2021 REPORT TO COMMUNIT Y
UNPRECEDENTED CRISIS, UNPRECEDENTED collaboration WN Y COV ID -19 COMMUNIT Y RESPONSE FUND There is strength in numbers – especially when an entire community unifies for the greater good. In 2020 we faced serious challenges, loss and uncertainty together. When the pandemic arrived at doorsteps in mid-March 2020, dozens of funders in Western New York joined forces quickly to respond to the rapidly changing needs in our community. Led by the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, The John R. Oishei Foundation, Health Foundation for Western and Central New York and the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County, a convening call was held on March 13, 2020, to assess the willingness to stage a coordinated and regional philanthropic response. There was a resounding “yes” and the WNY COVID-19 Community Response Fund was created. The Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation, Peter & Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation and the Western New York Foundation
joined in leading the effort that rapidly grew to include more than 60+ funding partners. Weekly calls were initiated to ensure the entire group was receiving up-to-the-minute information on needs in the community and to ensure the collective response was coordinated through a racial equity lens. What happened in rapid succession is testament to the collective generosity and willingness of hundreds of foundations, corporations and individuals to support our region through one of the darkest years in recent memory. The next few pages detail the Fund’s two simultaneous approaches to grantmaking to address the immediate needs in our community and fund solutions to long-term challenges exacerbated by the pandemic.
foundations, corporations and community leaders
granted through July 31, 2021 to support organizations serving all eight counties of WNY
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A DDRESSING B A SIC NEEDS The first priority when the WNY COVID-19 Community Response Fund launched was to ensure funds were distributed as efficiently and effectively as possible to organizations serving on the frontlines of responding to the crisis. Less than two weeks after publicly announcing the establishment of the WNY COVID-19 Community Response Fund, the collective group announced its first round of funding. In 2020 and 2021, there were four rounds of funding totaling more than $11.3 million that addressed immediate needs in our community in the areas of food, housing, healthcare, childcare, mental health, transportation and other emergency services.
Funding went to organizations serving residents throughout the 8 counties of Western New York. Grants were given at strategic times to fill gaps in emergency needs until public funding was available. Grants supported efforts that were directly helping families and individuals with everything from sourcing personal protective equipment to providing childcare for students in remote and hybrid learning centers to supporting mental health organizations that had a growing waiting list of clients who needed support. Grants ranged in size from $500 to $300,000.
April 8, 2020
April 29, 2020
May 28, 2020
February 11, 2021
$4.5 million to 74 organizations
$1 million to 35 organizations
Nearly $1 million to 47 organizations
$4.5 million to over 300 organizations
MICROGR A NTS While dispersing the immediate response grants, it became abundantly clear that grassroots organizations were also playing an important role during the COVID-19 crisis and needed a different level of support. Recognizing that, a team was convened in
Top needs covered:
each county to rapidly deploy resources to small urban and rural organizations to support needs ranging from stocking community food pantries to purchasing bus passes for families in need of transportation. Grants ranged in size from $500 - $2,500.
To see a full list of all the organizations that received grant funding in 2020 and 2021, please visit WNYResponds.org WN Y COVID -19 COMMUNIT Y RESPONSE FUND 2021 REPORT TO COMMUNIT Y | 3
Gratitude FROM GRANTEES
Mobile Food Market, Jamestown | “The grant from the WNY COVID-19 Response Fund was very helpful because we had nothing in our budget to address the need for pandemic supplies. The funding helped support a few efforts, some that may seem small to others but greatly impacted our operations.”
The Belle Center | “Frankly, I do not know how we could meet this critical need for our children without the support that we have received from the WNY Community COVID-19 Response Fund. The funds have been life savers for both the Belle and our children.”
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YWCA Niagara Frontier | “The YWCA of the Niagara Frontier staff adapted to serving the needs of our community in many ways with the support of a WNY COVID-19 Community Response Fund grant. Our school staff quickly adjusted planning summer care programs and sending virtual connections to the kids and Child Protective Services and local police, and District Attorney’s office liaison staff began checking in remotely with their clients. The safehouse staff has been taking care of a family and doing a lot of sanitizing and cleaning. And 19 families of women and children living at Carolyn’s House were given face masks and hand sanitizer.”
