Bringing positive change to a community is a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week job. This notion is universally embraced by all 37 members of the Greater Buffalo Racial Equity Roundtable, who are committed to advancing racial equity in our community. By partnering with 210 local organizations, the Roundtable looks to create opportunities for all to reach their full potential, recognizing this work requires a collaborative community effort.
In late 2016, the Roundtable released a report entitled The Racial Equity Dividend: Buffalo’s Great Opportunity. The report documents how systemic disparities in the Greater Buffalo region create differential outcomes by race and quantifies how our entire region will grow when we achieve racial equity. With leadership from the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, the Roundtable set forth an eight-point agenda to begin addressing racial equity disparities.
A few highlights of the Roundtable’s achievements are:
- The establishment of five coalitions, including the My Brother’s Keeper/ Boys and Young Men of Color Coalition, which attracted national attention for its work to advance the lives of young men of color. You can learn more about a newly created youth leadership council embedded at Say Yes Buffalo called Breaking Barriers here.
- By the end of 2017, more than 850 individuals representing 64 organizations had participated in the Racial Equity Impact Analysis training. The training educates organizations on how to insert a racial equity lens into their decision-making processes so that policies, practices and procedures benefit all racial/ethnic groups.
- The Roundtable joined the Buffalo Niagara Partnership and the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County to launch Employ Buffalo Niagara. This initiative will establish a workforce development system aligned with employer opportunities to create a strong, more inclusive workforce.
- In partnership with Erie County and with technical assistance from the U.S. Bureau of Justice Assistance through the Council of State Governments, the Roundtable’s Reentry Coalition commissioned a groundbreaking report that assessed the services and resources available in Erie County for the reentry population. The report provides a strategy to make improvements to the quality and delivery of reentry services that will begin implementation in 2018.
While everyone recognizes we have a long way to go, the work of the Racial Equity Roundtable is attracting significant local and national support in recognition of its progress. For example, in July of 2017, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation announced a major investment in Buffalo to advance racial equity through the Community Foundation. The investment was awarded in two parts. The first is a $1 million grant that will help fund the work of the Roundtable over the next five years. The second part of the investment is a $1 million endowment match to create a sustainable stream of funding for racial equity work. The W.K. Kellogg Foundation is matching private contributions dollar for dollar up to $1 million. This truly transformative, collaborative work happening right now in our community will accelerate shared prosperity for all of us for generations to come.