Convened by the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo in 2015, today the Roundtable encompasses more than 350 community partners working together in coordinated ways to advance racial equity and achieve an expanded, inclusive economy.
The Roundtable has a 10-point strategic agenda to close racial equity gaps in our community. This work is intentionally focused on changing systems by changing policies, practices and procedures so that more residents will be able to live, work and raise their children to reach their highest potential.
Here are a few initiatives of the Roundtable that are driving systems change in our community.
- Business Leaders Task Force – The Business Leaders Task Force (BLTF) is comprised of 14 major employers who are collectively committed to finding ways to create more inclusive workplaces. A strategy of the BLTF, the Buffalo Purchasing Initiative (BPI) was formed in 2019 to leverage the employers’ collective demand to advance economic inclusion in the Buffalo region, help create jobs and employment opportunities for local residents within communities of color and expand purchasing opportunities with local businesses owned by people of color. Since the BPI pilot began, the participating businesses have reported a 100 percent increase in average annual spend with businesses of color in Western New York and have nearly tripled the number of business relationships with local businesses owned by people of color.
- Employ Buffalo Niagara – Employ Buffalo Niagara is the region’s largest employer-led talent initiative that is embedded at the Buffalo Niagara Partnership. Representing the current interests and needs of large and small businesses, and realizing that finding talent remains the top priority, Employ Buffalo Niagara offers multiple workforce development programs to encourage a more inclusive workforce pipeline.Through the Employ Buffalo Niagara initiative, in 2022, the Buffalo Niagara Partnership and the Atlanta Federal Reserve created a local Benefits Cliff Calculator. This tool was developed to bring awareness to employers regarding the thousands of hardworking employees in our community that are held back in progressing in their career by the benefits cliff – or the point at which they will lose necessary public benefits if they take a promotion or raise that is insufficient to replace the value of those benefits. The calculator is free and accessible, and was built using data from our community. Employers can plug in potential income increases and current benefits to better understand how employees and businesses can thrive by mitigating the benefits cliff through changes in their policies and practices.
- Reentry Coalition –The Reentry Coalition provides key support to improve outcomes for reentering citizens and puts them on a path to economic self-sufficiency. In 2020, the Service Link Stop was opened with 14 co-located reentry service providers to wrap comprehensive support around returning citizens and create pathways for their success. “If we can use the jail as an opportunity to create linkage to supports and services, then we can potentially affect the likelihood of whether or not people come back to jail,” said Tom Diina, who co-chairs the Reentry Coalition and also serves as Chief of Community Reintegration at the Erie County Sheriff’s Office, a position created in 2022.Click here to learn how Tom Diina, Chief of Community Reintegration, Erie County Sheriff’s Office, is helping to pave a path forward for reentering citizens.
- Boys and Young Men of Color Alignment –The Boys and Young Men of Color Alignment was created to increase academic achievement and job readiness for young men of color and to develop them as leaders and advocates for change to strengthen and ultimately improve life outcomes for their peers in the Greater Buffalo community.This Alignment created the Breaking Barriers Youth Leadership Council. “Breaking Barriers empowered me to become a young leader in my community,” said Malik Stubbs. “It has shown me that young men have to make a difference right now. Not wait until they are 18 or 25 or 30. The need in our community is here. And we need to be involved.”Click here to see how Malik Stubbs is amplifying youth voice in our community.
- Narrative Change Workgroup – In 2022, the Greater Buffalo Racial Equity Roundtable launched a new website to share updates and the impact of its work more effectively.
We encourage you to visit racialequitybuffalo.org to read more about all of the Roundtable’s initiatives.