The Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo has helped ignite change in Western New York alongside our clients for 100 years. To mark this milestone, we will grant $1 million in awards to honor local change makers who have made a difference in the lives of Western New Yorkers.
Our four award categories celebrate change makers and how they positively impact people and places in our community. The Community Foundation will award $1 million in honor of 12 local change makers in September 2019.
Nominations are closed.
The Community Award
The Community Award
The Cause Award
The Cause Award
The Champion Award
The Champion Award
The Up and comer Award
The Up and comer Award
Eight finalists will each grant $25,000 to a Western New York nonprofit organization of their choosing. Four winners (one per category) will each be honored with $200,000: $100,000 for a one-time grant to a Western New York nonprofit of their choice and an additional $100,000 to create an endowment at the Community Foundation to make grants in their name forever.
Terms & Conditions
Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo Centennial Awards – Terms & Conditions
1. Rules: These official rules (the “Rules”) govern the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo Centennial Awards (the “Centennials”). NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A PURCHASE OF ANY KIND, OR A CONTRIBUTION OR DONATION, WILL NOT INCREASE THE CHANCES OF BEING SELECTED AS AN AWARDEE. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
2. Sponsor: The Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, Inc. (the “Community Foundation”) is the Centennials sponsor.
3. Overview: The Centennials is a recognition program that will honor 12 individuals who have positively impacted the eight counties of Western New York (Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Niagara, Orleans, and Wyoming). Awards will be given in four categories: the Community Award, the Cause Award, the Champion Award, and the Up and Comer Award. Centennials awardees will be announced on September 24, 2019 (the “Centennial Awards Date”). The Community Foundation will convene a selection committee composed of community representatives and leaders (the “Selection Committee”). The Selection Committee will select the 12 awardees.
4. Award Categories: Three awardees will be selected in each of four award categories, for a total of twelve awards. In each category there will be a primary award, and two secondary awards. The categories are:
This individual saw the hidden potential in a place and took a leadership role to transform it. Through their actions, they changed hearts and minds to make a greater impact in a specific place and in turn, lifted up the entire Western New York community.
This individual dedicated countless time and harnessed their passion to address a pressing issue facing our region. As a mover and a shaker, this person unified different voices to create solutions to move the cause forward and transform our community.
This individual has made a meaningful change for a group of people to ensure equitable access to information and opportunities that helped them realize their full potential. By breaking down barriers, there has been a measureable change in their quality of life, which has led to a stronger, more successful community.
Up and Comer Award
This individual is an emerging leader who is currently mobilizing action around a place, issue or people to initiate positive, long-lasting change for the Western New York community.
5. Nomination: Individuals may nominate themselves or other individuals as nominees. Nominations must be made for a specific category. Nominations will be accepted starting on February 11, 2019, with the nomination period closing on March 22, 2019 (the “Closing Date”). Nominations must be made either a) electronically at the Centennials website, centennialawards.org (the “Centennials Website”); or b) using the official Centennials paper nomination form, available at public libraries throughout Western New York. Electronic nominations must be received by 4:00 p.m. on the Closing Date. Paper nomination forms must be mailed to: Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, Larkin at Exchange, 726 Exchange St., Suite 525, Buffalo, NY 14210, and postmarked by the Closing Date. All nomination forms must be signed by the nominator, attesting that the “Information submitted is accurate to the best knowledge of the nominator.” Incomplete or unsigned nomination forms will not be accepted, and the Community Foundation has no obligation to notify a nominator that the nomination is incomplete or unsigned. Nominations may not be made anonymously, and nominators agree that they may be contacted by the Community Foundation, members of the Selection Committee, or other representatives or designees of the Community Foundation to discuss the nomination. The Community Foundation, members of the Selection Committee, or other representatives or designees of the Community Foundation may contact nominees to notify the individual of the nomination and to conduct further verification, including background checks and interviews, but not all nominees will be contacted or notified of the nomination.
