One hundred years. One million dollars to celebrate.

Have you heard? In honor of our 100th anniversary in 2019, we are awarding $1 million to 12 local change makers who have made a difference in the lives of Western New Yorkers through a community-wide nomination process! The Centennials celebrate everything we stand for as an organization – focused forward.

Nominations are being accepted through March 22 for four different award categories:

  • The Community Award – This change maker saw the hidden potential in a place and took a leadership role to transform it.
  • The Cause Award – This change maker has dedicated time and passion to addressing a pressing issue facing our region.
  • The Champion Award – This change maker has made a meaningful change for a group of people.
  • The Up and Comer Award – This change maker is an emerging leader currently mobilizing action around a place, an issue or people.

Through March 22 at 4 p.m., individuals can nominate living change makers who have made an impact in the eight counties of Western New York (Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Niagara, Orleans and Wyoming). Nomination forms can be found online at or at your local public library.

Here is how the $1 million will be awarded:

  • Eight finalists will each grant $25,000 to a WNY nonprofit of their choice.
  • Four winners (one per category) will each be honored with $200,000: $100,000 to make a one-time grant to a WNY nonprofit and $100,000 to create an endowment that will allow them to make grants in their name forever.

Once the nomination process closes, all nominations will be reviewed and 12 finalists will be chosen by a Centennials Selection Committee. This distinguished group of community leaders represents what the Community Foundation has committed to as an organization – excellence, experience, racial and ethnic diversity, the arts and culture sector, education, the environment and our geographic footprint. The full list of selection committee members can be viewed at

Please think about someone you can nominate – and encourage your friends and family to do the same!  Winners of The Centennials will be announced in September.