels.

Individual Donors and Organizations

We offer our deepest gratitude to the following individuals and organizations who have provided major support for City as Our Campus over the years:

Edward E. Ford Foundation


Kathy Zilweger Putnam '71 and George Putnam

Jane Arensberg Thompson '57

Cristy C. Gookin '67 and the Gookin Family Foundation

Sheldon Marstine

The Benedict Foundation for Independent Schools

Carole Oswald Markus '57

The Rust Foundation

Mrs. Rosanne Isay Harrison '56 and Dr. Anthony Harrison

Henry J. Posner III and Anne Molloy

Susan Sharp Dorrance A'63 and Roy Dorrance

Parker Foundation

Shelley and Doug Campbell

Elizabeth S. Hurtt '74

Margaret Putnam McDowell Lofberg '67

Gabriela and David Porges

Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation

Jennifer Gonzalez McComb '89 and Paul McComb

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