On March 16, the Emergency Action Fund was setup by The Pittsburgh Foundation, The Community Foundation of Westmoreland County and its regional partners to accept donations from individuals, foundations and businesses so that funds could be allocated rapidly to nonprofits on the front lines of the COVID-19 response. Learn more about the fund, the grants distributed from it and the nonprofits it helped.
FUELED BY AN ABUNDANCE OF TEAMWORK, a group of about 30 high school– and college-age students took part in a seven-week program meant to encourage next generation philanthropy. The Youth Philanthropy Internship — a partnership of The Community Foundation of Westmoreland County, The Heinz Endowments and the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies — brings together young people from across western Pennsylvania to address the most pressing issues in their communities.
It’s an unfortunate fact that most local elected officials win their positions by way of a small percentage of those eligible to vote. But holding office as a member of a school board, council, board of supervisors or mayor means something far greater than what is represented in a vote tally.
IN 1989, VINCENT QUATRINI was an attorney with a young family and a demanding practice in his native Westmoreland County, when someone dear to him died of a heart attack at age 40.
That Nicholas Cecchini was also his brother-in-law made the grief all the more searing. Quatrini’s wife, Patty, was devastated over losing her brother so young. (Over the course of the next 12 years, the Cecchini family would also lose brothers Ned and Fred, and niece, Kimberly.)
EVERY THURSDAY, a group dinner in Greensburg, Westmoreland County, begins like millions of others across America — with a prayer.
But then the meal follows its own unique script. There is a Word of the Day — such as gratitude, hope, beauty or friendship — and diners are encouraged to discuss what that word means to them in their lives as they are at that moment. At meal’s end, one of the hosts tells three jokes.
When the COVID-19 pandemic led to stay-at-home orders and business closures in southwestern Pennsylvania, larger cities, such as Pittsburgh, were able to quickly mobilize resources and ensure basic needs from food to transportation were met. In small rural communities, the safety net infrastructure is often not as robust. The Community Foundation of Westmoreland County (CFWC) worked to reinforce that safety net in the 65 municipalities that it serves through community calls.
Staff at The Community Foundation of Westmoreland County knew that a lack of emergency shelter beds was a significant issue, but it wasn’t until they began checking in with nonprofits and community advocates that the full scope of the problem became clear.
IN 2013, THERE WERE FEW REGRETS from Latrobe residents when a notorious nuisance bar at the corner of Ligonier and Main streets in the heart of the downtown was destroyed by a fire that officials determined was caused by arson. The dirt-covered lot that lingered for several years afterward served as a constant marker of deterioration in a town struggling to recover from a decades-long recession.
PENNSYLVANIA — specifically, native son Benjamin Franklin — created the concept of volunteer fire brigades, which have served small communities since 1736. But nearly three centuries later, rural communities like many in Westmoreland County are struggling to maintain that selfless tradition.
Faced with a sharp decline in volunteer firefighters, philanthropic and emergency services officials turned to a federal government program to make Westmoreland the proving ground for a novel recruitment strategy.
Twin Lakes Park is considered the jewel of Westmoreland County’s parks system, both for its natural beauty and its public amenities designed to be accessible by all residents. Centrally located in the county, the park’s recently completed expansion is being hailed as a national model for community partnerships, planning and stewardship.
The Westmoreland County community held a rally to draw attention to the long stall of the state budget passage that affected the ability of numerous nonprofits to provide essential services.