The Gismondi Family Foundation
Created by Pittsburgh attorney John P. Gismondi and his wife Lisa, The Gismondi Family Foundation provides grants to organizations that help those in need in the Pittsburgh region.
John Gismondi, a well known local trial attorney and former President of the Allegheny County Bar Association, explained the motivation for creating the Foundation, “My wife and I have been very fortunate in our lives, and we believe that when you are in a position to help others not so fortunate, you should do so.”
While the Foundation provides grants to all types of non-profit organizations, it tends to focus on programs which support the basic necessities in life: food, shelter, clothing, education, and medical care.
These are some of the non-profit organizations to whom The Gismondi Family Foundation has provided significant grants:
- Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh – An endowment to fund a customized van designed to display several household dangers and travel into the community to teach parents of young children how to avoid common hazards such as fire, poisoning, fall downs, electrocution, drowning, choking, etc.
- Catholic Charities of Pittsburgh – An endowment to fund a new program known as “The Family Christmas Plan” which helps needy families pay for a meaningful Christmas and encourages their children to perform acts of kindness or assistance to others.
- Greater Pittsburgh Food Bank – An endowment to fund a system-wide review of how effective the organization is in fulfilling its mission throughout their 11-county service area.
- Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh – A grant to support the “Best Books for Babies” program which encourages new parents to read to their babies and toddlers, and provides books and other support to the parents.
- The Uniontown Public Library – In honor of John Gismondi’s father, a grant to create the “James F. Gismondi Learning Center”, a multi-purpose room outfitted with computers and other equipment to facilitate childhood education. A separate endowment fund was also created to provide operational expenses for year-to-year updates to computers and software throughout the entire Library.
- Fayette County Meals on Wheels – A grant in John Gismondi’s hometown area to support operating expenses of this broad-based program that provides food for the elderly, sick and other shut-ins.
- Pittsburgh CLO – An endowment to provide grants to high schools having financial difficulty in funding their musical theater program, a popular activity that reaches a large and diverse group of students and teaches them how to work together toward a common goal.
- University of Pittsburgh School of Law – An endowment to fund and staff a broad-based curriculum written by Mr. Gismondi consisting of several courses designed to train law students who are interested in becoming courtroom attorneys.
- The Allegheny County Bar Foundation – An endowment to hire and pay for four to six law students each Summer to work at public interest legal clinics that serve the under privileged such as Neighborhood Legal Services, the Public Defender’s Office and others.
- Uniontown Area Senior High School – At Mr. Gismondi’s high school alma mater, a grant to create “The Gismondi Media Arts Center,” a facility equipped with state-of-the-art audiovisual equipment and two recording studios, all for the purpose of allowing students to create audio and video material to incorporate into their school assignments or extra-curricular activities.
- Fayette County Branch of the American Heart Association – A legacy grant to support a wide-ranging health care program designed to improve the overall quality of health in the Fayette County region, including a kick-off program to fund purchase of CPR training kits for all seven high schools in the County so that, by graduation, each student will receive instruction in this life saving technique.
- Duquesne University School of Law – An endowed scholarship in honor of Judge Gustave Diamond , an important mentor of Mr. Gismondi’s, to benefit law students from Washington County, Pennsylvania.
- Washington and Jefferson College – An endowed scholarship in honor of Mr. Gismondi’s late brother Jim, a proud alum and Trustee of the College, to provide financial assistance to students from Fayette County.
- Pittsburgh Public Schools – A grant to provide 150 laptop computers to needy students so they could participate in distance learning from home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- UPMC – A lead grant to create a Hardship Fund to assist hourly-rate employees in paying for unanticipated child care costs during the COVID-19 pandemic so these critical healthcare workers could continue to report to work.
- Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh – An endowment to create the Gismondi VITAL Library Grant which provides yearly assistance to public libraries that serve distressed communities throughout Allegheny County.
- University of Pittsburgh School of Law – An endowment to fund the “Gismondi Public Interest Fellowships,” a program which provides stipends to law students who obtain summer internships at public service or non-profit organizations.
Both John and Lisa credit their parents for emphasizing the virtue of helping other people. “ My parents taught my siblings and me to think about the plight of others and to help out when you can” says John. Lisa agrees, “I remember as a small child my mom and dad helping families in our area who didn’t have a lot and that makes an impression on you.”
Lisa Gismondi enjoys direct involvement with others in need. “John is more of a big idea person and an organizer. I get great satisfaction out of helping people at a one-on-one level. We compliment each other.”
In his private work, Mr. Gismondi has enjoyed a distinguished career, having served as President of both the Allegheny County Bar Association and the Academy of Trial Lawyers of Allegheny County. On a national level, he is an invited member of the prestigious American College of Trial Lawyers. Among the awards he has received are the Lifetime Achievement Award for contributions to the law in Pennsylvania; Distinguished Alumnus, University of Pittsburgh School of Law; Legacy Laureate, the highest honor bestowed on an alumnus of the University of Pittsburgh; Public Service Award, University of Pittsburgh Alumni Association; Distinguished Service Award, Academy of Trial Lawyers of Allegheny County; Professionalism Award, Allegheny County Bar Association; Legal Person of the Year, Israel Bonds Corporation.
John and Lisa are the proud parents of three children: Maria (Univ. of Pgh.), Tory (Penn State), and Justin (J.J.) (Univ. of Pgh.).
“The work of the Foundation is not over,” says Mr. Gismondi, “We look forward to providing more grants to help those in need as we carry on the Foundation’s tradition of reaching out to our community.”