6. Eligibility: Nominees must be at least 18 years of age or older at the time of nomination, and living on the Centennial Awards Date. All nominations are subject to verification by the Community Foundation, members of the Selection Committee, or other representatives or designees of the Community Foundation. Community Foundation employees, officers, and directors; members of the Selection Committee; and members of all such individuals’ immediate families (whether biological, adoptive, step, or in-law) or those persons living in the same household of such individuals are ineligible to be nominated for, or selected for, an award. All federal, state, and local laws and regulations apply.
7. Participation: By participating in the Centennials, each nominator and nominee fully and unconditionally accepts and agrees to be bound by these Rules and the decisions of the Community Foundation and the Selection Committee, which are final and binding in all matters related to the Centennials.
8. Award Amounts: NO CASH OR OTHER PRIZES WILL BE GIVEN TO THE AWARDEES. THE AWARD IS NOT A CASH AWARD. The primary award is the right to recommend to the Community Foundation to make a $100,000 grant to one charitable organization in Western New York that qualifies as tax exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code (“Charitable Organization”), and the right to recommend to the Community Foundation the creation of a permanent endowment fund in the amount of $100,000 at the Community Foundation for the benefit of one or more Charitable Organizations or charitable purposes. The secondary award is the right to recommend to the Community Foundation to make a $25,000 grant to one Charitable Organization in Western New York. The ultimate determination of the recipient Charitable Organizations and the amount and the manner of distribution resides with the Board of Directors of the Community Foundation in accordance with its policies and governing law.
9. Notification and Publicity: In order to have his or her nomination considered, any nominee who is contacted by the Community Foundation for further verification must agree to sign a publicity agreement with the Community Foundation, granting the Community Foundation the right to use the nominee’s name, photograph, likeness, voice, image, statements, and biographical and award information for advertising, trade, publicity, and promotional purposes in any media now known or hereafter discovered, worldwide, including the Internet, without review, notification or approval, or additional compensation or consideration of any kind, unless prohibited by law.
10. Finalist Selection and Notification: Twelve finalists will be invited to a public awards event, where the awardees will be announced. Decisions as to the selection of the awardees are final and binding in all matters, and will be announced at the public awards event, and by press releases, the Centennials Website, and other advertising and promotional means selected by the Community Foundation.
11. Rules: At all times, the Community Foundation reserves the right to amend or replace the Rules and any other aspects of the Centennials, in its sole discretion and without advance notice, including, without limitation, the right to cancel, suspend and/or lengthen the Centennials. A copy of these Rules, as may be amended, updated, or modified from time to time in Community Foundation’s sole discretion, is available at the Centennials Website. Community Foundation’s failure to enforce any term or provision of these Rules shall not constitute a waiver of any rights arising under that term or provision.
12. Other Releases; Limitation of Liability: By participating in the Centennials, nominees and nominators (a “Releasing Party”) each agrees to, and hereby does, release, indemnify, and hold harmless the Community Foundation, its officers, directors, employees, agents, successors, and assigns, and members of the Selection Committee, and each such member’s agents, successors, and assigns (“Released Parties”) from and against all claims or causes of action of any kind whatsoever arising out of or resulting from, in whole or in part, or directly or indirectly, the Centennials, whether or not caused by the negligence of the Released Parties. Without limiting the generality of the preceding sentence, the Released Parties are not responsible for and are released from all liability resulting from or related to all claims or causes of action related to: (i) participation in the Centennials; (ii) selection of the Centennials awardees; (iii) any incorrect or inaccurate information, whether caused by a Releasing Party, printing errors, or by any of the equipment or programming associated with or utilized in the Centennials; (iv) technical failures of any kind, including, but not limited to malfunctions, interruptions, or disconnections in phone lines or network hardware or software; (v) unauthorized human intervention in any part of the nomination or selection process; (vi) technical or human error which may occur in the administration of the Centennials or the processing of entries; (vii) late, lost, un-deliverable, damaged, or stolen mail or nomination forms; (viii) any injury or damage to persons or property which may be caused, directly or indirectly, in whole or in part, by a Releasing Party’s participation in the Centennials; (ix) directly or indirectly, the award and the acceptance of such award; and (x) the Community Foundation’s use of a nominee’s personal information. Except where prohibited, a Releasing Party agrees that any and all claims, judgments, and damages awarded in a Releasing Party’s favor relating in any manner to the Centennials or any award will be limited to actual out-of-pocket costs incurred by such Releasing Party, including costs associated with entering the Centennials, but in no event including attorneys’ fees, and under no circumstances will a Releasing Party be entitled to obtain awards for, and each nominator or nominee hereby waives all rights to claim, punitive, incidental, and consequential damages and any other damages (other than for actual out-of-pocket expenses) and any and all rights to have damages multiplied or otherwise increased.
