We see them every day and we feel their impact. They devote their time, talents and resources to making this world a better place for all of us. In a unique collaboration, Giant Eagle and WQED have teamed up to recognize some of the people and organizations in our region who are dedicated to making a difference.

What Makes A Community Champion?

The Community Champions initiative will feature change-makers whose commitment, passion, and leadership are improving the lives of individuals and the well-being of our communities. Each month, we will feature a video profile of a person and/or organization who exemplifies outstanding spirit and commitment in their chosen field.

Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy

 

Congratulations to the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, our latest WQED Giant Eagle Community Champion. The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy was founded in December 1996 by a group of citizens concerned with the deteriorating conditions of Pittsburgh’s historic city parks. A non-profit organization, the Parks Conservancy works in partnership with the City of Pittsburgh and the Community and is committed to improving the quality of life for the people of Pittsburgh by restoring the park system to excellence. PPC projects and programs are conducted with respect for the environment, historic design, and the needs of our diverse region.

To learn more about Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, or to find a park near you visit: https://pittsburghparks.org/
Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy Volunteers
Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy Volunteers
Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy
Frick Park Maintenance
Frick Park Maintenance
George Washington Monument
George Washington Monument

Best Buddies

Congratulations to Best Buddies, our latest WQED Giant Eagle Community Champion. Best Buddies is the world’s largest organization dedicated to ending the social, physical and economic isolation for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Best Buddies has five pillars; including One-to-One Friendships, Integrated Employment, Leadership Development, Inclusive Living and Family Support. As an international non-profit, Best Buddies gives people with special abilities a chance to make friends, speak up, be heard and advocate for themselves and others within their community.
To learn more about Best Buddies, visit: www.bestbuddies.org/pennsylvania/

 

Chef Ben D’Amico & Victoria D’Andrea of Best Buddies
Chef Ben D’Amico & Victoria D’Andrea of Best Buddies
Best Buddies Logo
Ben D’Amico and Victoria D’Andrea at TasteBuds 2023
Ben D’Amico and Victoria D’Andrea at TasteBuds 2023
Samantha Mildner, Western Pennsylvania Area Director, Best Buddies
Samantha Mildner, Western Pennsylvania Area Director, Best Buddies

Westmoreland Food Bank

Congratulations to the Westmoreland Food Bank, our latest WQED Giant Eagle Community Champion. For nearly 18,000 individuals and families facing food insecurity throughout Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, the Westmoreland Food Bank provides an invaluable resource in the fight against hunger. Through innovative food programs, a network of community resources, a team of dedicated volunteers and local donations, the Westmoreland Food Bank works to win the fight against hunger by providing nutritious foods, comfort and confidence to our neighbors and friends throughout Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.

To learn more about how to receive assistance or how to become involved, go to https://westmorelandfoodbank.org/

Volunteers at the Westmoreland Food Bank Warehouse
Volunteers at the Westmoreland Food Bank Warehouse
Westmoreland Food Bank logo
Volunteer Shelia DiCroce at Seton Hill University
Volunteer Shelia DiCroce at Seton Hill University
Lauren Hill, Director of Development, Westmoreland Food Bank
Lauren Hill, Director of Development, Westmoreland Food Bank
Jennifer Miller, Chief Executive Officer, Westmoreland Food Bank
Jennifer Miller, Chief Executive Officer, Westmoreland Food Bank

The Greater Pittsburgh Infant Formula Bank

In June of 2022, Beverly’s Birthdays launched The Greater Pittsburgh Infant Formula Bank. Managed by Beverly’s Babies, The Formula Bank is made up of a network of public formula banks, positioned throughout the region, that provide free formula for families who need help accessing healthy nutrition for their children. This is the region’s first and only public formula resource and in 2024, the Greater Pittsburgh Infant Formula Bank will be launching a mobile bank, providing greater access to families in need. We are proud to honor The Greater Pittsburgh Infant Formula Bank.

To learn more, go to www.beverlysbirthdays.org/formula-bank/

Beverly’s Birthdays team at the Early Learning Resource Center’s Formula Bank Launch
The Greater Pittsburgh Infant Formula Bank logo
Baby by a shelf of formula
Early Learning Resource Center’s Formula Bank Launch
Megs Yunn, Executive Director & Founder of Beverly’s

The American Red Cross of Greater Pennsylvania

The mission of the American Red Cross was born on the battlefield through Clara Barton’s care for Civil War soldiers in 1881. The American Red Cross continues to be a beacon of help and hope, responding to more than 1600 disasters and serving over 6,500 people in the last year alone. Each year over 3,300 people volunteer with the American Red Cross of Greater Pennsylvania – responding to disasters like home fires and floods, assisting at local blood drives, and providing help and hope for veterans and military families.

