COMING TOGETHER
TO OVERCOME CRISIS.

As Western New Yorkers, we are known for our resiliency, generosity and collaborative spirit. In the face of the COVID-19 crisis, these positive attributes have been called upon like never before.

A collaboration of local philanthropic organizations, the WNY COVID-19 Community Response Fund was created to  respond to  our region’s needs during the pandemic. Our community supported this effort in a huge way and your generosity has made an impact on thousands of people. However, the need is still great — and growing. To learn more about our collective efforts to move forward together, click here.

PURPOSE OF THE FUND

When the pandemic reached Western New York in mid-March 2020, the philanthropic community mobilized quickly to support nonprofits serving on the frontlines of helping our community meet the emergency needs of residents. By March 24, the WNY COVID-19 Community Response Fund was up and running, conducted a needs survey with over 1,000 nonprofits, and began fundraising. The Fund announced its first round of grants two weeks later.

Throughout 2020  and to date, this collective group of philanthropic organizations has been  monitoring the needs in our community and responding as quickly as possible. Grants have been made to address immediate areas of need such as a food, housing, healthcare, childcare, as well as to supporting organizations in working together to address long-standing challenges through Moving Forward Together.

The Fund is administered by the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo and has received  staffing support from The John R. Oishei Foundation, the Health Foundation for Western & Central New York, the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County and the Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation. As the pandemic has continued longer than expected, the Fund remains committed to continuing to monitor the needs and impact of the COVID-19 crisis in Western New York and finding ways to collaboratively respond in 2021.

OUR IMPACT

To date, the WNY COVID-19 Community Response Fund has awarded a total of $13.1 million in grants to 400+ nonprofit organizations serving in all eight counties of Western New York.

$0.0 MILLION

in grants

0+

nonprofit organizations
supported

Beyond the numbers, the impact of the generosity of our community has been significant. Here are a handful of stories from nonprofits that received funding, in their own words.

previous arrow
next arrow
previous arrownext arrow
Slider

SUPPORTERS

The WNY COVID-19 Community Response Fund is a truly collaborative effort supported by nearly 80 foundations and corporations, 40 community leaders and nearly 2,000 individual donors. Thank you to all who have contributed to support our community during this crisis.

FOUNDERS

COMMUNITY
FOUNDATION FOR
GREATER BUFFALO

HEALTH FOUNDATION FOR WESTERN &
CENTRAL NEW YORK

THE JOHN R. OISHEI
FOUNDATION

UNITED WAY OF BUFFALO
AND ERIE COUNTY

Foundations and corporations

AAA Western and Central NY

An Anonymous Family Fund at the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo

Arlene and Ruth Mathews Fund

Avangrid Foundation / NYSEG

The Baird Foundation

The Cameron and Jane Baird Foundation

Bank of America Charitable Foundation

BlueCross BlueShield of WNY Blue Fund

Better Buffalo Fund

Henry W. & Martha L. Bruner Philanthropic Fund

Buffalo Bills Foundation

Buffalo Sabres Foundation

Bureau Veritas Consumer Product Services

EJ and Karen Butler

Tom and Pat Calpin

William & Ida Christie Fund for Music

Citizens Bank

Conable Family Foundation

The Peter C. Cornell Trust 

C. Elizabeth Crump

Cullen Foundation

James H. Cummings Foundation 

 

 

 

 

Heather  J. DePaolo-Johnny Memorial Fund

James H. Cummings Foundation

D-B Trust

D-B Trust

Laurie Dann and Tom Hunt

Heather J. DePaolo-Johnny Memorial Fund

Paul P. Dosberg Charitable Fund

East Hill Foundation

The Paul and Helen Ellis Charitable Trust

The Fisher Family Fund

Gallogly Family Foundation

Garman Family Foundation

General Motors

O. Richard Goldman Philanthropic Fund

Joanne Champion Granger Fund

Joanne Champion Granger Fund

John and Elizabeth Hulley

JP Morgan Chase

Marie S. & Frederic K. Houston Fund

Hunt Charitable Foundation

Ruth E. Huppuch Living Trust

Nick Iannarelli Memorial Fund

Independent Health

D. Bruce and Gail Johnstone Fund

D. Bruce and Gail Johnstone Philanthropic Fund

Key Bank and First Niagara Foundation

Jeffrey C. and Cynthia Littmann Fund at the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan , in Memory of Joseph L. Hudson

Jeffrey C. and Cynthia M. Littmann Fund at the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, in Memory of Joseph L. Hudson

Jeffrey C. and Cynthia M. Littmann Fund at the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, in Memory of Joseph L. Hudson

Jeffrey C. and Cynthia M. Littmann Fund at the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, in Memory of Joseph L. Hudson Jeffrey C. and Cynthia M. Littmann Fund at the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, in Memory of Joseph L. Hudson

Jeffrey C. and Cynthia M. Littmann Fund at the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan,  in Memory of Joseph L. Hudson   

Jeffrey C. and Cynthia M. Littmann Fund at the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, in Memory of Joseph L. Hudson

Jeffrey C. and Cynthia M. Littmann Fund at the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, in Memory of Joseph L. Hudson

Jeffrey C. and Cynthia M. Littmann Fund at the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, in Memory of Joseph L. Hudson

Patrick P. Lee Foundation

Grigg Lewis Foundation

George and Teresa Lukis Family Fund

M&T Bank

Morton Salt

National Fire Adjustment Company

National Fuel Gas Foundation

The Papa Family

PwC

National Grid

New York State Health Foundation

Niagara Area Foundation

Rodems Construction Co., Inc.

