Share This Page

Forbes Funds president has history of defeating adversity

| Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012, 11:59 p.m.
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
Kate Dewey, who will take over as president of The Forbes Fund on Jan. 1, 2013, consults with the Brother's Brother Foundation on the North Side on their strategy for helping Africa on Dec. 12, 2012. Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
Kate Dewey, who will take over as president of The Forbes Fund on Jan. 1, 2013, consults with the Brother's Brother Foundation's Liam Carstens, vice president of medical programs and strategic initiatives, on the North Side on Dec. 12, 2012. Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review

As a young social worker, Kate Dewey talked a shotgun-toting father out of harming her during a four-hour standoff in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey. She had gone there to check on his son.

Later, when she was a parole officer, a female prisoner in Clinton, N.J., tried to stab her. The knife missed her and stuck in a door frame.

So as the president of Forbes Funds, Dewey does not expect to flinch while helping nonprofit groups navigate troubled waters.

“I would hope my legacy will be to help prepare and position nonprofits to be as relevant as they are now ... in 10 years and operate from a position of strength,” said Dewey, 66, of Rosslyn Farms.

The Pittsburgh Foundation named Dewey to head Forbes Funds, starting Jan. 1. She'll be paid $120,000 annually. Founded 30 years ago, Forbes awards grants of $10,000 to $50,000 to help nonprofits strengthen management. Forbes helps them work together or merge, and it produces studies on the nonprofit sector.

The fund has a five-member board of directors, 21-member advisory committee and four staff members. Dewey succeeds Diana Bucco, who will become vice president of The Buhl Foundation.

“She brings this refreshing blend of deep experience and knowledge, combined with fresh thinking and a bedrock commitment to the nonprofit community in Pittsburgh,” said Grant Oliphant, president and CEO of The Pittsburgh Foundation.

The parent organization gave Forbes about $350,000 a year for the past several years, making it the group's biggest financial supporter. The nonprofits share offices in PPG Place, Downtown.

Dewey founded a consulting company for nonprofits, Dewey & Kaye, in 1990. It merged with ParenteBeard, Downtown, and will close shop on Dec. 31, except for its job search component. That will continue through Vantagen, an affiliate of ParenteBeard.

Dewey is consulting with Brother's Brother Foundation to develop ways to enhance its medical assistance in Africa. Brother's Brother sends medical supplies and equipment to 100 hospitals in about a dozen African countries.

“She's sensitive to the ideas that different groups bring together. She has the ability to see the bigger picture,” said Luke Hingson, president of Brother's Brother.

Dewey grew up in Yardley, Bucks County. Her father owned Canada Dry Bottling for the East Coast, and her mother was a community volunteer.

When she was in fifth grade, she said, union members burned down her father's nonunion bottling plant. Her father plunged into a deep depression and was unemployed for three years. The inhumanity of the fire stuck with Dewey.

“I consciously wanted to see how I could make a difference,” she recalled.

She earned a bachelor's degree from Rider College and a master's degree in social work from Rutgers University, both in New Jersey. She held numerous jobs in social work and the nonprofit sector before moving to Pittsburgh.

Here she was founding executive director of Grantmakers of Western Pennsylvania and founding director of the Allegheny Child Sex Abuse Task Force.

Bill Zlatos is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7828 or bzlatos@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.