Meet the Alcoa Foundation

by Ryan Kish, Program Manager, Alcoa Foundation
Alcoa Foundation is the sponsor of the Maker Faire Pittsburgh Education Zone

Alcoa Foundation is a passionate supporter of non-profit organizations here in Pittsburgh and in other Alcoa communities. As an organization, our mission is to advance the communities in which Alcoa IMG_6213operates. Alcoa Foundation is focused on investing in partners in STEM education, workforce development for advanced manufacturing, and environmental sustainability.

A lot of people in Pittsburgh are familiar with Alcoa, or at least the Alcoa of the past. People should know that the company has grown and transformed under its current leadership. A global leader in lightweight metals technology, engineering and manufacturing, Alcoa innovates multi-material solutions that advance our world. Our technologies enhance transportation, from automotive and commercial transport to air and space travel, and improve industrial and consumer electronics products. We enable smart buildings, sustainable food and beverage packaging, high-performance defense vehicles across air, land and sea, deeper oil and gas drilling and more efficient power generation. We pioneered the aluminum industry over 125 years ago, and today, our 60,000 people in 30 countries deliver value-add products made of titanium, nickel and aluminum, and produce best-in-class bauxite, alumina and primary aluminum products.

Alcoa and Alcoa Foundation are global organizations, but we were born right here in the Pittsburgh area – and Pittsburgh remains a critical part of who we are. Globally, Alcoa Foundation has invested over $600 million since 1952. Since 2011, we’ve invested $5.1 million in Alcoa communities in the Greater Pittsburgh area, advancing the mission of numerous non-profit partners.

We are involved with Maker Faire Pittsburgh because we can be confident in the proven model of the Maker Faire and the thoughtful implementation of the event by our trusted partner, Children’s Museum. The Maker Faire represents something different – something outside the classroom walls and I think that is what makes it special. The Maker Faire shows our youth such a wide array of creative projects that it helps open up their imagination through the lens of making and creating from their own mind and with their own hands. The Faire doesn’t just tell them that anything is possible – it shows them.

Of course I’m very excited to see all the great exhibitions on display at the Faire, but I think I’m most excited to see the faces of the parents! Events like these can open up the eyes of parents and show them the world of opportunity that exists when you steer your children to be engaged in STEM education and to be active in the Maker movement. Exciting, stable, and rewarding careers await the children who get involved in the Maker movement and STEM.

Maker Spotlight: Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse

Take the Creative Reuse Challenge at the Faire, where materials are chosen by chance! Put your maker skills to the test… Spin the three wheels to choose what materials you’ll get to use. To learn more, visit

Maker Spotlight: XOGO (formerly Haxbox)

Xogo (formerly Haxbox) is the first universal gaming adapter that lets anyone play console games on an equal footing with friends and family using accessible controllers. It allows people with physical disabilities to play alongside abled friends and socialize on a level playing field.  Learn more at  Bansen Labs

Maker Spotlight: PieceMaker

PieceMaker is an automated systems for creating personalized products on-demand. Toys, accessories, jewelry – your item can be printed right before your eyes.  See it in action at the Faire!  Learn more at