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Mayor Brown Announces United Way of Buffalo to Develop Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative
December 5, 2016 – Today Mayor Byron W. Brown announced that the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County (UWBEC) has been selected to assist the City in developing a work plan to reduce poverty in the City of Buffalo as part of the Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative. Members of the selection committee that reviewed requests for proposals from local nonprofits including: Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, New York State Senator Tim Kennedy, New York State Assembly Member Crystal Peoples-Stokes and Mayor Brown announced that the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County and the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo were chosen.
“As the City of Buffalo continues to drive the most successful economic development period in recent history, we must continue to work diligently to ensure all of our residents have the ability to participate in our growing economy,” said Mayor Brown. “I thank Governor Andrew Cuomo for providing us with the resources to help shape Buffalo’s poverty reduction efforts.”
During his 2016-2017 budget announcement, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that 10 cities would receive a total of $5 million in state grants and have access to a $20 million grant pool that matches private sector and foundation funding. The cities chosen, based on concentrations of poverty, include: Syracuse, Oswego, Utica, Binghamton, Oneonta, Buffalo, Utica, Elmira, Jamestown, Troy and Albany. Governor Cuomo modeled the Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative after New York’s successful Anti-Poverty Program in Rochester; which is a broad coalition of state and local government, business and nonprofit representatives working together to redesign and coordinate efforts to address extreme poverty in the Rochester area.
"Leading and supporting broad-based coalitions tackling significant community issues is core to United Way's mission and a key component of our value proposition,' said Michael Weiner President and CEO of United Way of Buffalo & Erie County. "More families are experiencing financial hardship in our community than the federal poverty line suggests. We believe that in order for our community to continue to grow we must ensure economic stability for all and see the Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative as the pathway to prosperity for those currently struggling."
UWBEC has served Erie County for nearly 100 years, giving it a unique perspective on the changing needs in our community and demonstrating a longstanding commitment to address the most important local issues, in particular issues relating to poverty. UWBEC has worked in partnership with both the City of Buffalo and the County of Erie on multiple initiatives, including the City of Buffalo New Americans Study and the Erie County Works initiative.
In 2017,UWBEC, with assistance from Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, will be charged with: hiring a Task Force Director, including the aforementioned steering committee, conduct community forums, developing a communications plan, collecting and reviewing data, and formulating a strategic action plan in order to secure funding for Phase Two.
“The Community Foundation is honored to co-convene this effort to build a more expanded, inclusive economy and further accelerate our economic resurgence,” said Clotilde Perez-Bode Dedecker, President and CEO of the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo.
“Poverty stifles growth in our community and prevents individuals from reaching their full potential. My administration has focused on reducing the root causes of poverty, and providing individuals of all ages the ladders of opportunity that are necessary to rise out of poverty. The Poverty Reduction Initiative builds on the partnerships we announced in our “Initiatives for a Stronger Community” and will help us better identify and work on the causes of poverty in our community. We look forward to working with our governmental partners, the United Way and the Community Foundation on this important Initiative.”
“When it came to selecting an organization to lead the way on Buffalo’s portion of the Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative, the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County, along with their partnership with the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, was a no-brainer,” said Senator Tim Kennedy. “Their century-long track record of serving the people of Western New York will give us the tools and insight we need to make this initiative a success. Buffalo is on the move, but poverty remains a real problem that holds us back from living up to our full potential. I have faith that the United Way and all their community partners will help us to tackle this issue and better our region in the process.”
“Buffalo’s Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative is a state-sponsored effort to close the academic, health, and socio-economic divide that exists,” Assemblymember Peoples Stokes said. “Through the coordinated efforts of the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County and the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, Buffalo is poised to make a considerable impact. This funding will kick start our ability to build coalitions through coordinated asset mapping, systems change, and improving the efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery. I applaud Governor Cuomo on establishing the Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative and Mayor Brown on implementing the initiative in a collaborative manner.”
Anyone interested in applying for the Task Force Director position can apply online at www.uwbec.org/careers. The Task Force Director will manage all Task Force activities, supervise staff and contractors, and provide support to the Steering Committee in execution of planning and implementation activities.
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Photos by Angel Art LTP, compliments of the Greater Buffalo Convention and Visitors Bureau. Additional photos by Adrian Roselli, compliments of Algonquin Studios