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WNY COVID-19 Community Response Fund Awards Additional $4.5 Million in Emergency Needs Grants to WNY Nonprofits

Total relief effort reaches $13.1 million

Money is tight all around these days, including for the non-profits that help to make this city ‘tick.’ With the onset of the pandemic, the non-profits had to streamline in ways that impacts staff, mission, and countless other operational aspects.

Back in March of 2020, we shone a light on the efforts of the Western New York COVID-19 Community Response Fund, which was established to raise funds to nonprofit organizations throughout WNY. At the time, $1 million was dedicated to 47 “essential” nonprofits.

Today, the Fund announced that $4.5 million has been awarded to 300 nonprofit, which brings the total relief effort to $13.1 million. The funds have been administered by the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, in partnership with The John R. Oishei Foundation, the Health Foundation for Western & Central New York, Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation and the Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation.

To date, nearly 90 foundations and corporations and more than 1,900 individuals have supported the WNY COVID-19 Community Response Fund.

Not only is the fundraising effort impressive, so too is the ongoing analysis that helps to determine how the organizations are fairing – a dedicated collaborative process that ensures that the funds are accordingly disbursed to aid in food, housing, healthcare, childcare, mental health, transportation, and other emergency services.

To date, emergency grant funds, ranging from $500 to $300,000 have been disseminated to organizations ranging from small rural food pantries (to help stock shelves) to mental health organizations (to help them connect to their clients virtually). With so many nonprofits experiencing critical funding shortfalls, the need is great, and any ancillary funding is greatly appreciated during these trying times.

The Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo received a grant from national philanthropist MacKenzie Scott in late 2020 and a portion of that funding is supporting this round of emergency grants.

“When the philanthropic community first came together to create the WNY COVID-19 Community Response Fund the group committed to continually monitoring the evolving needs in our community as a result of the pandemic. This round of emergency grant funding was the direct result of hearing that nonprofits providing basic needs services needed critical financial support to carry out their missions,” said Clotilde Perez-Bode Dedecker, President/CEO of Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo. “In addition to these grants, the Fund is continuing its commitment to addressing long-standing systemic challenges through its Moving Forward Together initiatives that include more than 400 organizations working collaboratively on a number of different innovative solutions.”

To see a full list of contributors, or to join the effort, please visit

Written by queenseyes


Newell Nussbaumer is 'queenseyes' - Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside, Buffalo Porchfest, and Paint vs. Paint. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market on Elmwood. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at Statler City, the Hertel Alley Street Art Festival, and The Flutterby Festival.

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