Community Foundation’s Centennial Award Finalists and Endowment Winners Announce Grants

BUFFALO, N.Y. – The Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo has helped ignite change in Western New York alongside its clients for 100 years. To mark this first century of giving, the Community Foundation created the Centennial Awards to recognize 12 change makers making a difference in Western New York. They were honored with a total of $1 million and today, the Community Foundation is excited to announce the organizations that they have decided to make grants to totaling $600,000.

Eight finalists were honored with $25,000 each to make a one-time grant to a Western New York nonprofit of their choice. Four endowment winners were honored with $100,000 to make a one-time grant and an additional $100,000 to set up an endowment at the Community Foundation to make grants in their name, forever. One of the finalists, Karen Nicolson, chose to use her $25,000 to create an endowment to benefit the Center for Elder Law and Justice.

The Cause Award – This change maker has dedicated time and passion to addressing a pressing issue facing our region.

The Cause Award Endowment Winner:

James Giles awarded his grant of $100,000 to Back to Basics Outreach Ministries.

The Cause Award Finalists:

Jill Jedlicka awarded her $25,000 grant to Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper.

Karen Nicolson created an endowment with her $25,0000 grant to benefit the Center for Elder Law and Justice.

The Champion Award – This change maker has made a meaningful change for a group of people.

The Champion Award Endowment Winner:

Diann Takens awarded her grant of $100,000 to Peace of the City.

The Champion Award Finalists:

Michael Martin awarded his $25,000 grant to Native American Community Services of Erie and Niagara Counties.

Marixsa Sanchez-Feliciano awarded her $25,000 grant to Buffalo Prenatal Perinatal Network.

The Community Award – This change maker saw the hidden potential in a place and took a leadership role to transform it.

The Community Award Endowment Winner:

David Zapfel awarded his $100,000 grant to Gerard Place. 

The Community Award Finalists:

Fajri Ansari awarded his $25,000 grant to Masjid NuMan.

Jessica Bauer Walker awarded her $25,000 grant to CoNECT—Community Network for Engagement, Connection, and Transformation.

The Up and Comer Award – This change maker is an emerging leader currently mobilizing action around a place, an issue or people.

The Up & Comer Award Endowment Winner:

Kelly Diane Galloway awarded her $100,000 grant to Mona’s House.

The Up & Comer Award Finalists:

Dawne Hoeg awarded her $25,000 grant to Stitch Buffalo.

Megan McNally awarded her $25,000 grant to The Foundry.

The Community Foundation received over 500 nominations for the Centennial Awards through a community-wide process announced in January. The 12 finalists and winners were announced at an event in September. These individuals, who exemplify what it means to ignite hope and possibility for the future, were honored with a total of $1 million.

These grants will impact all eight counties of Western New York and support a wide range of efforts, including helping refugee women earn a wage, improving racial equity and building deeper understanding of the Native people, and helping women to escape human trafficking. Learn more about all 12 change makers at


About the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo

Celebrating its centennial year in 2019, the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo was established in 1919 to enhance and encourage 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. For 100 years 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