Every December, about 2,500 middle and high school-aged youths in Western New York dress to the nines and hit the dance floor for a good cause. Even more incredible than this annual event is the woman behind it, Maria Love, the social work pioneer who started the Charity Ball more than 115 years ago. A prominent Buffalonian in the 19th century and early part of the 20th century who never married or had children, Maria Love spent her life giving back to others.
To support her convalescent respite care for mothers and their children, Maria organized a group of women in 1903 who, in turn, created the first Charity Ball. Today, the organization uses the proceeds from the Charity Ball to assist individuals who are residents of Erie County and have medical conditions by providing up to $300 that can be used for something simple, but life-changing, like a pair of eyeglasses or to cover time off from work for treatments at Roswell Park.
When it came to carrying on the legacy of Maria Love, the Fund’s Board sought a partner who shared a vision of improving lives in Western New York. By setting up an endowment at the Community Foundation using monies raised for its 110th anniversary, future leaders of the Board will have access to a sustainable source of funding to carry on the mission for generations to come.
“The Community Foundation just stood out,” said Jodi Osinski, past Treasurer of the Maria Love Convalescent Fund. “We now have access to excellent investment managers because we are aligned with the Community Foundation and the returns consistently outperform national benchmarks. The added benefits beyond the investment performance also impressed us including community expertise and the Community Foundation’s knowledge of planned giving. It is a win-win.”