The Buffalo Together Community Response Fund, established in the wake of the mass shooting at the Tops Market on Jefferson Avenue earlier this month, will begin to distribute initial support to 70 Black-led organizations that have “a meaningful and long-term presence in the community, and that are working on the front lines to address urgent community need in the aftermath of the tragedy.” Approximately $560,000 in grants ranging from $5,000 to $20,000 will begin to be distributed in the coming days.
To date, $3 million has been committed from nearly 50 local and national foundations and corporations, as well as more than 1,100 individuals from all over the country who have donated online or mailed in checks. To see the full list of corporations and foundations who have committed support to date, visit www.BuffaloTogetherFund.org.
Three general areas of support have been identified for the Buffalo Together Fund including providing important support with a focus on Black-led organizations that are working directly in the community; ensuring availability of mental health services; and addressing longer-term, systemic issues of racial justice. The fund is meant to complement other fundraising efforts that are focused specifically on funeral expenses and support for those directly impacted by the shooting.
The initial phase has begun with the identification of 70 organizations supporting efforts in the Jefferson community to address needs. Organizations were identified with the assistance of community representatives, elected officials, and the funders’ existing networks.
The grantees are:
The Buffalo Together Fund is a collaboration of 15 local funders coordinated by the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo and United Way of Buffalo & Erie County. A press release stated, “It was built upon a collective desire to address urgent needs in our community, long-term community rebuilding, and systemic issues that have marginalized communities of color. While still in the early stages of development, the group will listen, learn and engage with the Black community to develop specific guiding principles and processes for directing the fund's resources for additional phases of the fund’s work.”
Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo President and CEO Clotilde Perez-Bode Dedecker said, “There was a collective desire by the funding community to come together to support our Jefferson community in the wake of this horrific, racially motivated hate crime, and we recognized that our first priority was to start with support for Black-led organizations that are on the frontlines serving critical needs, often with unequitable resources. We are committed to engaging with the community going forward to address long-term rebuilding.”
United Way of Buffalo & Erie County President and CEO Michael Weiner said, “Convening partners and activating resources in the face of community crisis is what United Way was built to do. These initial investments are the first step in a community-led process of listening, learning and rebuilding, made possible by an outpouring of generous support from our community.”
The press release added, “Understanding the need for collaboration in responding to a crisis, many of the partners in Buffalo Together Fund worked together on the WNY COVID-19 Community Response Fund that awarded more than $14.2 million to 400-plus nonprofit organizations to address the pandemic. Many are also part of a funding collaborative supporting East Side Avenues with an $8 million fund for capacity building, training and other supports. This unique partnership of private and philanthropic organizations was created to complement $65 million in New York state investment in revitalization work in four commercial corridors on Buffalo’s east side.”
The Buffalo Together Fund is accepting continued donations at www.BuffaloTogetherFund.org.
For more than a century, the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo has enhanced and encouraged long-term philanthropy in the Western New York community. A 501 (c)(3) organization, the Community Foundation’s mission is: Connecting people, ideas and resources to improve lives in Western New York. Established in 1919, the Community Foundation has made the most of the generosity of individuals, families, foundations and organizations who entrust charitable assets to the Community Foundation’s care. Learn more at cfgb.org.
For over 105 years, United Way of Buffalo & Erie County has fought to improve the health, education and financial stability of every person in this community. By forging unlikely partnerships, finding new solutions to old problems, and mobilizing the best resources, it inspires individuals to join the fight against their community’s most daunting social crises. Learn more at uwbec.org.