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Empower By Example

How many times have you wanted to volunteer or reach out to a disenfranchised community, but your stopped yourself? Why are you hesitating? Fear? Maybe shame or guilt? Those emotions are coming from your ego, and your ego is not a good enough reason to hide your light.

Today is the day you take that step to empower others. Today you will recognize what you have in common with those living unstable lives.

You have discovered Empower by Example with Laura Rock where we are redefining traditional philanthropy and we need your help. Listen here for new ideas – programs that are pushing boundaries, moving the needle and creating real change. We will be giving you action steps and we want to hear your takeaways!


Empower By Example, Episode 12: Jake Goodman, Executive Director of The Opportunity Fund Part 2

In our second episode with Jake Goodman from The Opportunity Fund, Jake and I talk openly about our personal struggle with imposter syndrome. As Jake states, in almost everything that we fund, people are going to do even if they don’t have access to the funds. We realize that the founders of these amazing programs and initiatives will run their programs without paying themselves. We become close with the people and programs we fund.

When Jake asks me what I have learned by coming back to Pittsburgh after 13 years, we begin discussing the disparities between the haves and the have nots in Pittsburgh. We frankly question the existence of foundations and ask if Pittsburgh is one of the most philanthropic regions in the nation, why are the disparities still so profound?

The Rock Family Foundation and The Opportunity Fund work together and parallel to each other in many ways. Our partnership is important because we amplify our impact and our message when we support the same programs and funding areas. We are both currently working on the renovations for Downtown Pittsburgh’s low barrier winter homeless shelter. If you have questions about where we fund and how we decide which projects to back, please email Laura at County-Smithfield-United-Church-Christ-Pittsburgh-Mercy/stories/201911120096

Music by Buscrates (

Laura Rock

Laura Rock In 2017 Laura founded The Rock Family Foundation to serve young women of color who are exiting foster care and other county run services. Going from for-profit sales to non-profit management was a huge switch, and Laura found ways to pull in the strategies and benchmarks from her past career into the private foundation.

Empower By Example, Episode 11: Jake Goodman, Executive Director of The Opportunity Fund Part 1

We have touched on the dark side of philanthropy on this podcast before, but Jake and I take a deep dive here. How did we get here and how do we do these jobs with the knowledge that our daily lives are surrounded by privilege? And what does it look ...

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Empower By Example, Episode 10: Michael Yonas, Director of Research and Special Initiatives for The Pittsburgh Foundation

Michael strives to cultivate culturally sensitive opportunities for informing interventions that reflect the priorities of communities, organizations and other stakeholders. His most recent efforts have focused on examining the influence of stress on health, systems for serving the homeless, and strategies for promoting community and school safety. He is influenced ...

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