13. Disputes: Except where prohibited by law, each Releasing Party agrees that: (i) any and all disputes, claims, and causes of action arising out of or connected with the Centennials shall be resolved individually, without resort to any form of class action, and exclusively by the United States District Court for the Western District of New York or the appropriate court of the State of New York located in Erie County, New York; and (ii) all issues and questions concerning the construction, validity, interpretation, and enforceability of these Rules, or the rights and obligations of a Releasing Party and the Community Foundation in connection with the Centennials, will be governed by, and construed in accordance with, the laws of the State of New York without giving effect to any choice of law or conflict of law rules (whether of New York or any other jurisdiction).
Nominations are closed.
We have answered a number of frequently asked questions about The Centennials below. If you don’t see your question, please email us at email@example.com.
What is the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo?
• The Community Foundation is a charitable organization – a foundation of foundations – committed to helping individuals, families and organizations make their charitable goals a reality.
• The Community Foundation works with more than 400 active clients and is carrying on the legacies of an additional 500 clients.
• The Community Foundation’s mission is connecting people, ideas and resources to improve lives in Western New York with the vision of a vibrant and inclusive Greater Buffalo region with opportunity for all.
What does the Community Foundation do?
- The Community Foundation understands that every individual, couple and family possesses distinct values and wishes that drive their charitable goals.
- Clients choose to work with the Community Foundation because of the customization and flexibility it provides, the sound management of charitable assets and its deep knowledge of the Western New York community. Some clients come to the Community Foundation knowing exactly what organizations and causes they want to support, while others utilize the Community Foundation’s team and experience to guide them as they establish a charitable legacy.
- Clients establish charitable foundations at the Community Foundation that are customized to support organizations, issues and communities at their discretion. Over time, through investment returns, their funds grow, resulting in more charitable assets.
- The Community Foundation also carries on clients’ legacies, helping them make an impact today, tomorrow and forever.
What are The Centennials?
The Community Foundation is granting $1 million in awards during its 100th anniversary to honor local change makers who have made an impact in Western New York.
Who is eligible to be nominated for The Centennials?
- Nominees must have made an impact in one of the following eight counties within Western New York: Allegany; Cattaraugus; Chautauqua; Erie; Genesee; Orleans; Niagara; and Wyoming.
- Nominees of all backgrounds and walks of life are eligible, as long as they have made their impact in Western New York.
- Nominees can be any age – but they must be living.
- Nominees can be nominated for more than one award category.
- Nominees cannot be Community Foundation staff or board members, Selection Committee members or family of any of the aforementioned groups.
How do I know which category to nominate someone for?
You can nominate someone for more than one category by filling out more than one nomination form. Here are the four 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 dedicated time and passion to address a pressing issue facing our region.
- The Champion Award
This change maker has made a meaningful change in the lives of people.
- The Up and Comer Award
This change maker is an emerging leader currently mobilizing action around a place, an issue or people.
How do I nominate someone for The Centennials?
There are two ways to submit a nomination:
1. Complete an online nomination form here.
2. Fill out a nomination form at your local public library and return it using the prepaid envelope.
Who will determine the winners?
Our Centennial Selection Committee, comprised of nearly 40 respected community members, will be reviewing the nominations.
How are the awards structured?
