Robert Morris University

Lifetime Achievement Honored

Region’s nonprofit groups thank Peggy Outon for promoting equal pay for men and women.

Out On Award

The longtime head of RMU’s Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management has been recognized with a lifetime achievement award from the Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership.

Peggy Outon, the center’s executive director for 23 years, received the honor at a Dec. 8 luncheon at the National Aviary sponsored by the partnership, a coalition of more than 500 nonprofits across southwestern Pennsylvania. Esther Bush, the longtime head of the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh who retired this summer, also received a lifetime achievement award.

WTAE-TV news anchor Andrew Stockey had a sitdown interview with Outon and Bush at the luncheon. They discussed the success and national attention the Bayer Center received for its “74% Project,” which exposed a significant pay gap affecting women in leadership roles in the region’s nonprofit sector. Since the project launched in 2010, the gap has closed substantially. This year the center reported the narrowest gap yet between the average salary of female vs. male executives, with women earning an average of 92 cents for every dollar men earn.

“This is not only social justice,” Outon told the audience, “this is good business sense and an important way to literally put your money where your mouth is as a champion of diversity.”

The Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management, based at Robert Morris University, offers consulting and education services in finance, management, and governance to nonprofits of all sizes in the human service, arts, faith-based, community development, environmental, and education sectors. The center conducts applied research and also provides accomplished executives to serve in voluntary advisory roles to assist nonprofits.

Looking back on her career so far, Outon said she has been privileged to work with more than 1,000 nonprofit organizations.

“In the face of all the cynicism of our modern culture — greed is good, God is dead, nothing can be done — I have walked with those who take responsibility for others, who believe that we must reach up and reach out, that we are called to build community, encourage generosity and help people to live lives of value and respect,” Outon said. “I am proud that the nonprofit community has been my home and its people, my people.”

The nonprofit partnership, a project of the Forbes Funds, also gave awards to 10 individuals and organizations to recognize their exemplary work during the Covid-19 pandemic.