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 identify and address our region’s short-term and long-term needs. 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.


When the pandemic reached Western New York in March 2020, the philanthropic community mobilized quickly under the leadership of the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, Health Foundation for Western & Central New York, The John R. Oishei Foundation and the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County. By March 24, the WNY COVID-19 Community Response Fund was formed, conducted a needs survey with over 1,000 nonprofits and began fundraising. The Fund announced its first phase of grantmaking two weeks later.

At the onset, the Fund supported nonprofits addressing immediate areas of food, housing, healthcare, childcare, mental health, transportation and other emergency services.


To date, the WNY COVID-19 Community Response Fund has awarded a total of $7.8 million in grants to 400+ nonprofit organizations serving all eight counties of Western New York.


in grants


nonprofit organizations

Grantees serving


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.

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The WNY COVID-19 Community Response Fund is a truly collaborative effort supported by 60 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.






Foundations and corporations

AAA Western and Central NY

An Anonymous Family Fund at the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo

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 






Heather  J. DePaolo-Johnny Memorial Fund

James H. Cummings Foundation

James H. Cummings Foundation

D-B Trust

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

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

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


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

Rupp  Family Foundation

S & J Schwartz Fund

Simple Gifts Fund

Southwest Airlines

Stockton Family Fund

Sullivan Family Foundation

The Gary & Katharina Szakmary Fund

Peter and Elizabeth C Tower Foundation


Utica National Insurance

Vogt Family Foundation

Warzala Family Charitable Fund

Watson Billings Family Foundation


George Weiss Revocable Trust

The Margaret L. Wendt Foundation

Western New York Foundation

Williamsville East High School

Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation

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

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

As the crisis continues to unfold, the WNY COVID-19 Community Response Fund started the Moving Forward Together initiative ( formerly Build Back Better) by developing and supporting strategies focused on recovery efforts through collaborative systems work to address specific needs such as sourcing personal protective equipment for nonprofits and food security. We are committed to evaluating the evolving challenges and creating targeted initiatives to address the ongoing and long-term needs in our community.


The Western New York COVID-19 Community Response Fund released a Request for Ideas (RFI) to seek out collaborative solutions from nonprofit leaders to address challenges our community is facing due to COVID-19, coupled with the persistent challenges of racial inequities.  

FOOD Security Planning effort

Understanding that  food security has been a major need during the COVID-19 crisis in our community, the Western New York COVID-19 Community Response Fund,  along with other funders, is  supporting  a community-focused, regionally coordinated planning effort that will bring together stakeholders, representing diverse aspects and perspectives of the region’s food system, who will identify action steps to address acute hunger, and to change the entrenched, chronic conditions that have perpetuated long term food insecurity in Western New York and hurt food-based economic development or stunted food production growth.


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.