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
Spring 2012


DEAR FRIENDS, BENEFACTORS, SUPPORTERS AND FELLOW DRIECTORS, As we move into the fourth decade of the Buffalo Renaissance Foundation, we are coming off one of the most successful years in our history. Due to the generosity of our many benefactors, a hard-driving Director group, and a passion to move our community forward, we head into our 31st year stronger than ever.

We have an exciting 2012 planned, including our Spring Luncheon return to the Statler City Golden Ballroom last May where we honored First Niagara President and CEO John Koelmel. We will also hold the 30th anniversary of our Golf tournament on September 13th, the second oldest running tournament in the Western New York.

We have started the ball rolling on our second Sculptural Art Initiative, which will be announced later in the year as details are fine tuned. Our 5th annual Veterans Luncheon, an event that continues to grow and support our local Veteran Community will be held once again in November.

We continue to support local charities through our annual grant program and revised our guidelines and applications process to make it seamless for our potential benefactors to navigate. In 2011, through all of our programs we gave out a record amount of charitable dollars for our foundation.

Not many not-for-profit agencies can say that every dollar raised in our fund-raising events goes 100% to charity or 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.





upcoming events

Annual Golf Classic
Thursday, September 13, 2012
Niagara Falls Country Club

Annual Veterans Day Luncheon
Friday, November 9, 2012
The Buffalo Club

For more information on these events, please email Scott McManigle at


man of the year

KOELMEL HONORED AS 2012 RENAISSANCE MAN The Spring 2012 luncheon was held on May 10 at the Statler CityGolden Ballroom in downtown Buffalo. The Buffalo Renaissance Foundation was proud to recognize Mr. John R. Koelmel, President and CEO of the First Niagara Financial Group as our Renaissance Man of the Year. The Man of the Year Award represents annual recognition to the individual that exemplifies outstanding community leadership and service to the Buffalo region, and Mr. Koelmel is a standout in this area.

During his tenure as CEO, Mr. Koelmel has led First Niagara’s growth from an $8 billion savings institution with 1,009 branches in Upstate New York to what is now a top-25 regional commercial bank, which will have almost $40 billion in assets and more than 430 branches in New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Massachusetts.

Koelmel serves on several boards in addition to First Niagara’s, including Kaleida Health, where he serves as Chairman, Great Lakes Health and the New York Bankers Association. He was also recently appointed to the WNY Regional Council.

Throughout his career, he has been actively involved with, and has had leadership roles in, numerous other community organizations located in Buffalo and Western New York. The Buffalo Renaissance Foundation is pleased to announce that proceeds from this year’s Spring Luncheon will benefit the First Niagara Mentoring Matters Program. That program provides monetary and employee volunteer support to organized mentoring initiatives.

SCULPTURAL ART INITIATIVE The first piece of public art provided through the BRF Sculptural Art Initiative was dedicated in November at the southeast corner of Ellicott and High Streets on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. The piece is the first of a series of five public art pieces to be placed in our community in the coming years. "Our intention is to collaborate with organizations around the city to tell the story of Buffalo," said Jake Schneider, founder and director of the Buffalo Renaissance Foundation. "We are thrilled to install the first piece on such a high visibility location on the growing Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus." Indeed, the story of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus illustrates the potential for development and expansion in a downtown Buffalo experiencing its own rebirth.
In this photo, the first piece of public art is unveiled on the buffalo niagara medical campus.
new leadership

Eugene G. Kershner, a partner with the accounting firm of Chiampou Travis Besaw & Kershner LLP., was appointed the 22nd President of the Buffalo Renaissance Foundation in January at the Annual Meeting of Directors. Kershner has been an active Director since 2003, and Treasurer of the organization since 2004.

In addition to Kershner, the Renaissance Foundation elected its 2012 officers, James F. Dentinger, Vice President; Michael J. Montante – Second Vice President; Christopher D. Ross – Treasurer and Matthew K. Enstice – Secretary. Joining the officers on the Executive Committee are Luncheon Chair Hugh M. Russ, Golf Chair John K. S. Cleary, Veterans Chair Maurice L. Naylon, Outreach Chair John A. Polvino, Sustainer Chair Gary M. Stott and past presidents C. Jacob Schneider and David R. Pfalzgraf Jr. Scott McManigle was named the Executive Director, effective January 1, 2012.

Veteran's Luncheon

The fourth annual Veterans Luncheon was held this past November at The Buffalo Club and the first Buffalo Renaissance Foundation Veterans Scholarship was awarded to Frank Grillo, a student at Daemen College.

On September 11, 2001, Frank decided to join the Army after spending an agonizing two days without being able to contact his family who lived and worked in New York. In May of 2003 Frank was deployed to Baghdad as a 91 Whiskey, Combat Medic with 1st Armored Division. Always on the front line Frank did three tours in places such as Sadr City, Ramadi, Talifar, and Kirkuk. He is currently a Mentor at the Veterans Treatment Court and studying Social Work at Daemen College.

The 2012 Veteran’s Luncheon is scheduled for Friday, November 9, 2012 at The Buffalo Club. Please contact Executive Director, Scott McManigle at if you are interested in attending

Save the Date
November 9

Buffalo Renaissance Foundation 2011
Board of Directors
Anthony P. Amigone
Donald V. Brown
John K.S. Cleary
William S. Cleary
Thomas J. Comer, Jr.
Peter G. Demakos
James F. Dentinger
Matthew K. Enstice
Andrew L. Fors
Timothy J. Geiger
Richard N. Gilbert, MD
Williams Gurney
Scott Hoffman
James E. Iglewski
James F. Jerge
Charles G. Jones, Jr.
Anthony G. Jordan
Eugene G. Kershner, CPA
Peter S. Marlette
Tod Martin
Michael P. Modrzynski
Michael J. Montante
Maurice L. Naylon III
Benjamin N. Obletz
David R. Pfalzgraf, Jr.
John A. Polvino
Thomas S. Quealy
Christopher D. Ross
Hugh M. Russ III
C. Jacob Schneider
James S. Segarra, CPA
John F. Somers
Thomas J. Vanner
Paul V. Vukelic
Walter J. Zurowski

Executive Director
Scott McManigle

BRF SUPPORTS VISIT BUFFALO NIAGARA SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGN From the proceeds from our 2011 Spring Luncheon, the BRF has helped underwrite a webisode series produced by Visit Buffalo Niagara that promotes Buffalo’s cultural attractions, special events, culinary scene and local traditions. These webisodes were produced and distributed over the past year and run approximately one to two minutes in length. They feature hosts that take viewers on an insider’s tour of Buffalo, giving potential visitors the chance to see Buffalo through the eyes of a knowledgeable local.

“This gift has really positioned Buffalo to be on the forefront of social media video distribution for tourism,” said Visit Buffalo Niagara President and CEO Dottie Gallagher-Cohen. “Since we launched This Place Matters, Buffalo For Real, and the Buffalo For Real TV videos we have over 500,000 views on You Tube. We haven’t found a convention bureau in the country who is enjoying that level of success.”



To learn more about the Buffalo Renaissance Foundation, visit
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