Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo

Gerard Place Will Be Cooking Up Opportunity For Community With $100,000 21st Century Fund Award

Apr 16, 2016 | Posted in News

Buffalo, NY – The 21st Century Fund, a giving circle open to anyone who wants to give back in Western New York, announces that its members voted to award a $100,000 grant to Gerard Place on April 13, 2016. The grant will be used to complete a $600,000 industrial kitchen renovation so Gerard Place can begin culinary arts training, as well as provide additional supports including employment services and childcare for residents in the 14215 zip code.

During the Final Vote event, members of the 21st Century Fund gathered to hear presentations from the final four organizations chosen by the members in March. The final four, narrowed from 27 applicants, included:Boys & Girls Clubs of Buffalo, Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens, Gerard Place and the Niagara Falls Boys & Girls Club.

Gerard Place provides transitional housing and supportive programs for homeless, single-parent families and currently assists 100 people daily through a program or service at its facility. The new kitchen will not only provide hands-on job training, but will also be used to prepare 4,500 meals a year for the childcare facility on-site and 5,000 meals per year for people in the community that cannot afford three meals per day.

“This grant provides more than money, it will provide opportunity to some of our city’s most underserved residents,” said David Zapfel, Gerard Place Executive Director. “We expect to enroll 100 students in our culinary school in the first year and part of that training includes helping them to find jobs. We are truly grateful to the 21st Century Fund members for choosing us as the 2016 grant award winner. The funds will make a big difference in the lives of hundreds of people in our community”

The 21st Century Fund is unique in that it makes philanthropy accessible to everyone. Members pay a one-time fee to join and come together every other year to vote on awarding a $100,000 grant to one deserving organization for a specific project that will benefit the community. The 2014 winner chosen by the members was Explore & More Children’s Museum.

“Our giving circle is a great way to introduce people to philanthropy and make an impact on the community,” said Cynthia Schwartz, 21st Century Fund Chair. “We are always accepting members and encourage anyone including families, school groups or organizations to learn more about our membership options. Once you are a member, you are a member for life, making this a fun, exciting and inspiring process that anyone can be a part of.”

The 21st Century Fund is a fund of the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo that was established in 1999. For more information about the 21st Century Fund and membership details,

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