Three West Side community programs received a sizeable shot in the arm from HSBC Bank and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC)*. Thanks to these two organizations, The Massachusetts Avenue Project (MAP), People United for Sustainable Housing (PUSH) and Micro-Biz Buffalo will share $100,000 in grant funding for a variety of community projects.
HSBC and LISC each put up $50,000 toward the groups’ West Side revitalization efforts.
Buffalo LISC Executive Director Michael Clarke said, “When you have partners like HSBC to help lend a hand, it brings other organizations on board and forms collaborations that are destined to succeed.”
LISC is providing funding to the three organizations for staff and operating expenses, as well as resources to help PUSH acquire properties for redevelopment.
According to HSBC Bank Senior Vice President for Community Development Kathleen Rizzo-Young, “There are a lot of exciting developments taking place on Buffalo’s West Side, and the leadership of LISC allows us to support three worthwhile projects with a single donation. We have been part of the Grant/Ferry neighborhood for many years and know that the revitalization of Buffalo depends heavily on the success of residential and business initiatives like these.”
The money will help with MAP’s ongoing development of a new Community Food Resource and Micro Enterprise Center, which will house a licensed commercial kitchen for MAP’s micro enterprise program, Food Ventures. The commercial kitchen will be available for rental by entreprenurial individuals and will also serve as a lab for MAP’s Growing Green program, in which area youth explore and implement food product development and marketing, from farm to store shelves.
Their Amazing Chili Starter and Super Duper Salsa, manufactured with local produce, are in 12 area stores. According to Lauren Breen, MAP’s Executive Director and Director of the University at Buffalo Law School Community Economic Development Clinic, HSBC’s support through LISC will greatly help MAP’s efforts in these endeavors.
“In 2005, an arson fire destroyed MAP’s former commercial kitchen, so we are all very excited to have a new home where MAP will not only increase access to affordable and nutritious local foods, but also support people trying to earn a decent living through food-based businesses,” said Breen.
PUSH, looking to implement a five-year business plan for West Side housing redevelopment, will use some of their grant in order to engage a consultant who will identify the practices and partnerships that will help them to move forward.
“HSBC’s support will lay the groundwork for a substantial increase in PUSH’s output of high-quality, affordable housing units. Our neighborhoods are crying out for more investment, and we’re eager to step up our production to meet the need,” said Aaron Bartley of PUSH.
MicroBiz Buffalo, whose mission is to create economic development through the start-up, growth and retention of micro-businesses in Buffalo, will earmark the funding for technical service and training, and developing a neighborhood strategy.
Jerry Turcotte, Executive Director of Micro-Biz Buffalo said, “The financial support being provided by HSBC and LISC will be essential to developing a better understanding of how to serve our neighborhood market and what the specific opportunities are for small businesses that will restore commercial activity to Grant Street. Receiving support through our partnerships with PUSH and MAP as well these funders helps us develop a multi-pronged approach to neighborhood renewal.”
LISC, in conjunction with the New York State Affordable Housing Corporation, also had a hand in a $240, 000 award to HomeFront, Inc. for the rehabilitation and sale of six homes in the 19th Street area. Part of the Block-by-Block pilot program developed by the state with assistance from PUSH and LISC, the program is designed to make housing affordable, one block at a time.
PUSH has also applied for funding from the State’s Small Project Initiative, which is targeting an additional 8-10 housing units in the PUSH target area.
“This community has some good things happening, and we are happy to be a part of even more initiatives to continue those improvements,” Clarke said.
*Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) helps people build better lives and brighter futures by transforming distressed communities and neighborhoods into healthy ones. Through mobilization of corporate, government, and philanthropic support, helps provide community development corporations the technical expertise, training, and policy support they need to create affordable housing, commercial and retail property, community facilities, businesses, and jobs in their communities. For more information, visit www.lisc.org/buffalo.
Photo Above: Michael Clarke – LISC, Kathi Rizzo-Young – HSBC, Aaron Bartley – PUSH, Karla Gadley – HSBC, Diane Picard and Lauren Breen – MAP.