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.

  Buffalo Renaissance Foundation        Winter 2018


Russ Named 25th President of BRF

Hugh M. Russ III, an attorney specializing in litigation at Hodgson Russ LLP, took over the reins as the 25th President of the Buffalo Renaissance Foundation this month to serve a two-year term as our leader.

As we head into 2018, the Buffalo Renaissance Foundation continues to lead by example with its continuing sculptural art series and spearheading the USS Little Rock Commissioning ceremony at Canalside on the Buffalo Harbor in December 2017.

For 35 years, the Buffalo Renaissance Foundation and its directors have been driven by a passion to move our community forward. Russ is excited to take the helm for the next two years. “Coming off an exciting 2017, the BRF is poised to continue to be at the forefront of Buffalo’s renaissance,” said Russ. “We will maintain our position as community leaders and continue the momentum built during Michael Montante’s leadership over the past two years into the future.”


Baynes, Beaton, and Mertz Named as 21st Class of Directors

At the October board meeting, three new active directors were approved representing the 21st class of Directors of the Buffalo Renaissance. A.J. Baynes, David Beaton, and Frederick Mertz represent the newest class of directors heading into 2018.

Baynes is currently the President of the Amherst Chamber of Commerce. Beaton is President of Kelton Enterprises, LLC. Mertz is the President of S. Howes LLC. The Board is excited for this new group to assist us with moving our mission forward in the coming years.


BRF Provides Seed Money to USS Little Rock Commissioning Committee to Support Momentous Event

In 2015, the United States Navy made the decision to host the commissioning of the USS Little Rock in Buffalo, New York. For the first time in the Navy’s 242-year history, a ship was commissioned directly next to its namesake, the original USS Little Rock.

Director Maurice L. (“Moe”) Naylon was asked to chair this momentous event for the local commissioning committee and through his leadership and the initial $50,000 seed money obtained from the Buffalo Renaissance, the event came off as one of the best ever on December 16, 2017. Over 9,000 Buffalonians and visitors attended the commissioning on a snowy Saturday afternoon on the waterfront.

When they write the history on the commissioning of the USS Little Rock, it will be well noted that Buffalo Renaissance Foundation was at the vanguard for this historical and national event!

The commissioning ceremony of the USS Little Rock was held in Buffalo this december.




Buffalo Sculptural Art Initiative – Spirit of Buffalo Series

The fourth piece of the Downtown Buffalo Sculptural Art Initiative series the “Spirit of Community,” was completed in December 2017 and dedicated at the front of the Hotel Henry on the Richardson Olmsted Campus. The piece features three swooping steel rings fused together at a central point in front of the iconic hotel and was designed by Daniel Shafer, a Buffalo native and University at Buffalo graduate.

The three rings represent the past, present, and future of Buffalo according to the artist. The Spirit of Community piece is the fourth of a five-part series, which includes art on the Buffalo Medical Campus (“Spirit of Life”), on Swan Street (“Spirit of Transportation”), and at the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site (“Spirit of Leadership”). We are excited that planning for our fifth sculpture, “Spirit of Knowledge,” to be placed in a plaza near the Central Library will be announced later in 2018.

Dedication of the Spirit of Community, the fourth piece in our Downtown Buffalo Sculptural Art Initiative

Annual Veterans Luncheon

Our tenth annual Veterans Luncheon, an event that continues to grow and support our local Veteran community, was held at The Buffalo Club in November and honored our 2017 scholarship recipients, Tenisha D. Johnson (Trocaire) and Morgan Hailey Kiff (Central Texas).

Well over 100 people were educated by keynote speaker Command Master Chief Joseph P. Reynolds, who discussed the USS Little Rock Commissioning.

The purpose of the annual luncheon during Veterans Day week is to recognize Veterans, both in Active Duty and Reservists, that help to protect our country. In addition to honoring Veterans and those currently serving in the Military, the luncheon is held to raise the needed funds to provide scholarships to those who have served our country and are attending college.

Many thanks to our director co-chairs Maurice L. Naylon and Gary M. Stott for their leadership with respect to the event that serves as a gateway to the holidays every year.

BRF directors Maurice L. Naylon and Gary M. Stott with 2017 scholarship recipients MORGAN KIFF AND TENISHA JOHNSON.






BRF Outreach Program

Our outreach program was busy during 2017, with three separate events during the calendar year.

We hosted our first ever community Easter Egg Hunt in April. BRF Directors hid 5,000 stuffed eggs throughout Buffalo’s Front Park on the West Side. The Easter Egg Hunt was open to all children 12 years of age and younger and prizes included bicycles, scooters, and 3′ chocolate rabbits.

Buffalo Renaissance Foundation's first ever Easter Egg Hunt held in April.