Rural Outreach Center | “ In the past year, many kids have been isolated from their friends and school environments. A grant from the WNY COVID-19 Community Response Fund allows The Rural Outreach Center (ROC) to provide kids with fun opportunities to grow and learn alongside their peers in a safe environment through programs such as The ROC Summer Enrichment Program.”
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Solutions FOR A BRIGHTER FUTURE MOVING FORWARD TOGETHER In June 2020, the WNY COVID-19 Community Response Fund decided to expand its response to the pandemic and look toward recovery by inviting stakeholders to strengthen key systems through new solutions. What has unfolded across the 8 counties of Western New York through Moving Forward Together is nothing short of inspiring. The Fund proactively convened four initiatives and also
issued a call to our community to share their best ideas to address long-standing issues through collaborative solutions. To date, the Fund has granted out $2.36 million to support 18 initiatives that encompass more than 612 partners. Understanding the long-term timeline to collectively address many of these initiatives, a group of funders has committed to continuing to support these efforts into 2022 and beyond.
PROAC TI V E INITI ATI V ES Strengthen the Food System Ensuring that everyone has access to good quality food — and that we support our local producers— has been a critical need during the COVID-19 crisis. As a communityfocused, regionally coordinated planning effort facilitated by the WNY Foundation, Food Future WNY was convened to strengthen our food system. SCALE, a national consulting group, is leading the effort that includes a diverse group of key stakeholders, including urban and rural farmers, distribution partners and key nonprofits on the front lines.
The SCALE team visits Gakwi:yo:h Farms and enjoys traditional mush made by Michael Snyder as he shares the Seneca Nation of Indians work to preserve its rich agricultural legacy.
Food Future WNY is working to build a more vibrant, resilient, equitable and prosperous food system. Learn more at FoodFutureWNY.org.
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Sourcing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Sourcing reliable and affordable vendors for PPE was a challenge at the start of the pandemic. By working with local nonprofit Visually Impaired Advancement (VIA), a coordinated effort was created to source and purchase PPE to ensure nonprofits had the equipment they needed to safely serve our community. In 2020, more than 100 nonprofits purchased reliable and affordable PPE through this effort.
Developing Public Policy The Fund awarded a grant to the Partnership for the Public Good to embark on a yearlong public policy and advocacy initiative. In partnership with the nonprofit sector, and with significant input from the community, this effort is focused on making changes to public policy at local and state levels to address the long-term impact of the COVID-19 crisis. For example, the team is advocating for permanent changes to expand telehealth coverage.
Achieving Digital Equity and Inclusion Our service delivery system completely changed during the pandemic to one that is far more reliant on virtual and electronic communications. The Fund convened an initiative, facilitated by the Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation, to bring together more than 35 organizations to collectively work on solutions to bridge the digital divide through equity and inclusion in both urban and rural areas of Western New York. The group has been focused on advocacy efforts including seeking community input as federal funding becomes available to support bridging the digital divide. Additionally, the group is working on an 8-county resource guide to provide helpful tools and connect groups working toward the same goal. Learn more at wnydigitalequity.org.
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ENCOUR AGING NEW IDE A S In June 2020, a Request for Ideas (RFI) process was launched to surface collaborative solutions from nonprofit leaders to address challenges our community is facing. The response exceeded all expectations and 14 grants were awarded encompassing 300 partners to plan and/or implement these solutions in a wide array of sectors.
