News from the Buffalo Renaissance Foundation Winter 2020-2021
Letter from the President
Buffalo Renaissance Celebrates Its 40th Year
2020 was, to say the least, an interesting year to lead the Buffalo Renaissance Foundation. Despite the challenges presented, I am proud to report that our organization achieved a number of significant successes for our community.
The Buffalo Renaissance Foundation played a pivotal role in raising and distributing over $325,000 through the Western New York Feeds the Front Lines program. This initiative was responsible for providing free hot meals for our front line health care workers in the early months of the Covid pandemic.
In September, we raised a record amount at our reimagined annual golf outing at Wanakah Country Club. The tournament is the second-longest charity event in Western New York, and Covid did not hold us back.
In October, the Foundation committed $100,000 to the Westminster Economic Development Initiative for the reconstruction of a historic building in the Bailey Green Neighborhood on Buffalo’s East Side. The building will be used for offices, outreach, and training for residents of the East Side of Buffalo. Covid notwithstanding, that’s a pretty good year. 2021 will be even better.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the founding of the Buffalo Renaissance Foundation. We have charted a year of community giving, communication, and celebration. The Foundation has commissioned a video that will chronicle the significant positive changes in Buffalo and Western New York since 1981, the year of our inception. The video will highlight the Buffalo Renaissance Foundation's role in moving Buffalo forward for the past 40 years. We are excited to share in the success of our community.
We are also excited to welcome our three newest directors Jon Notarius, Michael Ross, and Damon Wojciechowski to the Foundation. All three gentlemen bring a long history of success and community involvement to our group. We look forward to their contributions to the Foundation in the years to come.
It is an honor to serve as President of the Buffalo Renaissance Foundation. I am grateful for the commitment and contributions of our entire Board of Directors. I am excited to celebrate our 40th year and continue our good work of promoting positive thinking and positive change to moving our community forward.
MICHAEL P. MODRZYNSKI
Buffalo Renaissance Foundation, Inc.
BRF Key Ingredient to Western New York Feeds the Frontlines Program
With the cancellation of our annual luncheon in the spring due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Foundation pivoted to support a local initiative, Western New York Feeds the Frontlines. Our Foundation helped channel $325,000 of funds raised to restaurants that fed our critical front line workers during this time of crisis. Executive Director Scott McManigle was critical in assisting with the receipt of donations from thousands of donors through our PayPal portal. In addition, McManigle organized payment to the over 20 restaurants that participated in the program.
Veterans and Military Committee
Our annual Veterans Luncheon, an event that continues to grow and support our local Veteran community, was canceled due to the pandemic. Still, our Committee remained active, making local donations in 2020 to the Buffalo & Erie County Naval & Military Park and the CEPA Gallery.
Our donation to the Naval & Military Park was to support the Challenge Coin project, where they are selling four commemorative coins, which include the Naval & Military Park, USS The Sullivans, USS Croaker, and USS Little Rock.
The CEPA donation helped support a photography exhibit that spans four floors of veterans exploring the challenges of returning from battle and sharing their creative victories over circumstances in ODYSSEY / Warriors Come Home. Project founder Brendan Bannon and co-teaching artist Julian Chinana led participants identified by the Veterans One-stop Center of WNY through CEPA Gallery’s Odyssey Workshops to produce the artwork.
BRF Outreach Program
In December, the BRF outreach project supported the Oshei Children’s Hospital by providing 50 children in the hospital with toys and gift cards. A special visit from the big guy with a white beard highlighted a special day at the hospital for these special children.
UB Athletics Scholarship
This year’s recipient of the UB Athletics scholarship award, a scholarship that was endowed from proceeds from the BRF’s first luncheon in 1991, is Marcy Barberic, a senior from Grand Island on the Women’s Soccer Team. Marcy is a Communications Major.
Fall Golf Tourney at Wanakah
The annual Fall Classic was held again at Wanakah Country Club in the southtowns in 2020. The Classic is the second oldest charitable tournament running in Western New York, the inaugural event being held in 1982 at Crag Burn. Event chair Dr. Gilbert chaperoned a record day of comradery at one of Western New York’s finest golf venues, raising over $100,000 in revenue.