In August 2017, The Miracle League was again a benefactor of this year’s Outreach Program. A group of BRF directors attended Buffalo Renaissance Foundation Day at Miracle Field in Grand Island to work with individuals with mental and physical challenges providing them an opportunity to play baseball on a specially designed field. The specialized rubber surface can accommodate wheelchairs, crutches, and walkers.

Buffalo Renaissance Foundation day at Miracle Field in Grand Island.

Lastly, during the holiday season, BRF Directors purchased presents and necessities for several families in need and made the deliveries to their homes before Christmas. The BRF made many happy memories for several less fortunate families during this year’s holidays.

Buffalo Renaissance Foundation supporting families in need during the holidays.

2017 Grant Appropriations

Cassie Oursler, recipient of the UB Athletics Scholarship

During 2017, the BRF Appropriations Committee awarded three grants. The first was to the Atlas Program at Roswell Park Cancer Institute on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus supplementing the endowment seeded in 2007 by the BRF. The second recipient was to the BRF’s established UB Athletics scholarship award, a scholarship that was endowed from proceeds from the BRF’s first luncheon in 1991. Cassie Oursler (Women’s Basketball), a Psychology Major, is a senior from Grand Island and plays center was the recipient of this year’s distribution. Lastly, the Veterans Treatment Court was our final 2017 grantee.


Fall Golf Tourney at Crag Burn

The annual Fall Classic was held once again at the Crag Burn Club, where its inaugural golf tournament was held in East Aurora in 1982. The tournament is Western New York’s second longest continuously run tournament. Chairman Rick Gilbert chaperoned an awesome day of camaraderie at one of Western New York’s finest golf venues.

Kudos to our event sponsors:
Tournament Sponsors – ADPRO Sports
Cart Sponsor – New Era Cap Company
Beverage Sponsor – Try-it Distributing
Flag Sponsors – Hoffman Hanafin & Associates, LLC, NEW Wave Energy, and Warm & Fuzzy
Putting Contest Sponsor – Uniland Development Company

The 2018 Tournament will again be held at Crag Burn on Thursday, August 30.

The Buffalo Renaissance foundation Fall Classic held at crag Burn Club.



Endowment Tops $1 Million

Founded in 1981 with six directors sitting around a kitchen table, the BRF’s Endowment Fund recently topped the $1 million mark, a milestone for the 36-year-old group. This will aid the BRF in being able to appropriate future dollar amounts in a more significant fashion. Many thanks to our investment committee and for all of the directors in helping meet this goal.

Not many not-for-profit agencies can say that every dollar raised in our fundraising events goes 100% to charities 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.


In Memorium – Thomas J. Comer, Jr.

Thomas J. Comer, Jr.

On November 12, 2017 tragedy struck the BRF brotherhood with the passing of Director Thomas J. Comer, Jr. Tom was a past president of the Foundation, serving as our leader in 2007 and 2008. As President of the Foundation, he jump-started our Renaissance Scholars program that ran from 2007 through 2009 touching many young people’s lives through the mentoring received from this initiative. Tom was a board member of the BISON Fund, a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute.

Director Maurice L. Naylon commented on the legacy left by Tom on our group. “Tom was truly considered part of the Mt. Rushmore of the Buffalo Renaissance Foundation. His leadership and enthusiasm helped rejuvenate the BRF brand during his presidency and his focus on education was second to none,” said Naylon.

Tom is survived by his wife, Jean, and five children.



Buffalo Renaissance
Foundation 2018
Board of Directors

Hugh M. Russ III
Foundation President

A.J. Baynes
David Beaton
Donald V. Boswell
Donald V. Brown
Frank L. Ciminelli II
John K.S. Cleary
William S. Cleary
Robert J. Clerici
Matthew K. Enstice
John T. Gavigan
Richard N. Gilbert, MD.
Scott T. Hoffman
James E. Iglewski
James F. Jerge
Charles G. Jones, Jr.
Anthony G. Jordan
Eugene G. Kershner, CPA
Peter S. Marlette
Tod Martin
Frederick Mertz
Michael P. Modrzynski
Michael J. Montante
Maurice L. Naylon III
Benjamin N. Obletz
David R. Pfalzgraf, Jr.
Bruce G. Popko Jr.
Thomas Quatroche, Jr., PhD
Ronald Raccuia
C. Jacob Schneider
David Schutte
John F. Somers
Nicholas B. Tzetzo, Esq.
Paul V. Vukelic
Arthur G. Wingerter
Daniel J. Zimmer

Executive Director
Scott McManigle

The BRF has a Facebook page to stay in touch with our benefactors, corporate sponsors and friends. Please "like" us on Facebook at our Foundation page.



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Buffalo Renaissance Foundation · PO Box 322 · Buffalo, NY 14205 · USA