- The four winners will be honored with $200,000 each. Winners will each direct $100,000 of this to a Western New York nonprofit organization of their choice. The remaining $100,000 will go toward establishing a named endowment at the Community Foundation, which will enable them to decide how to impact Western New York in their names forever.
- Eight finalists will each receive $25,000 to be directed to a Western New York nonprofit organization of their choice.
If a winner works for a nonprofit, can they direct the grant to that nonprofit?
The winners will be able to chose which 501(c)(3) organization in Western New York the grant will be directed to, including one they are employed by.
What does it mean to “establish an endowment?”
- Endowing funds at the Community Foundation will allow The Centennials winners to have a permanent charitable fund invested with the Community Foundation’s combined assets of $485 million. This fund will provide grant funding every year in their name forever. The winner will determine the organization and causes in WNY and beyond that will receive grants from a portion of their fund each year.
- Endowed funds will continue to honor winners’ charitable giving legacies by making grants to their chosen organizations in their names forever.
What is the time frame to nominate someone for The Centennials?
Nominations open at 12:00 a.m. (EST) on February 11, 2019, and close at 4:00 p.m. (EST) on March 22, 2019.
How will I find out if the person I nominated is moving on in the selection process?
The Community Foundation will contact finalists directly. The 12 finalists will be announced on the Community Foundation’s Facebook page and on The Centennials website in September.
When will the honorees be announced?
The four winners will be announced on September 24, 2019.
What happens if my nominee becomes a finalist?
Finalists will be invited to attend the September 24 announcement event. Finalists do not need to know where they would like to direct their granted money ahead of winning. The Community Foundation will work with each finalist after September 24 to help them understand their options.
Whom can I contact if I have questions about the Community Foundation and/or The Centennials?
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Our Esteemed Panel
We invited the following group of respected community members to serve on our Centennial Selection Committee. They collectively represent what we are committed to as an organization – excellence, experience, diversity, arts and culture, education, the environment and our geographic footprint. Each member is dedicated to and enthusiastic about making our community a more vibrant and inclusive place for all.
Michele Agosto Buffalo Public Schools
Tamara O. Alsace, Ph.D. Community Foundation Board Member
Jonathan Amoia Sandhill Investment Management
Monica Angle Artist
Melissa Baumgart Community Foundation Board Member
James Biltekoff Community Foundation Board Member
Harper Bishop Cooperation Buffalo
Don Boswell Western New York Public Broadcasting Association
Ruth D. Bryant Community Volunteer
Lucy A. Candelario The Belle Center
Dr. Katherine Conway-Turner Buffalo State College
Warren Colville The Buffalo News
Jack Connors Buffalo Homecoming
Steve Finch Community Foundation Board Member
Rhonda Frederick People Inc.
Ray Ganoe Evergreen Health
Rahwa Ghirmatzion PUSH Buffalo
Dr. Myron Glick Jericho Road Community Health Center
Christopher M. Glynn Maid of the Mist Corporation
Gretchen Gross Community Volunteer
Amy Habib Rittling Lippes Mathias Wexler Friedman LLP
Owen Herne Herne Law PLLC
Jeffrey H. Katz, Esq. Katz & Baehre
Karen Lee Spaulding John R. Oishei Foundation
Gerard Mazurkiewicz Dopkins & Co.
Holly Mergenhagen Alesco Advisors
Margery Nobel Community Volunteer
Adam Page Paralympic Gold Medalist
Alok Pinto Community Volunteer
Rev. Kinzer Pointer Agape Fellowship Baptist Church
Daniel Robertson Say Yes Buffalo
Luis A. Rodriguez, Jr. Rodriguez Construction Group, Inc.
Lynda Schneekloth University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning
Gail Serventi Community Volunteer
Laurie D. Torrell Just Buffalo Literary Center
Francisco M. Vasquez, Ph.D. Community Foundation Board Chair
Paul Vukelic Try-It Distributing
Mary Wilson The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation
Honoring Our Change Makers
This September, the Centennial Award winners will be announced at an event at Kleinhans Music Hall hosted by the Community Foundation. We will award a total of $1 million in honor of four winners and eight finalists. We are excited to recognize these inspiring individuals who are making an impact in Western New York by making it a stronger, more inclusive place for all.
