The Pittsburgh Foundation

The Community Foundation of Westmoreland County tapped a Chicago native with an education background to be its next executive director. Philip Koch takes over the post on Monday.

“One of the things that was most interesting to me was the potential that exists in Westmoreland County to make an impact,” Koch said, referring to both the possibility of creating new philanthropists and “the possible impact that the dollars could make in revitalizing those communities.”

Created in 1995, the foundation merged with the Pittsburgh Foundation in 2010 but retained its own board.

DrivingtheNortheast / Flickr

The holiday season is always a busy time for food banks and food pantries as they try to provide the basics-and a few extras-for those in need.

With the recent reduction in the allocation of federal food stamps, many low-income people have fewer resources to put food on the table this holiday season.

As a consequence, there has been a surge in demand at local food banks and food pantries.

Blame it on the weather, the government or the economy, but demand for food assistance programs is increasing fast, according to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.

The local charity, which serves more than 110,000 people a year, saw a 40 percent increase in food demand compared to last November, and the Westmoreland County Food Bank saw a 13 percent increase.

That’s despite Pittsburgh’s unemployment rate falling from 7.3 percent to 6.7 percent over the last 12 months.

The Pittsburgh Foundation was taking donations for local nonprofit organizations Thursday down to the last second — literally.

More than $5.8 million was donated to about 700 nonprofits as part of the Day of Giving, down roughly 18 percent from last year.

The annual event, now in its fifth year, tries to highlight the region’s charitable initiatives.