Kathleen Buechel

Senior Lecturer
3207 Posvar


  • Masters of Public Administration, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
  • Education A.B. Brown University;


Ms. Buechel directs GSPIA’s Philanthropy Forum, a learning and teaching platform that features a lecture series, a graduate course, convenings and other engagement opportunities to link the world of philanthropic practice with the university. Ms. Buechel conceived and leads the Pittsburgh Philanthropy Project, an effort to document, share and spark active learning and a civic dialogue about the implication of Pittsburgh’s innovative philanthropic heritage.

For 17 years, Ms. Buechel shaped the strategic and grantmaking focus of Alcoa Foundation, a global asset based corporate foundation operating in more than 200 communities and 31 countries . She served as vice president and then president of the Foundation before retiring in 2006. While president of Alcoa Foundation, she led the re-orientation of Alcoa’s considerable philanthropy toward corporate citizenship, employee engagement, community consultation and locally responsive but globally aligned social investments.

From August, 2006 through 2007, she was a Research Fellow and Visiting Practitioner at the Hauser Center at Harvard University. At Harvard, Buechel convened Capital Ideas, a national symposium with published proceedings about funding practices that align money with mission and nonprofit sustainability. She is a leader active in many of philanthropy’s field building initiatives, including serving as former chair of the Conference Board’s Contributions Council, a board member and Membership Chair of Independent Sector and former president of Grantmakers of Western Pennsylvania.  She has lectured and written widely about philanthropy. Her work experience includes increasing responsibility for communication, public affairs and stakeholder engagement. She is founder and principal of Community Investment Advisors, a practice increasing the impact of donors through private foundations.

Teaching and Research Areas

Philanthropy; Nonprofit Finance and Organizational Sustainability; Civil Society; Public Engagement; Corporate Social Responsbility.

Consultancies, Public Service, and Awards/Honors

  • Founder and Principal, Community Investment Advisors.
  • Vice Chair, Ethics Hearing Board, City of Pittsburgh
  • Vice Chair, World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh
  • Vice President, Winchester Thurston School
  • Board Member: Carlow University, Riverlife, Vincentian Collaborative
  • Finance Council, Diocese of Pittsburgh.


  • Sustainability Funding Strategies for Nonprofits
  • Matching Money with Mission: Philanthropy and Society

Other Faculty and Academic Administration Positions

  • Heinz College, Carnegie Mellon University, Visiting Practitioner July, 2006-July, 2007; Adjunct faculty, Fall 2009
  • Hauser Center for Nonprofit Orgainziations, Harvard University, Visiting Practitioner, July, 2006-June, 2007, Research Fellow, July - December, 2007

Graduate School of Public and International Affairs
3601 Wesley W. Posvar Hall, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15260