WNY COVID-19 Community Response Fund Build Back Better (B3) Initiative

Addressing fundamental systemic issues that have arisen from, been exacerbated by, or are in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 The impact of COVID-19, coupled with the persistent challenges to racial equity, has been felt across multiple systems in the WNY region. Systems intended to support community needs (such as food access, childcare, housing, and elder services) have been stretched beyond their capacity. The WNY COVID-19 Community Response Fund is now moving to support the region’s longer-term recovery, with a Build Back Better (B3) initiative. The purpose of B3 is to support innovative solutions from and for the nonprofit sector as it strives to continue to serve the needs of this region.

***If you would like to review the materials from the information sessions on June 24 and 26, 2020, please scroll down to the tab that says Information Session Documents.***

How to Apply

Applications must be submitted online through the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo’s Foundant grant portal.

Grant Opportunity

B3 will focus on identifying and supporting innovative solutions developed by the nonprofit community in three phases:

  • Phase 1—Request for Ideas (RFI): The WNY COVID-19 Community Response Fund is releasing an RFI to solicit visionary concepts from nonprofit leaders which have the potential to improve the quality of life for people living in WNY. Concepts will describe an innovative approach to address systemic issues which impact the WNY community and which no one nonprofit, private, or public entity could solve independently.

RFI responses may include innovations that require planning or plans that are ready for piloting, and submissions should take into account the following guiding principles:

    • Racial Equity
    • Equity for Vulnerable Populations
    • Regional Approach—Where Applicable
    • Alignment with Social Determinants of Health—Where Applicable
    • Trauma-Informed Care Principles
    • Inclusion of Human-Centered Design
    • Nonprofit-Led Cross-Sector Collaboration (Some combination of cross-sector engagement—Public, private, nonprofit at minimum on planning team.)
    • Leading to Systems Change
    • Public Policy Component—Where Applicable
  • Phase 2—Planning or Piloting: Grants will be awarded to a selected group of concepts for planning or piloting innovation. These grants will support the development of plans or pilots for addressing challenges per the guiding principles.
  • Phase 3–Implementation and Change: Selected plans or pilots from Phase 2 will be eligible for implementation grants based on available funding.


Phase 1: RFI

  • RFI Application Opens: Thursday, June 18, 2020
  • RFI Application Due: Friday, July 31, 2020, at 3 p.m. (no exceptions)
  • NOTE: Applications in draft form after the deadline will be considered abandoned and will not be eligible to be considered.
  • Notification of Planning or Piloting Grants Decision: Late August/Early September 2020

Phase 2: Selected Concepts Move to Full Proposal Development

  • Full-Proposals Due: By End of October 2020

Phase 3: Implementation Grants Awarded

  • Full Proposals Reviewed & Implementation Grants Awarded: November/December 2020


  • The RFI is intended to support innovative solutions; B3 will not consider funding concepts that:
    • Close immediate service gaps.
    • Address the needs of individual nonprofit organizations.
    • Improve healthcare infrastructure.
  • Applicants must be located in or serving one of the eight counties of Western New York: Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Niagara, Orleans, and Wyoming.
  • Grants are awarded only to organizations that have a current Section 501(c)(3) status as determined by the Internal Revenue Service.

Information Session Documents

Information sessions took place in late June for interested organizations.

  • Click here to see the PowerPoint presentation that was used in both sessions.
  • Click here to see the participating organizations.
  • Click here to watch the RFI Information session webinar.
  • Click here to view frequently asked questions.

Read the Full RFI

Please click here to download the Request for Ideas.

Frequently Asked Questions

Please click here to view frequently asked questions about the RFI and the answers.


For questions about the RFI application process or technical assistance, please contact Sira Faye at siraf@cfgb.org.