CEO Note: March 2024

CEO Note


Stefani Pashman, CEO

As we consider the four goals that the Allegheny Conference is pursuing to drive our region’s economic development, I’d like to call attention to one in particular: maximizing federal funding investments.

The CHIPS and Science Act, the Inflation Reduction Act, and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act have the power to accelerate transformational economic development, growing jobs, and building wealth across geographies and demographics. These opportunities are potential game changers for our region and the Conference is keenly focused on working with our Regional Investors and partners to pursue them.

To put it bluntly, our region is not yet getting its fair share of funding, but we are doing better. In 2023, we attracted close to $730 million from competitive grants, representing a 44% increase over 2022. The increase is a testament to the collective efforts across our region’s philanthropic, nonprofit, and labor communities to empower groups to produce successful applications. That said, our region received only about 17% of the competitive federal funding that all of Pennsylvania received, with an uneven distribution across our 10 counties. As a baseline, our region should attract at least 20% of the federal dollars coming into the commonwealth.

We are on a mission to correct this course. Our efforts are aimed at attracting federal investment not only in the form of competitive grants, where our region has seen success, but also from loans and tax credits, which represent untapped potential to boost our region. Consider this, of the $400 billion available in IRA funding, the largest portion, over $225 billion, is in the form of tax credits. 

It is in this complex environment – where programs are still being shaped, rules being clarified – that we have the greatest prospect for impact through raising awareness, sharing best practices and collective knowledge, and providing meaningful technical assistance. To seize this moment, we are developing the necessary architecture, capacity and expertise, and partnerships to make it happen.

And the opportunity in front of us goes beyond applying for existing programs; we can influence the funds that are becoming available. We can shape federal policy and investment in clusters such as energy, life sciences, and robotics, where we are already leaders and have the potential to do more.

In the meantime, we are still working on near-term efforts even as we build out the long-term approach. For example, we’re working with industry leaders, building trades, labor, and members of our regional congressional delegation to ensure hydrogen from natural gas and coal mine methane is eligible for the hydrogen production tax credits. We are also supporting the efforts of the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission (SPC) and Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to speed up implementation of climate pollution reduction solutions.   

Our goal at the Conference is to influence and shape the conversation in D.C. whenever possible, set the table for success, and then prepare our partners across the region with information, know-how and effective public-private partnerships to secure these investments. In this pursuit, we are not starting from scratch. Players across the region – from philanthropies like The Heinz Endowments and Pittsburgh Foundation and nonprofits like the SPC to name just a few – have already stepped up to ensure that entities across government, business, and others can access management tools, quality information, and technical assistance. Thanks to our collective efforts, southwestern Pennsylvania is already benefiting from an aligned, organized, and collaborative effort. 

Together, we are poised to secure more investments, which will fuel and amplify our broader agenda. And strategically, we will be in a much better position to achieve the thriving future we all want.

If you are interested in pursuing federal funding opportunities, please contact Vera Krekanova,, the Conference’s chief strategy and research officer.