A newsmaker you should know: Communications director looking to give back in new role

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Anyone who knows Bob DeWitt knows how important his faith is to him.

So it probably doesn't come as a surprise that Mr. DeWitt feels his new position as the director of administration and communications for "Our Campaign for the Church Alive!" -- the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh's $125 million fundraising campaign -- is the perfect job.

"I know it sounds cliché, but I really feel like I was led by God to this new role in my life," he said.

Mr. DeWitt, of Ross, has worked as a "storyteller" by his own words, for his entire professional career.

"I started telling the stories when I finished college and I was on the radio," said Mr. DeWitt. With a degree in mass communications from St. Bonaventure University, he worked at a several radio stations before he came to Pittsburgh in 1997 to serve as the news director for KDKA radio.

In 1999, Mr. DeWitt left broadcast journalism to "tell the story from the inside out," when he became director of communications for the United Way of Allegheny County.

Mr. DeWitt also worked with the Boy Scouts of America Greater Pittsburgh Council and with Roberts Public Relations before accepting his new position in December.

"I was very happy at Roberts and having a lot of fun there," said Mr. DeWitt, explaining that he wasn't looking for a new job when, as he puts it, "faith intervened."

As part of his ministry to his faith, Mr. DeWitt has provided free career counseling to others for over 20 years. When he was assisting one of his students, he reached out to set up a networking meeting and "shocked" the person he called.

"He said that they were just having a conversation about me and figuring out how to contact me when I called not more than a half-hour later," he said.

It turned out Mr. DeWitt's name had come up in reference to a new position with the Catholic Diocese, one to help lead a new capital campaign.

According to a press release from the diocese, the campaign was launched mid-December and is billed as a "historic fundraising drive" with a goal of raising $125 million through the 204 parishes in Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Greene, Lawrence and Washington counties.

"The money will be used for extraordinary needs of the church -- for needs at the parish level and the diocese level," Mr. DeWitt said.

This will include, but not be limited to, money for seminary education and training, religious education, technology in the schools, parishes in need and care for retired priests. Mr. DeWitt said money will also help fund projects through Catholic Charities, including emergency financial aid, support for single mothers in need and the Catholic Charities Free Health Care Center.

In his role, Mr. DeWitt will help to communicate the purpose and role of the Our Campaign for the Church Alive! to members of the Catholic community and general public.

"For me, it is the chance to use the gifts that God gave me in a professional role," he said.

"I feel called to this work. There is no more important work that the work of the church and this is one way that I can help get the word out. The Catholic Church has been doing wonderful work for over 2,000 years -- I can help tell our story," Mr. DeWitt said.


Kathleen Ganster, freelance writer: suburbanliving@post-gazette.com.


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