About the Allegheny County Music Festival Fund
The Allegheny County Music Festival Fund (ACMFF) was established in 2000 by then-Family Court Judge Max Baer and DHS Director Marc Cherna, to aid children and youth receiving services through the Allegheny County Department of Human Services or the Juvenile Section of the Family Division of the Court of Common Pleas. The fund creates a resource that pays for life-enriching opportunities and items that are not otherwise available through traditional government funding.
The ACMFF is totally dependent upon the generosity of county residents. For the first eight years, it was replenished using proceeds from a single music concert, the Allegheny County Music Festival, hosted by Allegheny County at Hartwood Acres Park. One of a generally free series of summer outdoor concerts, this special event suggests a donation-per-vehicle. Proceeds from a 50/50 raffle are also added to the Fund. In 2008, an additional fund raiser was added, necessitated by the popularity of the Fund among providers and children. Candidates' Comedy Night features candidates for national, state and local political offices taking the stage to perform for the gathered contributors.
Performers were chosen in cooperation with the Allegheny County Special Events Office and included:
- 2000 David Crosby and CPR
- 2001 Don McLean
- 2002 Blues Traveler
- 2003 Rusted Root
- 2004 Gin Blossoms and Good Brother Earl
- 2005 Los Lobos
- 2006 The Clarks
- 2007 Blues Traveler
- 2008 Radio Disney presents Everlife and Drew Seely
- 2009 Rusted Root
- 2010 Rusted Root
- 2011 Rusted Root
- 2012 Rusted Root
The dissemination of ACMFF funds is overseen by the independent ACMFF Advisory Committee chaired by DHS Director Marc Cherna. The committee consists of professionals from the public and private sectors of child welfare, juvenile justice, human services and the courts. Each member is knowledgeable and passionate about children's issues.
Requests are submitted by a social services professional working with a child. This professional may work for DHS, a DHS-contracted provider of services for children and families or the juvenile justice system. Each request is reviewed individually on its merits by the Advisory Committee and is granted in full, granted in part or denied. Factors, such as family composition, income and the number of children living in the household, are considered.
In 2012, the Music Festival Fund was honored as a "Bright Idea” by Harvard University’s Ash Center for Democratic Governance & Innovation.
Benefits for children and youth
The Allegheny County Music Festival Fund has been utilized for a wide variety of items and opportunities including providing for:
- A week of “live-in” summer camp for at-risk young persons to allow them to engage in healthy activities outside their neighborhood.
- Lessons in dance, karate and music, and other positive outlets for self-expression for a child who is living in a homeless shelter with his or her mother to escape domestic violence.
- The opportunity for a child receiving mental health services to spend quality time with his or her family at the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium, one of the four Carnegie Museums or the National Aviary.
- The opportunity for a young man or woman, transitioning into adulthood, to attend a college tour and set the course for his or her future.
As of September 1, 2012, the ACMFF has raised nearly $559,000 and enriched the lives of 2,300 children and youth.
The funds to provide life-enriching items and opportunities to children are raised through two annual fundraisers: Allegheny County Music Festival and Candidates’ Comedy Night. As the demand for funds increases, so does the need to raise additional funds. Please consider donating to this worthy cause.
Checks can be made out to:
Allegheny County Music Festival Fund
One Smithfield Street, First Floor
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Utilizing the Allegheny County Music Festival Fund (for providers of human services for children)