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24 nonprofit leaders of color named as 2022 Fellows by The John R. Oishei Foundation


Mon, Sep 26th 2022 07:00 am

Participants to attend Rockwood Leadership Institute’s Art of Leadership Program

The John R. Oishei Foundation has named its latest cohort of 24 nonprofit leaders of color to participate in the Karen Lee Spaulding Oishei Fellowship for Leaders of Color program. Those chosen as Fellows will attend the Rockwood Leadership Institute’s “Art of Leadership” program in October.

A press release said, “The Oishei Foundation began the program in 2019 as part of its focus on racial equity, and in response to a compelling need for nonprofit leadership cultivation – particularly among people of color in the Western New York Region. Last year, the foundation named the program in honor of Karen Lee Spaulding, former vice president of philanthropic support, as a tribute to her work in conceiving, developing and leading the leadership program prior to her retirement in 2021. Mark J. Scott, Ph.D., the foundation’s new vice president for philanthropic support, now manages the program.”

The leadership training program will be in-person after a two-year virtual approach due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The program, held at Beaver Hollow Resort and Conference Center, includes day-long sessions over five days at no cost to the participants.

The press release noted, “Interest in the program continues to be strong, with the greatest number of applications at over 100 this year, indicating a significant need in the Buffalo Niagara region for leadership development. Past participants have called the program ‘transformational’ and ‘life-changing.’

“As with the earlier cohorts, participants were asked to apply and were then thoughtfully vetted and chosen by the Rockwood Leadership Institute with a focus on creating a cohort of 24 fellows. They represent a broad cross-section of self-identified nonprofit professionals of color, including a diversity of gender, age, spiritual practice, types of organization, and professional experience. The 24 will join the current community of 71 Fellows, who share close bonds of friendship and collegiality, and who continue to strengthen their leadership practice together through ongoing professional development opportunities hosted through the program by the Oishei Foundation.”

Those chosen as Oishei Fellows include:

  • Alexis Webster, Community Relations Coordinator, Gerard Place
  • Angelica Hernandez, Housing Counselor, Belmont Housing Resources for WNY
  • Bobby Anderson, Founder and President, F BITES
  • Bradford Watts, Associate Vice President Community Relations and DEI, People, Inc.
  • Brittany Triggs, Senior Immigration Staff Attorney, ECBA Volunteer Lawyers Project Inc.
  • Dalia Caraballo Muller, Ph.D., Executive Director, The Impossible Project
  • Daphne Ross, Senior Director, Postsecondary Success and Communications, Say Yes Buffalo
  • David Hall, Area Director, Boys and Girls Club of Niagara Falls
  • Daysi Ball, Director, BFNC Hope Center, Buffalo Federation of Neighborhood Centers, Inc.
  • Denise Walden-Glenn, Executive Servant Leader/Director, VOICE Buffalo
  • Digna Saad, Executive Director, The Oneness Project
  • Kamalah Poles, EdD, Youth Director, Buffalo Center for Arts & Technology
  • Dwight Lowe, Executive Director, Home Beneath Our Feet, Inc.
  • Jasmine Fluker, Executive Director, Teach for America Buffalo
  • Jerrell Mason, Director of Community Engagement, BestSelf Behavioral Health
  • Kaamalal Robinson, Refugee Services Manager, Jewish Family Services of Western NY
  • Loc Tran, Community Garden Coordinator, Grassroots Gardens of Western New York
  • Marthe Limage, Homeless Outreach Case Manager, Heart, Love & Soul
  • Maxwell Anderson, Deputy Director, Open Buffalo
  • Nancy Abdelhaq, Executive Director, RAHAMA: Resources and Help Against Marital Abuse
  • Purnima Mohan, Food as Medicine Program Coordinator, Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus
  • Stephanie Rivera, Director of Student Success Program, Buffalo Prep
  • Tiffany Lewis, Founder & CEO, Confident Girl Mentoring Program
  • Tiffany Valentin, Diversity and Inclusion Project Manager, Evergreen Health

Scott said, “It is clear to me that the fellowship is far beyond a typical professional development program. The focus on personal as well as professional growth, combined with the immense connection between our past participants, is unique and builds on the strengths in communities of color, rather than a reliance on traditional, white networks.

“Now in its fourth year, we are beginning to see the growth and development of many in our earlier cohorts, which suggest the program is having an impact on developing future leaders of color in Western New York. It has been rewarding for me to hear about the significant shifts made by our Fellows in their personal and professional purpose, as well as the deep connections forged among them. At Oishei, we believe that focus on and investment in these individuals is an investment in our overall nonprofit sector, offering leaders who can share their lived experience, expertise, and perspective.”

The “Art of Leadership” “teaches critical personal and organizational leadership skills necessary for successful and sustainable leadership including powerful visioning, listening, speaking, presentation, coaching, collaboration, and feedback skills. In addition to participating in the retreat, each participant will undergo a 360-degree leadership assessment and receive a comprehensive workbook and electronic resource filled with tools and processes to use within their organizations.”

They will also be part of the 8,000-plus national and international members of Rockwood Community of Practice, which provides post-training learning opportunities through alumni gatherings and social media tools.

The press release said, “Selection criteria for the program included possessing personal and professional readiness to learn new leadership skills; an interest in participating in a rigorous learning experience; demonstrated commitment to improving the wellbeing of all people in the Buffalo Niagara region; representing a meaningful cross-section of nonprofit professional backgrounds, experiences and sectors; and representing a diversity of racial/ethnic communities.”

The John R. Oishei Foundation was established in 1940 by John R. Oishei, founder of Trico Products Corp.

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