To learn more, visit www.redcross.org/

Group of volunteers in a group photo
Volunteering at MLK Day Celebration
American Red Cross of Greater Pennsylvania Region logo Volunteers passing out food
Jorge Martinez, CEO, American Red Cross of Greater Pennsylvania
Jorge Martinez, CEO, American Red Cross of Greater Pennsylvania

2023 Community Champions

September: Achieva

Achieva Logo

Achieva is dedicated to empowering people with disabilities. Through their family of organizations, they provide invaluable resources in employment, housing, early intervention, special needs trusts and family support. Achieva advocates with, empowers, and supports people with disabilities and their families throughout their lives. To learn more, visit www.achieva.info

Jack Butler headshot
Jack Butler, Director, Person-Centered Supports
Front view of Achieva's office
Achieva’s Offices
Pittsburgh South Side Neighborhood

Podcast: Jack Butler

Director of Person-Centered Support at Achieva, Jack Butler, discusses his role at Achieva in helping people with disabilities lead a life of personal significance in the community. Jack highlights the services Achieva offers to people with a wide range of disabilities, and how person center support enables a wide range of diversity in the support that is offered to those in need.

Two Achieva coworkers
Achieva Team Workers

July: Allies for Health + Wellbeing

Allies for Health + Wellbeing logo

Allies for Health + Wellbeing opened its medical clinic in 2017, with a mission to provide integrated medical care, supportive services and community based education for individuals living with or at risk of HIV, viral hepatitis, and sexually transmitted infections. Through shared values of community, accountability, quality, engagement and respect, Allies for Health envisions a healthier community where all individuals receive care free of stigma and discrimination.

For more information visit www.alliespgh.org

Sean DeYoung, MSW, LCSW Chief Executive Officer, Allies For Health + Wellbeing
Sean DeYoung, MSW, LCSW
Chief Executive Officer, Allies For Health + Wellbeing

Podcast: Sean DeYoung

CEO of Allies for Health and Wellbeing, Sean DeYoung, discusses how Allies offers testing and care for those living with HIV, Hepatitis C, and STD’s, as well as LGTBQ+ and gynecological care in the Pittsburgh community. Sean also discusses their award as a 2023 WQED and Giant Eagle Community Champion. Visit https://www.alliespgh.org/ for more information about their services and volunteering.

Allies Staff and volunteers
Allies Staff and volunteers
Allies, Penn Avenue, East Liberty
Allies, Penn Avenue, East Liberty

June: Pittsburgh Botanic Garden

Pittsburgh Botanic Garden

The Pittsburgh Botanic Garden is the perfect setting for exploring our area’s natural beauty and biodiversity. It inspires and educates visitors with its displays of regional plants, pollinator gardens, lush woodlands and innovative design. The Botanic Garden is a thriving tribute to the value of environmental restoration, sustainability and immersive learning. To learn more visit pittsburghbotanicgarden.org

Pittsburgh Botanic Garden Staff and Volunteers
Pittsburgh Botanic Garden Staff and Volunteers
Touring the Pittsburgh Botanic Gardens
Touring the Pittsburgh Botanic Gardens
A spring day at the Botanic Gardens
A spring day at the Botanic Gardens

May: Catapult Greater Pittsburgh

Catapult Greater Pittsburgh logo

Tammy Thompson, Executive Director, Catapult of Greater Pittsburgh, is a veteran in the battle for economic justice and independence for women and families of color. Catapult Greater Pittsburgh works to clear pathways to economic sustainability in several ways: They help strengthen diverse communities through financial literacy, entrepreneurial training and mentoring and support for business ownership. They help to overcome food insecurity by working in the community and partnering with area organizations. And Catapult revitalizes neighborhoods through reducing barriers to home ownership, peer-to-peer support and asset building. For more information on Catapult, visit them at catapultpittsburgh.org.

Tammy Thompson, Executive Director, Catapult Greater Pittsburgh
Tammy Thompson, Executive Director, Catapult Greater Pittsburgh

 

Podcast: Tammy Thompson

An interview with Tammy Thompson, Executive Director of Catapult Greater Pittsburgh, a non-profit organization committed to eradicating generational and trauma built poverty in the Pittsburgh area through wealth building, and emergency resources. Tammy is a 2023 Giant Eagle Community Champion.

Catapult Greater Pittsburgh Staff
Catapult Greater Pittsburgh Staff

April: Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank

Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank

The Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank has excelled at providing food for the regions neighbors since 1980. Fighting to end hunger in western PA from their Duquesne headquarters, their work goes beyond the sourcing and delivery of food. The Food Bank works with 1000-plus partners over 11 counties driving anti-hunger initiatives, improving nutrition and stabilizing lives. For more information on GPCFB, visit them at pittsburghfoodbank.org

Charlese McKinney, Chief Program Officer
Charlese McKinney, Chief Program Officer

 

GPCFB staff members Phylliss Johnson, Charlese McKinney, Kelly Schlick and Callie Robinson
GPCFB staff members Phylliss Johnson, Charlese McKinney, Kelly Schlick and Callie Robinson