Doug Root

Doug Root
Vice President of Communications, The Pittsburgh Foundation

Doug Root is vice president of communications for the Pittsburgh Foundation. He comes to the position with an extensive background in local philanthropy and government service, as well as daily newspaper journalism, magazine and book writing.

Before working this past year as a consultant to national and local foundations and nonprofits, Doug spent eight years as Director of Communications for The Heinz Endowments, one of the largest regionally-focused foundations in the country. In addition to managing internal and external communications, he had leadership roles in several high-profile public initiatives.

At The Pittsburgh Foundation, Doug is responsible for developing and implementing all communications activities, ensuring they connect to audiences the foundation needs to reach to be effective in its work. Internally, he is a communications advisor to the president, board, senior managers and partner organizations. Externally, he is responsible for communications strategies that educate and engage the public on issues that are important to the foundation’s initiatives.

At the Endowments, Doug was one of the founders of a quarterly magazine that uses narrative writing and documentary-style photography to explain the work of the foundation and its grantees. He also developed storytelling capacity on digital platforms and through social media tools on the foundation’s efforts on such issues as eliminating a serious regional air quality problem, offering better life prospects for young African American men and boys, and raising economic prospects in struggling city neighborhoods. At the foundation and for other organizations, he has written speeches, OpEds, blog pieces and directed public messaging campaigns featuring multi-platform advertising. He has extensive experience working with the news media, acting as spokesman for foundations, government and nonprofit organizations.

After receiving a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the Pennsylvania State University, Doug began his writing and communications career as a reporter for a small suburban newspaper. He then moved to The Pittsburgh Press, where he rose to become an award-winning senior writer for the Sunday magazine. When the newspaper was sold in 1994, he left daily newspaper work and completed an Alicia Patterson Foundation fellowship for documentary journalism. He has written for more than a dozen national and regional magazines and written two books, one of them a travel history guide to Pennsylvania. In 1998, he began to concentrate on nonprofit organizations, including, as the writer for several years of the United Nations’ State of the World’s Children Report. Before moving to philanthropy, Doug did some government service, working as communications director for then Pittsburgh Mayor Tom Murphy.