RFI GR ANTEE SPOTLIGHT: Safeguarding Children of Arrested Parents in Buffalo/WNY
Police officers are in a unique position to reduce the potential trauma to children who are present during an arrest – a life-altering experience that may well be the worst day of their lives. The Osborne Association worked with community stakeholders, government agencies, area nonprofits and local law enforcement to assess community needs and develop child sensitive arrest policies. Osborne and the Buffalo Police Department are now working to train and support more than 750 officers and staff in these child-sensitive protocols. The project will also document the development and implementation of these trainings as a tool for ongoing technical assistance and to provide a model for other law enforcement agencies. RFI GR ANTEE SPOTLIGHT: WNY Refugee and Asylee Consortium
When the Moving Forward Together grant was awarded to the five agencies that comprise the Western New York Refugee and Asylee Consortium (WNYRAC) including: Catholic Charities of Buffalo; International Institute of Buffalo; Jericho Road Community Health Center; Jewish Family Services of Western New York; and Journey’s End Refugee Services, it reinvigorated a collaborative effort that was then prepared to respond together to receiving an anticipated 300 Afghan evacuees. Using the grant, the agencies are looking at service duplication, individual agency strengths, the creation of lead roles in specific programming, and agency sustainability to create a clearer and more sustainable set of services for the foreign born. RFI GR ANTEE SPOTLIGHT: Orleans Digital Literacy Educational Initiative
In 2020, the Orleans United Way formed the Orleans Digital Literacy Initiative to study community needs resulting from the lack of reliable, high-speed broadband internet service options in the county with funding from the WNY COVID-19 Community Response Fund. They learned that there were large gaps in internet availability, significant internet unreliability, economic barriers and general lack of technical skills across 10 towns and four villages. The Orleans United Way conducted focus groups to evaluate and prioritize solutions designed to largely improve digital literacy. A Community Mentors program was the first of 14 solutions developed to facilitate internet access and digital learning, providing more equitable programs and services within reach across the county. The Moving Forward Together grant is enabling the Orleans United Way to embed tech coaches and basic internet education programs into local nonprofit groups, libraries and community organizations. 8 | WN Y COVID -19 COMMUNIT Y RESPONSE FUND 2021 REPORT TO COMMUNIT Y
UNPRECEDENTED Generosity When the WNY COVID-19 Community Response Fund was created, the response from our community to support the effort was truly remarkable. In just the first two weeks, the Fund received approximately $5.5 million from local foundations, private sector companies and individuals. Donations have ranged from $10 to million-dollar gifts, all adding up to an incredible opportunity to support our community during the crisis in a coordinated way.
LEADING PARTNERS This group of funders has taken a leadership role in bringing together the funding community to stage, staff and see this collective effort through.
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FOUNDATIONS AND CORPORATIONS AAA Western and Central NY James & Kristin Allen Fund An Anonymous Family Fund at the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo Avangrid Foundation / NYSEG The Baird Foundation The Cameron and Jane Baird Foundation Bank of America Charitable Foundation Better Buffalo Fund Henry W. & Martha L. Bruner Philanthropic Fund Buffalo Bills Foundation Buffalo Sabres Foundation Bureau Veritas Consumer Product Services EJ and Karen Butler Tom and Pat Calpin Chautauqua Region Community Foundation Chautauqua County Crisis Response Fund: COVID-19 William & Ida Christie Fund for Music Citizens Bank Columbia Sportswear Fund at the Oregon Community Foundation Conable Family Foundation The Peter C. Cornell Trust C. Elizabeth Crump Cullen Foundation James H. Cummings Foundation D-B Trust Laurie Dann & Tom Hunt Heather J. DePaolo-Johnny Memorial Fund Paul P. Dosberg Charitable Fund East Hill Foundation The Paul and Helen Ellis Charitable Trust