Kudos to our event sponsors:
Tournament – Allied Mechanical
Cart Sponsor – Uniland Development
Flag Sponsors – Hoffman Hanifan, Dunn Tire, and D.V. Brown and Associates
Lunch Sponsor – Uniland Development
Putting Contest Sponsor – WNED Television
Straightest Drive – Arc Builders
Longest Drive – Sanderson Wealth Management, Harmac Medical Products
Closest to the Pin Sponsors– Key Private Bank, The Tzetzo Companies
Sculptural Art Initiative
Our Spirit of Buffalo Sculptural Art series is in the process of finalizing its fifth and final sculpture with a piece scheduled for the grounds of the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library being completed in concert with our partner, Just Buffalo Literary. The final piece, named the Spirit of Inspiration, will be the work of Okunola Jeyfous, a Nigerian-American neuroscientist and photography enthusiast based in Chicago.
As well as finishing our fifth sculpture, we have entered a new joint effort in partnership with the Junior League of Buffalo on a new sculptural initiative to be installed on the Burchfield Penney Art Center Grounds. The proposed initiative will demonstrate to women and girls in our community that they have the capacity to achieve.
The statue will embody the essence of female power, capturing the long history of women’s impact in Western New York. The installation will allow visitors and community members to experience the significance of the artwork and its message. As the “Fearless Girl” sculpture in New York City has demonstrated, this statue promises opportunities for discourse around the contributions of women in our community. The BRF is proud to be a major contributor to this endeavor.
On January 15, 2021, we lost a true Renaissance man in Gary M. Stott, the 15th President of the Buffalo Renaissance Foundation. Gary served as President in 2000 and 2001 and was a sustaining member of the Board and the main connection between our Sustainer Directors and the Active Board, growing that group to record numbers. He was a co-chair and co-founder of our Veterans Luncheon program that has grown since its inception in 2008. He captained and led the sustainer group to several victories in the annual Active-Sustainer Golf tourney, his favorite day of the year. He served as a mentor to many of us and will be missed tremendously. Gary is survived by his lovely wife Cheryl, two daughters Gillian Stott and Courtney (Nick) Sinatra, and grandson Henry.
BRF Unveils 40th Anniversary Logo
In anticipation of celebrating the Foundation’s 40th year, the BRF unveiled its 40th Anniversary Logo in January. The logo was designed by Director Daniel Mecca, who maintained the original portion of our logo designed by Director Tod Martin and moved it Forward in celebration of our 40 years of building a better Buffalo. From humble beginnings around a kitchen table in 1981, to making significant impact in various underserved areas of the city of Buffalo, we are looking forward to continue moving our community forward for another 40 years.
Not many not-for-profit agencies can say that every dollar raised in our fund-raising events goes 100% to charity or is put into our endowment for future charitable giving. Our director dues fund 100% of our administrative costs and director expenses, so every dollar raised ends up in the hands of charities or organizations that meet our mission.
Thank you for your support in the past and into the future, hopefully you will find our work inspirational, interesting, and fun, as well as something you will continue to be a part of. Together, we can continue to move Buffalo, forward.
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2021 Board of Directors
Michael P. Modrzynski
A.J. Baynes, Jr.
David B. Beaton
Donald V. Boswell
Donald V. Brown, Jr.
Frank L. Ciminelli II
John K.S. Cleary
William S. Cleary
Robert J. Clerici
Michael B. Dolan
Timothy J. Domino
Matthew K. Enstice
Richard N. Gilbert, MD.
Shawn C. Glogowski
Scott T. Hoffman
Charles F. Hunt
James E. Iglewski
Charles G. Jones, Jr.
Anthony G. Jordan
Eugene G. Kershner, CPA
Peter S. Marlette
Tod D. Martin
Daniel P. Mecca
Frederick J. Mertz
Michael J. Montante
Maurice L. Naylon III
Jon D. Notarius
Benjamin N. Obletz
Thomas S. Quealy
Michael D. Ross
Hugh M. Russ III
C. Jacob Schneider
Zachary P. Schneider
David C. Schutte
John F. Somers
Nicholas B. Tzetzo, Esq.
Paul V. Vukelic
Arthur G. Wingerter
Damon S. Wojciechowski
Daniel J. Zimmer
Founded in 1981, the Buffalo Renaissance Foundation (BRF) is a non-profit, 501(c)3 organization dedicated to moving Buffalo forward, to help our future generations realize the best opportunities to enjoy a high quality of life in Western New York.