Community Foundation of Westmoreland County

Westmoreland philanthropy head moves to Pittsburgh FoundationPhil Koch to lead policy, community impact for wider region

CFWC executive director search now underway

PITTSBURGH, PA, Dec. 1, 2020 – After more than five years serving as executive director of The Community Foundation of Westmoreland County (CFWC), Phil Koch is moving to a new senior leadership position at The Pittsburgh Foundation, where he will expand on his mission in Westmoreland of strengthening communities.

In his role of vice president for Policy and Community Impact, Koch will pursue positive social change by partnering with Foundation leadership and other staff to set public policy priorities, working with outside stakeholders to implement them and developing opportunities for community investments. The work aligns with Koch’s career experience as an organizer and advocate. He created the WestCo Nonprofit Network, a coalition of more than 160 organizations that provide opportunities for networking, education and advocacy to strengthen the sector in Westmoreland County.

“Phil has had tremendous success positioning our affiliate, The Community Foundation of Westmoreland County as the builder of networks and partnerships in the area it serves, and we now want him to continue that work regionwide,” said Pittsburgh Foundation President and CEO Lisa Schroeder in announcing the position change. “The quality-of-life improvements that have resulted from his use of the Foundation’s convening and advocacy powers have been impressive. We’re excited that he will be extending these benefits to other communities in the region.”

Koch joined CFWC as executive director in June 2015. In the ensuing years, he has focused the Foundation’s comprehensive community investment strategy on supporting the basic needs of vulnerable populations in Westmoreland County, while helping to revitalize individual communities. That work includes investment in the redevelopment of New Kensington; coordinating an effort to obtain $4.3 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to fund recruitment and training of 500 volunteer firefighters in the county and supporting the human services sector through the COVID-19 pandemic by organizing a unified response. 

“As executive director, I learned that foundations play an important role in helping to build bridges,” said Koch. “As I move into my new role, I will need every bit of the advice, expertise and collaborative spirit generously shared with me by so many people in Westmoreland County. I look forward to bringing together stakeholders from across the region to solve some of our most challenging problems, walking with them as we develop solutions.” 

Koch’s early career was as an elementary and middle school teacher in the Chicago and Pittsburgh Public School systems. In 2005, he left the classroom for the nonprofit sector as the Pittsburgh Director for MGR Youth Empowerment, a direct-service organization focused on youth development. During his tenure as national executive director, Koch grew the organization to five cities covering 50,000 youth.

“Phil has poured his heart and soul into Westmoreland County over the last five years,” said CFWC Advisory Board Chair Brian Lenart. “He has been a tireless steward of community collaboration and philanthropy. His creation of the Westco Nonprofit Network and dedication to assisting our most vulnerable communities will be a legacy that will last generations. We are forever grateful for Phil’s leadership.

Koch, who has begun his orientation to the new position, will continue management duties at CFWC through the search period for his successor. A job description and outline of the process is available on The Pittsburgh Foundation and CFWC websites.