Carrying on the Kleinhans’ Legacy
The Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo selected Kleinhans Music Hall as the location for The Centennials for good reason: Edward and Mary Seaton Kleinhans chose us to serve as their philanthropic partner to carry on their legacy and build a world-class concert hall for the people of Western New York.
In 1934, the Kleinhans, of Kleinhans department store, bequeathed their estates to the Community Foundation with instructions to fulfill their dream of building a music hall for our community. Our board then chose the location and the architects, and oversaw construction of what was to become a glorious Eliel and Eero Saarinen showpiece.
Kleinhans, home of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, has been the premier location for our community to experience exceptional musical performances for more than 75 years. We are proud to support this local treasure to this day.
100 Years of Service
As we celebrate our centennial year, it is important that we honor the impact we have made alongside our clients – and use this inspiration to guide us in the future.
George F. Rand Sr. asks Edward H. Letchworth to go to Cleveland and learn about its community foundation with an eye toward creating one for Buffalo.
After his trip and the sudden passing of Mr. Rand, Mr. Letchworth draws up papers and The Buffalo Foundation is established.
Dr. Frances Hollingshead is appointed Executive Director of the Foundation.
The Mr. and Mrs. George F. Rand Fund, the Foundation’s first endowment, is created by the Rands’ children in their parents’ memory to support the changing needs of the community.
Jacob Schoellkopf establishes the first fund designated to a specific organization, an endowment to benefit the University at Buffalo.
The first scholarship fund is established by graduates of Buffalo Seminary.
The Foundation creates the Child Guidance Clinic to study behavior of pre-school-aged children and offer support to their families.
Edward and Mary Seaton Kleinhans leave their estate to the Foundation and ask it to build a “suitable music hall for the people of Buffalo.” The Foundation leads a community process and leverages additional funding to bring this vision to life.
The Foundation issues a groundbreaking report to understand poverty in Buffalo during the Great Depression, providing a critical look at the state of housing for Buffalo’s poorest residents.
The first corporate endowment fund is established by the William Hengerer Company to support its grantmaking to the community.
Kleinhans Music Hall opens its doors, thanks in part to the Foundation’s stewardship of the Edward and Mary Seaton Kleinhans bequest.
Florence Fraley leaves her entire estate to the Foundation in memory of her son to support the changing needs of the community.
Through his Will, Lawrence Bell establishes the first fund to support a specific area of interest: the study, treatment and care of mental diseases.
The Bell Foundation becomes the first private foundation to transfer its assets to the Foundation.
The United Way of Buffalo & Erie County establishes the first organization endowment at the Foundation.
The Cameron Baird family establishes an endowment to benefit the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.
Beau Van Schoonhoven is appointed Executive Director of the Foundation.
The Foundation establishes a corporate format parallel to the trust format to maximize investment opportunities for donors.
WNY Grantmakers is established by community, corporate and foundation leaders and housed at the Foundation.
The William F. Thiel bequest directs the Foundation to support health needs of residents of Wyoming County.
The Community Foundation initiates a long-standing partnership with The John R. Oishei Foundation to address critical needs of the community.
The Community Foundation creates a Legacy Society to honor those donors who provide for the future of the community through their estates.
Gail Johnstone is appointed President/CEO of the Foundation.
The Buffalo Foundation changes its name to the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, reflecting its work throughout the Western New York region.
In partnership with the United Way, the Community Foundation establishes the Education Fund for Greater Buffalo to improve teaching and learning in Erie County schools.
The Burt P. Flickinger Jr. Leadership Fund is established by his friends and family to honor his lifelong commitment to volunteer service.
The WNY Women’s Fund is established in partnership with the United Way to support innovative programs for women and girls.
The Norman Goldfarb Memorial Fund is established in memory of one of Western New York’s greatest civil rights advocates to reward and encourage endeavors in human relations and human rights.