Sandy and Margery Nobel

Sandhill Investments

Pinto Foundation Fund

Andrew Rampado

Rotary Foundation of Amherst East

Rowboat Family Foundation

Rupp  Family Foundation

S & J Schwartz Fund S & J Schwartz Fund 

 

S & J Schwartz Fund

Rupp Family Foundation

S & J Schwartz Fund

J Schwartz Fund S & J Schwartz Fund

 Simple Gifts Fund 

Simple Gifts Fund

Southwest Airlines

Stockton Family Fund

Sullivan Family Foundation

The Gary & Katharina Szakmary Fund

Tobin/Filvaroff Family Endowment

Peter and Elizabeth C Tower Foundation

UPS

Utica National Insurance

Vogt Family Foundation

Warzala Family Charitable Fund

Watson Billings Family Foundation

Wegmans

George Weiss Revocable Trust

The Weissman Family Foundation

The Margaret L. Wendt Foundation

Western New York Foundation

Williamsville East High School

Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation

Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation Trustee Designated and Matching Grants Program 

 

Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation Trustee Designated and Matching Grants Program

 

Community Leaders

Stuart and Joyce Angert

David Bauer

John Berger

Don Boswell

Bob and Mary Ann Budin

Patricia and David Clabeaux

Warren Colville

John and Nicole Connelly

Michael W. Cropp, M.D.

Adrian F. & Clotilde Perez-Bode Dedecker

In honor of Charles G. Duffy Jr. and Virginia Leahy Duffy

John Mineo and Vicki Feine

Jay Gershberg

Bill and Mary Gisel

Cheryl Jankowski, CPA

Bruce and Gail Johnstone

Bill Lawley

Mike Lawley

Judy Jack Lewis and Larry Lewis

Jeffrey C. and Cynthia M. Littmann

Lisa M. Mendonza, M.D.

Carl Montante, Sr.

Carl Montante, Jr.

Michael Montante

Laura Montante-Zaepfel

Kathleen M. Mylotte, M.D.

William Paladino

Ann Pentkowski

John and Maria Pieroni

TJ Revelas

Roberta and Noah Rifkin

Chris Ross 

MacKenzie Scott

Seneca Diabetes Foundation

Dr. Zvi Sharf

​Patricia Smith

Anthony Spada, Jr.

Paul Tesluk

Michael Vitch

Ted and Ginna Walsh

Daniel Weintraub

Mary Wilson

Bruce Wisbaum

Margaret and Bob Zak

Larry and Leslie Zielinski

Moving forward together

Understanding that we need to emerge from this crisis stronger through innovation, the WNY COVID-19 Community Response Fund started the Moving Forward Together (MFT) initiative in June 2020 by developing and supporting strategies focused on long-term collaborative and systemic solutions to address persistent needs in our community. Through MFT, the Fund is supporting a series of initiatives including: Food Future WNY, Digital Equity & Inclusion, Public Policy & Advocacy and Sourcing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). 

FOOD FUTURE WNY

Food security has been identified as a major challenge in our community which has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis. The Western New York COVID-19 Community Response Fund, along with other funders, is supporting a community-focused, regionally coordinated planning effort called Food Future WNY. There are more than 100 partners working together that represent the entire spectrum of the food system in our region. Working cross-sector and cross-county, the objective is to address the entrenched and chronic conditions that have perpetuated long-term food insecurity. The highly participatory nature of this project will assure that authenticity of all voices will be evident in the process and final product.

A team of nationally-renowned food consultants led by Anthony Flaccovento at SCALE are working in 2021 to complete a broad assessment of the opportunities, challenges, concerns and opinions held by the diverse range of stakeholders in the region to inform the way forward. The planning effort is expected to take approximately 18 months.

Learn more at www.FoodFutureWNY.org

Digital Equity & Inclusion

Our service delivery system has completely changed due to COVID-19 to one that is far more reliant on virtual and electronic communication. The Fund has convened an initiative to bring together over 55 stakeholders, similar to the food system effort, to collectively work on solutions to bridge the digital divide through equity and inclusion in both urban and rural areas of Western New York. This is not a new challenge for our community, however digital challenges have multiplied for both learners and earners during the COVID-19 crisis. We must use this moment in time as an opportunity to collectively catalyze long-term change to bridge this long-standing divide.

Public Policy & Advocacy

In the summer of 2020, the Fund awarded a grant to the Partnership for the Public Good to embark on a yearlong public policy and advocacy initiative in partnership with the nonprofit sector. With significant input from the community, the effort will be focused on the impact of the COVID-19 crisis and needed changes in public policy at local and state levels. An example of this work in action is advocating for permanent changes to expand telehealth coverage and reimbursement policies that would make healthcare more accessible for vulnerable populations.

Sourcing Personal Protective Equipment 

Sourcing reliable and affordable vendors for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) was a challenge when the pandemic hit. Resources were provided to Visually Impaired Advancement (VIA) to lead a coordinated effort to source and purchase PPE. This effort ensured that our nonprofit community had the supplies they needed to safely serve our community. In 2020, more than 100 nonprofits were able to purchase reliable and affordable PPE to carry out their missions safely for both their teams and those they were serving.

REQUEST FOR IDEAS

In June 2020, the Western New York COVID-19 Community Response Fund released a Moving Forward Together Request for Ideas (RFI) to seek out collaborative solutions from nonprofit leaders to address long-term challenges. We will be sharing updates on the ideas which have been funded. You can read about the first eight that have received implementation grants here.

FUND UPDATES

Stay up to date on the work being done in Western New York thanks to the support of the WNY COVID-19 Community Response Fund and its generous donors by signing up for our mailing list.