Monthly Archives: December 2011


Giving is the watchword of the holiday season. And stretching your dollar is important, even where it pertains to charitable giving.

For every dollar you donate to a local food bank, they are able to leverage it to anywhere between $5 and $10 worth of food and services. They do it by buying in bulk, using volunteer labor, and working with local manufacturers, retailers, and farmers. So while food donations are appreciated, money makes a bigger impact.

Consider this: the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank can buy $5 worth of food and services for every $1 donated. Feeding America, the national hunger-relief charity, can turn $1 into eight meals. Those are encouraging numbers for a growing hunger epidemic that affects 49 million Americans—16 million of them children.

Akoya makes a monetary donation every year to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank because we know the need is great and the impact is big. But ultimately, whatever the gift (big or small, cans or cash), please, just consider giving.

How is your community affected by hunger? Check out Feeding America’s Map the Meal Gap for an at-a-glance, interactive map showing the impact of hunger in your area.



William Dietrich: Pittsburgh’s Gift that Keeps on Giving

The Pittsburgh region suffered a great loss this past October, when it was announced that William S. Dietrich II, former steel industry executive and Western PA native, lost his bout with gallbladder cancer at the age of 73. His generous legacy to institutions of higher learning promises to bolster the Pittsburgh community for generations to come.

Stemming from Mr. Dietrich’s 1996 sale of Dietrich Industries, one of the nation’s largest steel distribution and products company, to Worthington Industries, Mr. Dietrich created the Dietrich Charitable Trusts. By the time of his death, assets from the trusts reached $500 million – all of which were given to the Dietrich Foundation to be spread among local educational institutions, charitable organizations, and non-profits. Beneficiaries to date include Carnegie Mellon University ($265M), the University of Pittsburgh ($125M), Thiel College ($25M), Duquesne University ($12.5M), Chatham University ($5M), the Pittsburgh Foundation ($18.1M), the United Way of Allegheny County ($6.9M), and the Boy Scouts of America ($5M). The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh each received $5 million.

Among those of us who call Pittsburgh home, few will have assets to match Mr. Dietrich’s. Yet we can join him in investing in the well being of our community by donating and volunteering our time and effort to the nonprofit arts, education, and human services organizations that are so integral to our region’s future.



Akoya Wraps Up Third Annual Pet Supply Drive

When I was a kid, my parents hung three stockings at holiday time: one for me, one for Lisa, my sister, and one for Chip—our dog. Because why not? Out of the three of us, Chip was often the best behaved, so it only made sense for Santa to toss a couple of rawhides his way.

Chip’s long gone, but in my family the pets still rule, and the same holds true for the Akoya staff—three-quarters of us share our homes, our meals, and often our beds, with 17 dogs and cats of various breeds and colorful personalities. And at this time of year, as we head to Petco for stocking stuffers and lint-brush our couches and holiday sweaters, we also try to remember some of the homeless animals that could use a little pick-me-up this season.

This year marked Akoya’s third-annual pet supply drive—where donations are collected to benefit Pittsburgh’s three largest animal shelters: the Animal Rescue League, Animal Friends, and the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society. From standard needs like food and toys, to more practical requests such as office and cleaning supplies, all donations are tallied and distributed to best match each shelter’s wish list. As of last week, we collected enough money to sponsor a spay/neuter procedure at Animal Friends and delivered overflowing boxes of goodies to all three facilities.

As a proud owner of a shelter dog, I’ve wondered what his life was like “behind bars”—if he had a bed, or was cold at night, or was ever given a special treat for his very own. So in honor of Norman and the rest of the Akoya pets, please give your own pet an extra treat from us, and consider animal rescue for your next furry or feathered companion.