Buffalo, N.Y. — The Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo is pleased to announce that two local leaders have joined its Board of Directors. New members include: David Blesy, CPA, and Luis Rodriguez, CEO of Rodriguez Construction Group. With extensive community leadership backgrounds, Mr. Blesy and Mr. Rodriguez bring unique expertise to the Board of Directors to assist the Community Foundation with its mission of connecting people, ideas and resources to improve lives in Western New York.
Newly Appointed Community Foundation Board Members:
David J. Blesy is a certified public accountant and the founder of Blesy & Associates, a CPA firm providing tax and financial planning services for corporate executives and high net worth individuals. In October 2019, he merged Blesy & Associates into Szymkowiak & Associates, a Williamsville CPA firm. His professional affiliations include prior member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants (NYSSCPA), Estate Analysts of Western New York (past president) and Financial Planning Counselors. He has served on numerous community boards including Fox Run Orchard Park. Mr. Blesy received his Bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York at Albany.
Luis Rodriguez is the CEO of Rodriguez Construction Group, a commercial construction company. Previously, he spent 10 years working as a construction manager in Western New York, managing the renovations and preservations of local high schools and grammar schools as part of a billion-dollar Buffalo Public Schools project. He also managed Erie County Medical Center’s $200 million campus renovation projects from 2010-2016. An active community member, he is currently serving as a Board member with Buffalo Prep (Chair), St. Joseph Collegiate Institute, Amherst Chamber, Roswell Park Alliance Foundation and the Construction Exchange. Mr. Rodriguez earned his Bachelor’s degree from Clarkson University.
Staff Title Changes:
Ba Zan Lin, Associate Vice President, Community Impact.
Lin joined the Community Foundation team in 2017. His 10 years of experience with various nonprofit organizations in Western New York positioned him well to support the Community Foundation’s community impact work in our region. In this role, he manages a portfolio of grantmaking programs focused on the goals of advancing education, racial/ethnic equity, the environment and arts and architecture. His responsibilities cover oversight of various grant processes and philanthropic service relationships, including management of the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Legacy Funds grantmaking and several parks and trails projects. In addition, he will manage the Community Foundation’s scholarship process.
Darren Penoyer, Director, Community Impact.
Darren joined the Community Foundation team in 2008 and is a key contributor in advancing the Community Foundation’s four community goals of: improving educational achievement for individuals living in low-income households; increasing racial/ethnic equity; protecting and restoring significant environmental resources and promoting equitable access; and strengthening the region as a center for architecture, arts, and culture. Darren’s role includes grantmaking responsibility for the Niagara Area Foundation, the Wyoming Foundation and the Fund for the Arts leadership initiative.
Gingle Lee, Knowledge Management Officer.
Gingle joined the Community Foundation team in 2019. In this role, she analyzes and reports critical community information and data related to Community Foundation initiatives. She also provides analyses to Community Foundation partners to allow them to solve community problems through evidence-based decision-making. Her extensive research experience has allowed the Community Foundation and its clients to stay abreast of the state of the region, access national best practices to inform its pandemic response and monitor its impact on the Foundation’s community goals.
Officers of the Community Foundation Board of Directors include: Melissa G. Baumgart, Chair; Hon. Rose H. Sconiers, Chair-Elect; Alex Montante, Vice Chair; Steve Finch, Vice Chair; Lawrence C. Franco, Esq., Secretary; and Cheryl Jankowski, Treasurer.
Other members of the Community Foundation Board of Directors include Tamara O. Alsace, Ph.D., Molly Anderson (ex-officio), Jennifer Chalmers Balbach, Gary Crosby, Bonita R. Durand, Ph.D., Dottie Gallagher, Allen “Pete” Grum, Owen Herne, Esq., Alice Jacobs, JD, Jeffrey H. Katz, Esq., Hal D. Payne, Amy Habib Rittling, Esq., John F. Somers and John N. Walsh, III.
About the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo
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.