Western Pennsylvania and the surrounding areas are home to a growing network of multi-use trails suitable for bicycle touring, hiking, and other outdoor activities. These trails provide valuable community resources for recreation, transportation, and social activities.   Most of these trails could not have been developed without support from many dedicated volunteers. These volunteers do everything from acquiring land to construction and maintenance to office tasks such as accounting and publishing newsletters.

When trail users say "They did a great job with this bridge" or "They ought to mow more often" or "They really explained this rock formation well" or "They should fix that erosion problem", 'They' is usually a group composed mostly of volunteers. We applaud these volunteers and their work, and we want to thank them and help keep them busy by providing tools, materials, and supplies that they need to get the job done.

We established the Trail Volunteer Fund of The Pittsburgh Foundation in 2007 to provide grants to purchase tools, materials, and supplies to be used by volunteer trail projects that create, maintain, or enhance the network of trails suitable for bicycle touring in western Pennsylvania and interconnected trails in nearby areas. In this way the Fund celebrates and encourages the volunteers whose work has made such valuable contributions to western Pennsylvania's growing network of motor-free trails.

The Trail Volunteer Fund is designed for projects of a hundred to perhaps a few thousand dollars, thus filling the nitch between what the trails can do out of oporating funds and the major grants available from other sources. Proposals received by the first day of March, June, September, and December are reviewed in those months.   The application process is simple, requiring just a short explanation of the project and how the Fund's support will help.

From 2008 through 2023 the Fund made grants for 220 projects on 47 trails including 19 scout/youth projects. The project locations ranged from Wetzel County, WV in the southwest to McKane County,PA in the northeast.   The grants provided materials for volunteers to construct and install safety improvements, fencing, trail gates, picnic facilities and campsites, equipment and sheds to store it, information and interpretive signs, and even new trail surface. They also provided graffiti remover and communications equipment. Details on these grants are in the gallery of projects.

We hope that over time the Fund's endowment will grow large enough to provide this kind of support for the indefinite future and to enable larger grants. To that end, the Fund welcomes contributions from other people, either directly or by shopping online through our merchant links. For information not available on this web site, contact us.