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New Pittsburgh Foundation president happy to be coming home

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New Pittsburgh Foundation President Lisa Schroeder

The Pittsburgh Foundation’s new president, Lisa M. Schroeder, is a Baltimore native but insists that she has two hometowns.

And Pittsburgh is one of them.

“I think that I learned some of the most important lessons of my life living and working in Pittsburgh,” Schroeder said shortly after it was announced that she will succeed Maxwell King as leader of the 75-year-old philanthropic organization.

Schroeder is the Pittsburgh Foundation’s first woman president and will begin her term on June 1. She steps into her new role at a time when there is a growing number of disenfranchised citizens in the nation and in the Pittsburgh area.

“This is a time in urban areas all over our country where both data and reality are showing a wider disparity between those in need and those at the top than we’ve seen in many eras, if not ever, and consequently the Pittsburgh Foundation’s mission is more important than ever before,” said Schroeder. “It’s particularly sensitive and focused in an era of prosperity and growth in the Pittsburgh region which is truly to be celebrated. However, the fact that the foundation is focusing on the thirty percent of the population who are not experiencing that prosperity, means the foundation is addressing a very acute need.”

Schroeder worked in Pittsburgh from 2002 until 2015 as the president of Riverlife, a public-private partnership with a mission to guide and advocate for redevelopment of Pittsburgh’s riverfronts. King was one of Riverlife’s founders and served as board chair when Schroeder was hired as president.

She has been working in Baltimore for the last four years as president and CEO of the Parks & People Foundation, which is dedicated to generating more resources and greater appreciation by residents for their city parks. But when it was announced that King would be retiring this year after serving a five-year term, Schroeder jumped at the opportunity to return to Pittsburgh.

“I love Pittsburgh. I’m so excited to come back,” she said. “I think that very few people have the opportunity to succeed a mentor like Max King. We had the chance to work together on important initiatives for many years, and I know I have a great deal to learn from him. I do believe that the (Pittsburgh) foundation puts the city first and the region first.”

Schroeder says that having the opportunity to work at Riverlife helped her learn how take a “big idea” and work with the community to implement it.

“I am hoping that experience will be an extremely important foundation for my work at the Pittsburgh Foundation where the resources of the foundation reach so deeply into the community,” she said.

Paul Guggenheimer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Paul at 724-226-7706 or by email at [email protected]