Experian Information Solutions in honor of M&T Bank The Fisher Family Fund Gallogly Family Foundation Garman Family Foundation General Motors O. Richard Goldman Philanthropic Fund Joanne Champion Granger Fund Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of WNY Blue Fund John and Elizabeth Hulley JP Morgan Chase Marie S. & Frederic K. Houston Fund Hunt Charitable Foundation Ruth E. Huppuch Living Trust Nick Iannarelli Memorial Fund Independent Health D. Bruce and Gail Johnstone Fund D. Bruce and Gail Johnstone Philanthropic Fund Key Bank and First Niagara Foundation Kreher Family Fund Jeffrey C. and Cynthia M. Littmann Fund at the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, in Memory of Joseph L. Hudson Patrick P. Lee Foundation Grigg Lewis Foundation George and Teresa Lukis Family Fund M&T Bank Arlene and Ruth Mathews Fund Morton Salt National Fire Adjustment Company National Fuel Gas Foundation National Grid New York State Health Foundation Niagara Area Foundation Sandy and Margery Nobel
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The Papa Family Pinto Foundation Fund PwC Andrew Rampado Rodems Construction Co., Inc. Rotary Foundation of Amherst East Rowboat Family Foundation Rupp Family Foundation Sandhill Investments Mr. Robert A. Scharf and Dr. Lawrence Van Heusen Sherwood Family Fund S & J Schwartz Fund SJM3 Fund Simple Gifts Fund Southwest Airlines Gerould R. Stange Fund Stockton Family Fund Sullivan Family Foundation The Gary & Katharina Szakmary Fund Tobin/Filvaroff Family Endowment Peter and Elizabeth C Tower Foundation UPS Utica National Insurance Vogt Family Foundation Warzala Family Charitable Fund Watson Billings Family Foundation Wegmans George Weiss Revocable Trust The Weissman Family Foundation The Margaret L. Wendt Foundation Western New York Foundation Williamsville East High School Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation Trustee Designated and Matching Grants Program Zemsky Family Foundation
COMMUNITY LEADERS In late April 2020, Michael W. Cropp, M.D., President & CEO of Independent Health led an effort to encourage community leaders to support the WNY COVID-19 Community Response Fund. The following donors collectively contributed more than $400,000 to the Fund.
Stuart and Joyce Angert David Bauer John Berger Don Boswell Bob and Mary Ann Budin Patricia and David Clabeaux Warren Colville John and Nicole Connelly Michael W. Cropp, M.D. Adrian F. & Clotilde PerezBode Dedecker In honor of Charles G. Duffy Jr. and Virginia Leahy Duffy John Mineo and Vicki Feine Jay Gershberg Bill and Mary Gisel Cheryl Jankowski, CPA Bruce and Gail Johnstone Bill Lawley Mike Lawley Judy Jack Lewis and Larry Lewis Jeffrey C. and Cynthia M. Littmann Lisa M. Mendonza, M.D. Carl Montante, Sr.
Carl Montante, Jr. Michael Montante Laura Montante-Zaepfel Kathleen M. Mylotte, M.D. William Paladino Ann Pentkowski John and Maria Pieroni TJ Revelas Roberta and Noah Rifkin Chris Ross MacKenzie Scott Seneca Diabetes Foundation Dr. Zvi Sharf Patricia Smith Anthony Spada, Jr. Paul Tesluk Michael Vitch Ted and Ginna Walsh Daniel Weintraub Mary Wilson Bruce Wisbaum Margaret and Bob Zak Larry and Leslie Zielinski
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INDIVIDUAL DONORS Joshua Acker
James Biddle Jr.
Mary Lou Burger
Frances M. & Richard R. Carpenter
Grantee Thank You Note: “During COVID, donations of personal hygiene and cleaning supplies decreased, as the supply of these products were depleted in the community. This created an increased need for UCAN to find these items for our residents. Helping to meet all of these needs was made possible through a generous grant from WNY COVID-19 Community Response Fund.” – Nicole Drozdiel, UCAN City Mission, Jamestown
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Rachael Carson Michael Cartwright Patrick Cary Lynn Casarsa Chad Casey
Derek & Jennifer Daniels
Thurston & Joanne Gilman
Gerald Feuerstein Jr.
