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Why Support the Trust?

man jumping from stage into crowd

Ticket sales and other earned income only cover a portion of our total operating budget. The remaining gap of over $10 million must be filled by contributions. Your support makes an enormous impact in the work of the Trust. 

Make a Wise Investment

The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust continually receives a four-star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s premier independent not-for-profit charity rating organization. The four-star rating is the highest that Charity Navigator assigns to the not-for-profit groups they assess, and it illustrates our ability to effectively manage and grow our finances, indicating that we execute our mission in a fiscally responsible way.


Our individual and corporate members:

  • Make it possible for us to present and promote more than 2,000 stage and visual arts performances a year.
  • Help us reach into the community to educate future generations and instill a love for the arts.
  • Support special performances for thousands of school children in the Southwestern Pennsylvania community.
  • Provide services such as infrared hearing, sign language interpretation and other accessibility enhancements for people with disabilities. Plus, did you know that:
    • Nearly half of Trust programming is absolutely free to the public including Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival, Highmark First Night, EQT Children's Theater Festival, Gallery Crawls, and more.
    • Pittsburgh is one of only a handful of cities in the country that hosts contemporary dance performances through the Pittsburgh Dance Council season.
    • The Trust has closed more than 14 “noxious use” establishments (adult book stores, massage parlors, etc.) in the Cultural District since its formation in 1985.

The scope and activities of the Trust is wide are varied. These include:

Theater Operations

The Trust owns and operates five theaters in the Cultural District: the Benedum Center for the Performing Arts, the Byham Theater, the O’Reilly Theater, the Cabaret Theater and the Harris Theater. These theaters are home to four resident companies - Pittsburgh Opera, Pittsburgh CLO, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, and Pittsburgh Public Theater, and Pittsburgh Filmmakers.

Performance Subsidy

The Trust directly subsidizes performances for resident companies and non-profit organizations at the theaters it operates. This amounts to over $1 million in cost savings annually for the hundreds arts organizations and individual artists who benefit from the subsidy. Above and beyond this budgeted support, the Trust provides additional financial support, marketing support, assistance and visibility for over 45,000 different artists and arts groups annually with an estimated value exceeding $6 million.


The Trust presents the PNC Broadway in Pittsburgh series, the Cohen & Grigsby Trust Presents series, JazzLive, Pittsburgh Dance Council, the Citizens Bank Children’s Theater Series, and Trust Cabaret series each year.

Trust Festivals

The Trust has merged with and assumed management and programmatic responsibility for Highmark First Night Pittsburgh, EQT Children’s Theater Festival, Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival and developed the Pittsburgh JazzLive International Festival. The Trust also hosts four Cultural District Gallery Crawls each year. Festivals provide enormous entertainment and enrichment for arts audiences. They are also effective tools for building audiences, supporting local artists and for promoting the offerings of other nonprofit organizations.

Tessitura Consortium

Tessitura is the premiere ticketing and gift management software on the market, and the Trust manages the local Tessitura Consortium. This user group consists of 10 local arts organizations and 452 users, and processes over $88 million worth of ticketing and fundraising transactions annually, which makes it the largest user consortium in the world. The Trust also provides an annual subsidy of $170,000 for support of the consortium.

Shared Services

The Trust provides administrative leadership and facilitates financial transactions for a Shared Services initiative among seven District arts organizations to benefit from joint sourcing of commodities and services and joint marketing efforts. Savings and cost avoidance for the District organizations have amounted to more than $1 million annually for the past three years and represent a conservative return on investment of 190%.

Real Estate

The Trust manages a real estate portfolio of 1.3 million square feet in the Cultural District, which has stimulated the growth of housing, retail, galleries and other uses throughout the District. Since 1984 the Trust has also eliminated 14 “noxious-use” establishments.


The Trust has led efforts to create a true neighborhood within the Cultural District, and its activities include parking facilities, Katz Plaza, the Waterfront Park, etc. The Trust also curates public art throughout the District.


The Trust offers master classes and theater arts classes that feature visiting artists and working professional artists. With the opening of the Arts Education Center in 2009, the Trust has also broadened its educational programming to include a variety of movement and visual arts classes for students, families and adults.

Visual Arts

The Trust operates five gallery spaces in the Cultural District (Wood Street Galleries, SPACE, 707 Penn Gallery, 709 Penn Avenue Gallery, and Future Tenant) that are home to a wide variety of changing exhibitions. In addition the Trust sponsors public art installations throughout the District. All of the Trust’s visual arts offerings are free of charge.

None of these programs, activities and accomplishments would be possible without the generous and thoughtful support of our individual and corporate members. Help us fulfill our mission by making a donation today. Thank you!

The official registration and financial information of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust may be obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of State by calling toll free, within Pennsylvania, 1-800-732-0999. Registration does not imply endorsement.