Message from the President

It has truly been a memorable year-long celebration, a century in the making, as the Community Foundation marks 100 years of improving lives in Western New York. Culminating with a special event at Kleinhans Music Hall, we honored 12 local change makers who exemplify what it means to ignite transformative change in Western New York. You can learn about all of the finalists, and the four endowment winners, who will make grants in their name forever, at

We greatly appreciate the support of our community as many local landmarks, including City Hall, the Electric Tower, Oishei Children’s Hospital, Buffalo General Hospital and even Niagara Falls, lit up in blue and orange in honor our first century of service.

As we focus on advancing our vision of a vibrant and inclusive Greater Buffalo region with opportunity for all, we are keenly aware that we do it together, with each of you – our clients and community partners – and standing on the shoulders of those who came before us. We see infinite potential for the next 100 years and beyond.

On behalf of our clients, the Community Foundation remains steadfast in its commitment to leading change through partnerships. We are honored to share the following highlights:

The effort to protect children from lead poisoning took another step forward as the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, the City of Buffalo, Erie County, and the Buffalo and Erie County Lead Safe Task Force provided a progress update on a collaborative effort to protect children from lead poisoning. As part of this progress update, the partners unveiled an upcoming public education campaign entitled “Get Ahead of Lead,” which was co-designed by landlords. The campaign includes a website, now live at, along with several community engagement tools and activities that are scheduled for official rollout next spring when renovation work picks up again. What makes this campaign unique is the use of human-centered design in its development, meaning that the intended audience of landlords was included in the input and feedback during every step of development.

  • The Communities of Giving Legacy Initiative (CGLI) hosted the annual Pay It Forward Awards on Nov. 7. This year’s award recipients included the following trailblazers:
    • Herbert Bellamy Jr. – CEO of Bellamy Enterprises and Buffalo’s Black Achievers, Inc.
    • Willie Hutch Jones Educational and Sports Program
    • Brenda W. McDuffie – President and CEO of the Buffalo Urban League, Inc.
    • Karen Lee Spaulding – Vice President of Philanthropic Support, The John R. Oishei Foundation

In November, the Greater Buffalo Racial Equity Roundtable hosted more than a hundred of its partners at an engaging networking event to recognize their collective work at Explore & More, the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Children’s Museum. Attendees spent time sharing the highlights of their coalitions with each other while exploring the exhibits. The evening welcomed the W.K. Kellogg Foundation team, which has been a key partner in this work of ensuring a more inclusive Greater Buffalo region.

Additional highlights follow, featuring our work in the arts and culture sector, and we will also share the story of the Maria Love Convalescent Fund, and how Maria Love’s motherly love lives on today.

As always, we remain thankful to our generous clients and hundreds of collaborative partners as we continue connecting people, ideas and resources to improve lives in Western New York.

Focused forward with gratitude,

Clotilde Perez-Bode Dedecker