Laurel Foundation was established in 1951 by Cordelia S. May, who served as Chairman until her death in 2005. The Foundation perpetuates Mrs. May’s philanthropic vision, which reflects her Pittsburgh heritage and her desire to preserve and promote the region’s culture, environment, and rich history.

Concentrating its grantmaking primarily in Pittsburgh and southwestern Pennsylvania, the principal funding areas include arts and culture, environment and conservation, vocational education, and community development/beautification.


Born in 1928, Cordelia S. May was proud of her Pittsburgh heritage. She pursued a quiet and generous charitable giving program that reflected her altruistic nature. Laurel Foundation supplemented her personal, anonymous support of the arts, education, community beautification, and resource conservation.

Mrs. May was a visionary and a proud, patriotic American. Her national philanthropic pursuits embraced the values upon which the country was founded: its laws, its language, and its traditions.

Today, the Directors of Laurel Foundation continue Mrs. May’s stewardship. In a world diminished by her absence, we reflect on the enormous gift of her friendship and leadership.