Our History


Richard King Mellon
1899 – 1970

Serving in both World Wars, Mr. Mellon received the Distinguished Service Medal

For more than 60 years the Richard King Mellon Foundation has invested in the competitive future and quality of life in Southwestern Pennsylvania, and in the protection, preservation, and restoration of America’s environmental heritage.

The Foundation was created in 1947 by Richard King Mellon, president and chairman of Mellon Bank, a conservationist and leading figure in the financial and civic life of Pennsylvania.

Richard King Mellon was born in Pittsburgh on June 19, 1899, the son of Richard Beatty Mellon and Jennie King Mellon. Mr. Mellon served his country in both World Wars and in peacetime, attaining the rank of Lieutenant General, United States Army Reserve, and receiving the Distinguished Service Medal.

He was president of Mellon National Bank and for twenty years Chairman of the Board of Mellon National Bank and Trust Company; as a director, he aided the growth of many of the nation’s leading enterprises, particularly Gulf Oil Corporation and Aluminum Company of America. As President and Governor of T. Mellon and Sons, Mr. Mellon inspired and led the rebirth of Pittsburgh as a great American city; his creative energies forged the Pittsburgh Renaissance, a nationally recognized architectural, civic, social, and educational venture.

In 1936 Mr. Mellon married the former Constance Mary Prosser, who served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Richard King Mellon Foundation from its inception in 1947 until her death in 1980. A renowned sportsman, Mr. Mellon generously endeavored to preserve the quality of the natural environment and to protect its wildlife. Mr. Mellon died on June 3, 1970.


In 2015, the Richard King Mellon Foundation approved 178 grants totaling $130,057,418, and paid out commitments totaling $113,694,928. These grants reflect the Foundation’s longstanding commitment and focus on our priorities–including conservation,education, human services, and regional economic development–in an effort to help improve the overall quality of life for citizens throughout Pittsburgh and western Pennsylvania.