PITTSBURGH (November 11, 2022) – On the 10-year anniversary of the date that he was shot by Pittsburgh police in a case of mistaken identity, international speaker, author, and entrepreneur Leon
Ford today announced that he would be donating the clothing he wore that night to the Smithsonian-
affiliated Senator John Heinz History Center.
The announcement was made at Leon Ford: A Decade of Healing, Hope and Resilience, an
evening celebrating Ford’s journey to reconciliation and forgiveness, and highlighting the ongoing work
of The Hear Foundation, which he and former Pittsburgh Police Chief Scott Schubert co-founded earlier
this year. The Hear Foundation is the first and only nonprofit focused exclusively on building
relationships between police and residents in order to address gun violence and improve public safety.
The evening also featured discussion and community input on trauma-informed healing,
strengthening police/community collaboration, and ending stigma around mental health and therapy.
Speaking to more than 150 community leaders, public safety officials, youth, and residents, Ford
explained his decision to donate the clothing and what he hopes it will mean for Pittsburgh:
“As I reflect on these past 10 years, and the hard work of physical, spiritual, and emotional
healing that I’ve put in, it is remarkable to be at this moment, donating the clothes I wore the night that
I was shot into the care of the Heinz History Center. So much has transpired in this past decade, and
today I am proud that as co-founder of The Hear Foundation, I am helping lead efforts to bring police
officers and residents together to work out how to forge strong relationships despite the differences we
may have. This donation marks the closing of a chapter in my life, but it is also a historic moment for
Pittsburgh. While it is a symbol of a trauma experience that has occurred and where we were as a
divided city 10 years ago, it also represents the healing, redemption and reconciliation that is possible
and is already transpiring here. There is still so much to be done, but we have begun the work, and by
choosing to listen to one another, we will build a safer, stronger city for everyone.”
The clothing has been acquired as an artifact in the Heinz History Center’s African American
Collection, which is part of the museum’s African American Program. The African American Program is
dedicated to the preservation, dissemination, and interpretation of the life, history, and culture of
Africans and African Americans in Western Pennsylvania.
“The History Center’s exhibitions and collections chronicle the African American experience in
Pittsburgh, and this is an important chapter in that story,” said Andy Masich, president and CEO of the
History Center. “As a Smithsonian Affiliate and Pittsburgh’s people museum, we value this collection and
partnership with The Hear Foundation.”
The Hear Foundation also announced a new round of community microgrants totaling $200,000
that will be made available to nonprofit organizations to support programs that strengthen relationships
between police and community and that address trauma, gun violence and/or workforce development
in Pittsburgh. The grant cycle is expected to open in December.
“The Hear Foundation is committed to investing in community-led efforts to improve public
safety in Pittsburgh, specifically around the issues of trauma/resilience, workforce development, and
gun violence,” said The Hear Foundation Executive Director Kamal Nigam. “We are grateful for the
insights shared with us by residents and community leaders and will use the input we have gathered this
evening, as well as in small group meetings we will host with community and police officers in the
coming months, to identify projects and guide our next round of grantmaking. We are hearing from
many that police and community can collaborate on public safety, that it is possible to build authentic
relationships, and we invite community nonprofits to submit their programs for consideration when we
open our next grant cycle in December.”
Laura Ellis, email@example.com / 412.952.7844
Brady Smith, firstname.lastname@example.org / 412.454.6459
Leon Ford: A Decade of Healing, Hope and Resilience and The Hear Foundation community input sessions are made
possible by Heal America and The Heinz Endowments.
The Heinz Endowments seeks to help our region thrive as a whole and just community and, through that work, to
model solutions to major national and global challenges. We are devoted to advancing our vision of southwestern
Pennsylvania as a vibrant center of creativity, learning, and social, economic, and environmental sustainability.
Our work is supported by reliable data based on equitable, results-focused goals to cultivate a world where all
are treated with fairness and respect and have the opportunity to reach their fullest potential.
The Hear Foundation is supported by the Allegheny Foundation, The Buhl Foundation, the Elsie H. Hillman
Foundation, The Forbes Funds, Heal America, Jones Day, Jones Day Foundation, and the Richard King Mellon
Foundation, with fiscal sponsorship by the POISE Foundation. To learn more or to sign up for news and updates
from The Hear Foundation, visit hearfoundation.com or email email@example.com.
ABOUT THE HEINZ HISTORY CENTER:
The Senator John Heinz History Center, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution and the largest history museum
in Pennsylvania, presents American history with a Western Pennsylvania connection. The History Center and
Sports Museum are located at 1212 Smallman Street in the city’s Strip District. The History Center’s family of
museums includes the Sports Museum; the Fort Pitt Museum in historic Point State Park; and Meadowcroft
Rockshelter and Historic Village, a National Historic Landmark located in Avella, Pa., in Washington County. More
information is available at heinzhistorycenter.org.