Family Promise of Western New York Awarded $100,000 Grant at 21st Century Fund Voting Event

Buffalo, N.Y. – The Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo’s 21st Century Fund, a giving circle open to anyone who wants to give back in Western New York, announced that its members voted to award a $100,000 grant to Family Promise of Western New York on April 18, 2024. The grant will be used for critical pre-development planning to build a second family shelter to respond to increased homelessness in Erie County, more than doubling the number of families Family Promise can serve.

During the Final Vote event, members of the 21st Century Fund gathered at Roswell Park Comprehensive Care Center’s Hohn Auditorium to hear presentations from the final four organizations, also chosen by the members in March. The final four included: Buffalo Center for Arts and Technology; Family Promise of Western New York; Heart, Love & Soul; and The Tool Library.

With the 21st Century Fund grant, Family Promise of Western New York will kickstart its plans to build a second shelter facility, which will be a similar, small-scale family shelter model in the same neighborhood as their current shelter. The long-term impact will be that more families experiencing homelessness will find permanent housing and the current blockages within the shelter placement system are eased. The grant from the 21st Century Fund will fund the pre-development expenses needed to secure land, do environmental tests, create architectural drawings and pass zoning boards – all of which are needed in order to apply for capital funding for this build from New York State.

“This is amazing for our organization. We cannot do something as large as building a family shelter without the community behind us and the Community Foundation’s 21st Century Fund is such a great example of the community coming together to move forward such an important project. I am grateful to the 21st Century Fund members for seeing the urgency of this project and for helping us launch it,” said Luanne Firestone, Executive Director, Family Promise of Western New York.

The 21st Century Fund members make a one-time charitable contribution to become a lifetime member. Every other year, members come together to vote on awarding a $100,000 grant to one deserving organization for a specific project that will benefit the community. The 2022 winner chosen by the members was Mercy Flight Inc.

“The 21st Century Fund is a perfect example of how the Community Foundation connects people, ideas and resources to improve lives in Western New York,” said Betsy Constantine, President/CEO, Community Foundation. “Since the fund was established in 2000, we have awarded $1.2 million to the community through the generosity of our members, and with the Community Foundation’s stewardship and excellent investment returns, the Fund has grown to $1.8 million. This fund makes a meaningful impact on Western New York and is a great way to learn about worthwhile work happening across our community. We encourage anyone interested in becoming a lifetime member to contact us to learn more.”

The next 21st Century Fund grant application process will open again in fall 2025, and another $100,000 grant will be awarded in 2026. For more information about the 21st Century Fund and membership details, visit




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