The Niagara Area Foundation is established as a regional affiliate of the Community Foundation.
The 21st Century Fund is established as a giving circle to support high-impact projects in WNY as voted and determined by its members.
The Community Foundation begins a multi-year partnership with the Buffalo Niagara Freedom Station Coalition to protect and promote the history of the Michigan Street Baptist Church in Buffalo, an anchor institution of the Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor.
The Community Foundation, with the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County, publishes the first Report Card on Charitable Giving, documenting charitable giving in the region and comparing it to giving trends across the United States.
In 2005, seven private foundations and the Community Foundation form a funders cooperative to support the arts and cultural sector, Fund for the Arts.
The Community Foundation initiates a regular cycle of a regional needs assessment to guide the allocation of funds for the changing needs of the community over time.
The Community Foundation ranks among the top 10% of endowments and foundations nationwide for investment performance.
Clotilde Perez-Bode Dedecker is appointed President/CEO of the Community Foundation.
The Community Foundation receives a $4.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education for its Read to Succeed Buffalo program supported by a funders collaborative including The John R. Oishei Foundation, the Community Foundation and the Margaret L. Wendt Foundation.
The Wyoming Foundation, a regional community foundation established in 1974 by Dr. James MacCallum, transfers its assets to the Community Foundation and becomes a regional affiliate of the Foundation.
Communities of Giving Legacy Initiative is established by civic leaders from multi-ethnic, multiracial backgrounds to support programs that address shared challenges faced by communities of color.
The Community Foundation convenes the Western New York Environmental Alliance, with input from the public and 150 environmental organizations in the region, and facilitates the creation of a Shared Agenda for Action on the Environment in 2009 to focus environmental work in the region.
The Community Foundation launches the Wipe Out Lead campaign in partnership with the City of Buffalo, Erie County, local businesses and nonprofit organizations.
The Community Foundation’s leadership in convening public-private partners to reduce lead poisoning, asthma triggers and energy costs leads to Buffalo’s designation as a Green & Healthy Homes Initiative city and recognition by the U.S. Department for Housing and Urban Development.
After an unprecedented cross sector, collaborative effort on the part of Western New York leaders, Say Yes to Education selects Buffalo in 2011 as its second “Say Yes” city with a goal of increasing post-secondary graduation rates for urban youth.
With support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Community Foundation launches GrowWNY, a virtual town square to serve as a forum to connect environmental organizations with the broader community.
Established in 2013, the Gordon R. Gross, Esq. Award recognizes a professional advisor who embodies the Foundation’s mission to drive positive change in our community, like its namesake, Gordon R. Gross. Gordon, founder of the Gross Shuman P.C. law firm, is admired for his many philanthropic endeavors in Western New York and has served the Community Foundation in many ways, including as Board Chair from 1997-1998.
The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation announces a partnership with the Community Foundation in 2015 by establishing multiple endowments that will support causes important to Mr. Wilson for generations to come.
The Community Foundation convened more than 30 local leaders from public, private, nonprofit and faith institutions to form the Greater Buffalo Racial Equity Roundtable in 2016. By partnering with 210 local organizations to advance racial equity, the Roundtable is creating opportunities for all to reach their full potential.
In 2016, the Community Foundation joined nearly a dozen local partners to launch charitySTRONG in Western New York. charitySTRONG strengthens nonprofit organizations by offering them free online recruitment and training tools to build diverse and effective boards of directors.
Recognizing a need in our community, the Community Foundation brought together 11 initial investors in 2017 to create the for-profit Western New York Impact Investment Fund. This group of corporate, private and philanthropic leaders is investing in organizations and businesses to generate financial and social returns.
In 2018, the Community Foundation joined the City of Buffalo, Erie County and other dedicated partners to commission and share a first-of-its-kind lead action plan. The plan details a clear path to eliminate lead poisoning in our community, positioning children for success.
Explore our first 100 years and see the impact we have helped make throughout Western New York alongside our clients.
This September, we will award $1 million in honor of 12 local change makers.