NEXT Up: Matt Zieger

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Photo by Erika Gidley


Matt Zieger
joined The Forbes Funds—and moved to Pittsburgh—in August of 2014, where he leads efforts to develop the capacity of nonprofits through innovation. Matt has also led the design and launch of UpPrize—the region’s first early stage impact investing platform. Matt and his wife Lisa live in Squirrel Hill with their two adventurous boys, a little electric car and enough camping gear for a small army. There is an 87% chance that he’s drinking coffee right now.

Monday, March 23

After dropping my youngest son Andrew (2) off at the Squirrel Hill JCC, I head downtown to The Forbes Funds in PPG Place, dropping by Bluebird Kitchen before I step into a burst of five meetings before noon.

Every Monday afternoon I meet up with Kenya Boswell, the new President of the BNY Mellon Foundation of Southwestern PA to work on our joint project, UpPrize. This week we’re meeting at Arnold’s Tea House, a great new business on the North Side, and a great Kiva City story.

I wrap up the workday with Larry Miller at Innovation Works, learning about local start-ups working on important social challenges, then head home for dinner with Lisa and the kids. Before bed, my son Eliot (5) and I will likely be building something out of old cardboard boxes and/or Legos.

Tuesday, March 24

Early morning loop of Schenley Park trails before kids wake and the sun rises. Late morning coffee at Zeke’s with connector-extraordinaire, Kit Mueller of Fygment, then off to Idea Foundry to learn more about their processes. After a few more meetings and calls, I head over to AlphaLab Gear to meet up with Tracy Certo whose NEXTpittsburgh team has been putting the finishing touches on our big event for tonight.

At 5:30 p.m., the crowds start pouring in for our first UpPrize networking event at AlphaLab Gear. So great to see over 300 people from the nonprofit and start-up communities coming together to celebrate making Pittsburgh a leader in purpose-driven innovation. After Mayor Peduto rallies the crowd, and our event winds down, I head home in time to read bedtime stories to my boys with Lisa.

Wednesday, March 25

Catch-up with The Forbes Funds lead, Kate Dewey and GPNP President Sam Balbier, followed by a morning meeting with Presley Gillespie of Neighborhood Allies. Then across town to try to catch the end of a Grantmakers of Western PA policy discussion on food and obesity in Pittsburgh with RAND policy lead Tamara Dubowitz. After clearing out some emails and following up on contacts from the UpPrize event last night, Lisa and the kids and I head over to Lawrenceville for a weekly dinner with friends.

Later in the evening, I’ll meet up with GSPIA and Grantmakers of Western PA at an event at J. Tambellini restaurant.

Thursday, March 26

Eliot has a spring break week off from Kentucky Avenue School. (I know, right?) So today, I’m going to play hooky myself and go explore with him. We’ll meander our way around town stopping by the Carnegie Science Center, Pittsburgh Zoo and Pittsburgh Glass Center for the ABC@PGC exhibit, then lunch at Eliot’s favorite spot, the Ramen Bar, with a playground stop thrown in for good measure.

Toward the end of the day, I’ll catch up with Toby Greenwalt at East End Brewing Company to brainstorm about ways The Forbes Funds might be able to support Carnegie Library in their impressive transformation into a platform for innovation, opportunity and community engagement.

Friday, March 27

I try to keep a light schedule on Fridays to collect my thoughts for the week. A morning meeting in Market Square, some much needed office time, followed by meeting Dr. Tom Macagno and Dean Peter Walker for lunch and a tour of Chatham’s Eden Hall campus, a true model for sustainability.

Around 7 p.m. Lisa and I head out for date night, strolling down to The Independent Brewing Company before checking out The Commoner for dinner.

Saturday, March 28

Early morning run, then Five Points Artisan Bakeshop for the best baked goods around. We swing through Pittsburgh Public Market, then welcome spring with an afternoon adventure in beautiful Ohiopyle State Park.

Sunday, March 29

With the marathon only a month away, my phone tells me I should wake up crazy early and run the longest distance I’ve ever run. I grudgingly agree. Nothing quite beats watching a city slowly wake up and become illuminated by a sunrise from the Three Rivers Heritage trail.

After breakfast with Lisa and the kids, we head off to our church at Grace & Peace in Bloomfield. Afterwards, we grab lunch at Conflict Kitchen then Eliot and I head over to the Union Project for an afternoon pottery workshop.