Carrie and David Frank
J Michael Elkan
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Ed & Karen Healy
Bruce and Gail Johnstone
Barbara W. Henderson
Todd M. Joseph and Barbara J. Ostfeld
Thomas C. Hunt & Laurie Dann
Steven Kalicharan Dale Kamholz Chelsea Kanaley Jared Karbowski Dale Karcher Karin Kasza Michelle Kavanaugh Patrick Kearns Dinee Kellerman Kathy Kelley David Kelly Sara Kensinger Matthew Kenworthy Michael Kern Russell Kerr Amy Kimmel Brett Kinney Adam Kinsella Joseph Kleinmann Gina and Robert Klick Nicole Kmicinski Michael Kochmanski
Grantee Thank You Note: “Because of your funding to Saving Grace Outreach in Cattaraugus, we have been able to provide additional protein and canned goods to our drive-through food pantries. The grant filled the gaps where other funding and resources fell short. We would not have been able to provide these resources to our community without you!” – Elizabeth O’Neill, Saving Grace Outreach
Rosalind Kochmanski Ryan Koczaja Jay Koenig John Kompson Jon Kraden Michael Kraitsik
William Lane Donna Laplant Molly Laragy Dertinger Kyle Larkin Ronald Joseph Later Jr. Zachary Laumer Jacqueline Lavarnway Mark Lawler Justin Leathers Claudia Lee Michael Lee Barbara Leggett Dennis Lesniak Christopher Leuer Jill Levin Peter Levin Evan Lewis Todd Lewis Dan Leyh Kenneth Li Frank Limeri Steven Litteer Martin Littlefield Jim Locke Brian Loliger Joan Loring A.J. Losey Lynette Lott James Louisos Benjamin Lucas
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Timothy McKillen Jr
Mary Ann Miano
Kate and Tony Masiello
Cynthia and Theodore Moran
Brian McCandless Megan McCormack Sean McDonough Addison McGinnis John McGowan Patrick McGrath Mark Mcguire Scott McKay Mandy McKeehan
Michael Moran Barbara Mordino Kathleen Moriarity Jeff Moro Kevin Muffler Michael Mullaney Jacob Mullen Ryan Munson
Grantee Thank You Note: “Thank you so much. Love INC of the Greater Gowanda Area has been able to transport so many clients in need in our community, visits to doctors and grocery stores especially. We have also delivered food and supplies to many affected by this pandemic. We have used this funding for fuel needs for our vehicles. Thank you from the bottom of our community’s heart. ” – Love INC Gowanda Joe Murphy
Michael and Susan ParkerBobseine
Blair Novotny Michael Nunn Will Oakley Courtney O’Brien Sarah O’Brien Joshua O’Brochta Patrick Occhiuto Lynn O’Connor Patricia Olender Sherri Oliver Lisa Olszak Zumstein William O’Neil Susan Ormsby James Overdorf
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Joseph Parry David Pascual Philip Passafiume Evan Pease Joseph Pelonero Linda Pelz Philip Penepent Robert Perno Brian Perry Leanne Peruzzini John Petrocelli Lisa Petronio Pennie Phillipp
Deveda A Schleyer
Charles and Margaret Skelton
Jim & Kathy Schwinger
Donald J Scoma
Rob and Aggie Plunkett
Donna and John Rosinski
Linda San George
Ms. Sanders and Mr. Lewis
Grantee Thank You Note:
“St. Luke’s Mission of Mercy in Buffalo saw a staggering increase in demand for food for the low-income, homeless, elderly, disabled and families during the pandemic, with a 300 percent increase in those needing food. With the generous help of the WNY COVID-19 Community Response Fund, St. Luke’s Mission is able to continue serving two meals per day on a grab-and-go basis.”
– St. Luke’s Mission of Mercy |
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L A Titran
Ashok Subramanian and Larissa Shahmatova
Scott Van Alstyne
Marisa Wigglesworth and Edmund B. Bayruns
Michelle Sydlo Robert Szymanski Sean Tandy Joe Tartaro Thomas Tempeny Jessica Templeton Jim Templeton Victoria Tenge Maria Testa
Sam Veglia Evanette Veira Eric Vetter
John Zelasko Joseph Zolnowski
As part of the WNY COVID-19 Community Response Fund partnership, the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County received contributions from over 1,900 individuals from March to June 2020, listed on these pages. Grantee Thank You Note: “Thanks to the WNY COVID-19 Community Response Fund, Harvest House has been able to continue to provide integrated and inclusive medical and dental care and support services to underserved and marginalized communities in Buffalo.” – Carol Murphy, President, Harvest House
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WN Y RESPONDS.ORG