The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Statement

The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust values diversity, equity and inclusion as an organization, as an employer and as host to performers, artists and audiences from around the world. The Trust is deeply committed to providing diverse, high-quality programming and meaningful experiences that engage and enrich the community, expanding an appreciation for and a knowledge base of other people, cultures, values and perspectives.

Our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion extends to the composition of the Board of Trustees, each of our advisory boards and committees, our employees and volunteers, as well as Trust programs and presentations. One of our highest priorities is to assure the greatest level of diversity in all areas including, but not limited to, gender, race, ethnicity, age, ability and sexual orientation.

The Board of Trustees and senior management will strive to incorporate and protect the values of diversity, equity and inclusion in the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust Strategic Plan, organizational policies and management decisions.

Through the Trust’s mission-driven work to further the economic development of the city of Pittsburgh and southwestern Pennsylvania, and to enhance the quality of life for the region, the integration of these values aims to create and sustain a diverse environment and artistic community, which is necessary for our region to connect and engage on a national level, as well as with the global community.

Our Commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust condemns racism and biases in all of its forms. Specifically, we acknowledge that racism and discrimination against Black people has been pervasive throughout our Country’s history, and has resulted in social, economic, and legal disadvantages that are unacceptable to the Trust and to most Americans. As an organization and as individuals we stand united and in solidarity with our fellow Black Americans as advocates for social, economic and legal justice and in support of Black imagination and innovation.

The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s mission and aspiration has always been to provide arts experiences for everyone and to welcome everyone into the Cultural District. However, we as an organization, community and nation have not always met our aspirations. The result has been disparate levels of equality for Black Americans and other People of Color, and that must be continuously addressed and changed. As Americans we expect that our nation, political and business leaders and all individuals do better to end the cycle of racism. The Trust must hold itself accountable to put more time, resources, and energy into this vital movement and being anti-racist in our actions and in our words. It is not enough to want all people and communities to frequent our Cultural District. We must pointedly reach out to our underrepresented constituencies not only as patrons of the arts, but as we fill our staff, volunteer corps, and board positions. We are committed to providing the same levels of access and privilege to Black individuals and other People of Color, as provided to White individuals.

We are taking this opportunity to build upon ways to use our mission and our voice to elevate artists, as well as using our status as a cultural leader in the region to affect positive change and make Pittsburgh’s Cultural District an environment that is open to people of all backgrounds and opinions, particularly those people who are not currently experiencing equal representation.

Anti-Racism Values and Commitments

We are committed to constantly growing and learning in this arena, and realize that we have a long way to go and cannot make this journey overnight. However, we can strive to do everything through an anti-racist lens. In order to hold ourselves accountable and leave no room for interpretation on the Trust’s stance regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion, we wish to publicly outline our values and commitments moving forward in this area:

Values and Commitments to Action

Value: We respect all communities - celebrating both differences and commonalities - and strive to constantly reflect upon patterns of racism, sexism, classism, homophobia, ableism, ageism, anti-religious, xenophobia, and other forms of discrimination and oppression that could inhibit us from fulfilling our responsibility to the arts community and people of Pittsburgh and southwestern Pennsylvania.


  • Diversify our staff, volunteer, board member, artist, and patron base through concerted efforts to attract members of under-reached communities in order to constantly expand our understanding and tolerance as an organization
  • Dedicate a budget each year to mandatory DEI and bias training for all staff and volunteers
  • Perform an internal audit of the diversity of our vendors, contractors, and other agencies and take action based upon that audit to bring a wider range of voices into the Trust and patronize businesses that are owned and run by people of all backgrounds and ethnicities

Value: We believe that the arts are for everyone and that cultural equity is achievable when we support policies and practices that give everyone access to the vibrancy and creativity of our Cultural District


  • Pursue cultural consciousness within our organization through education of our staff, volunteers, board members, and artists
  • Evaluate the diversity of our presentations and offerings, considering representation as a driving factor in programming decisions
  • Identify gaps in the current demographic makeup of our stakeholders and audiences, aligning initiatives and programs to bridge these gaps

Value: We appreciate diverse perspectives from a multitude of lived experiences and how these perspectives enhance the arts and culture experience in Pittsburgh and beyond


  • Create space for underrepresented voices by engaging with artists of color
  • Track and report on changes in representation among Trust staff, leadership, volunteers, boards, and stakeholder groups
  • Provide engagement opportunities tailored to different stakeholder groups and demographics, particularly aimed at reducing turnover of a diverse base of staff, volunteers, board members, and audiences

Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and IATSE3 Commitments

It is clear that there is a need for increased inclusion, equity, accessibility, and diversity within Pittsburgh’s theatrical community. Throughout its history, there have been shortfalls within Pittsburgh’s theatrical community in these areas. The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust (the Trust) & I.A.T.S.E. Local #3 (IA3) recognize the need for change and understand that the two organizations have unique roles to play moving forward. The Trust is the largest theatrical employer in Southwestern PA and IA3 is the labor union representing professional stagehands in Southwestern PA. As such, these two organizations are positioned with the power to build lasting change and enhance the landscape of inclusion for future generations of theatrical employees.

The Trust and IA3 have a partnership spanning nearly half a century, during which time the two groups have made countless productions and events possible in Pittsburgh. At this critical moment in time, when change for the better is more achievable than ever, the Trust and IA3 acknowledge the past while noting that what we do now and in the future holds the true value. The two organizations pledge to work together to overcome obstacles and achieve a more equitable and inclusive work environment for theatrical professionals in Southwestern PA.

The need for true diversity and long-term change compels the Trust and IA3 to establish an understanding as the two organizations build upon this partnership and collaborate to create new opportunities for those who are underrepresented in the regional theatrical community.

The Trust and IA3 are both committed to the challenge and will work together in the coming days, weeks, and years to build visible, measurable, and equitable diversity to stand as a core value of our organizational partnership.


  1. Both organizations will contribute to a more diverse national entertainment industry at a local level by working to increase diversity within backstage representation thereby creating a more accurate reflection of representation in Southwestern PA
  2. Leverage Trust and IA3 marketing and publicity reach to amplify membership outreach efforts to diverse constituents
  3. Exhibit greater transparency when openings arise in the Trust’s theatrical technical field. IA3 will have greater transparency for those taking calls with clearer guidelines about how to advance in the field
  4. Engage and educate youth about professions in the arts
  5. Provide Anti-Racist Education
  6. Provide a revenue stream to support these goals and commitments
  7. Racism, sexism, intolerance of differences, microaggressions, intimidation, and/or hazing will not be tolerated


J. Kevin McMahon, Pittsburgh Cultural Trust President & CEO (former)

Sean West, International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Local No.3 President

Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, Inclusion Committee

Kendra Whitlock Ingram, President and CEO
Rona Nesbit, Executive Vice President

Sarah Aziz (Co-Chair), Interim Vice President of Programming & Manager of DEAI Initiatives
Elizabeth Foster-Shaner (Co-Chair), Director of Arts Education
Jonathan Fobear (Connections Chair), Senior Designer
Mitsuko Clarke-Verdery (Analytics Chair), Marketing Manager
Vanessa Braun, Manager of Employee Engagement & Director of Acessibility
Kayla Coley, Human Resources Manager
Katelyn Colwell, Theater Operations Manager
Graham Fandrei, Major Gifts Officer
Devin Loney, Network Administrator

Learn about the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust's commitment to Accessibility.