Showing strength in the face of unthinkable tragedy
The Buffalo Together Community Response Fund (BTCRF) was created to work together toward a more just and equitable community after the horrific mass shooting in Buffalo, NY, on May 14, 2022. A person filled with hate and racism targeted a thriving local grocery store in a historically Black neighborhood and killed 10 members of our community because of the color of their skin. Three others were injured and countless others in our community were traumatized.
The BTCRF is a collaboration of 14 local funding organizations coordinated by the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo and United Way of Buffalo & Erie County with support from 100 local and national foundations and corporations, as well as more than 2,000 community members.
To date, we have raised $6.2 million. Our first priority was to support black-led organizations mobilizing resources in the neighborhood to enable them to respond to immediate critical neighborhood needs utilizing $655,000 in grants distributed to 86 organizations.
Now, our work addresses conditions resulting from long-standing structural racism and lack of investment that have harmed communities of color and blocked investment in East Side neighborhoods. With local residents leading the effort, we expect to turn the remaining funds into long-term initiatives to support and lift the neighborhoods east of Main Street.
Progress to date
- May 2022: Collaborative group of funders, coordinated by the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo and the United Way of Buffalo, formed the Buffalo Together Community Response Fund; more than 100 local and national foundations and 2,000 community members contributed.
- June 2022: More than $655,000 in grant funding is distributed to 86 Black-led organizations working in the community in the immediate aftermath of the shooting to provide food access, mental health services, and to address critical community needs.
- August 2022: Dr. LaVonne Ansari, CEO and executive director of the Community Health Center of Buffalo, Inc.; and Thomas Beauford, Jr., president and CEO of the Buffalo Urban League, accepted an invitation to co-chair a community-led initiative to address systemic issues and structural racism on the East Side.
- September 2022: 15 community members were chosen to participate on the Steering Committee with the responsibility to develop priorities and a plan of action to address critical issues that will address racial inequities.
- October 2022: The Steering Committee, with separate funding from local philanthropic organizations, hired Minneapolis-based Rainbow Research to lead the process.
- November 2022: Steering Committee and consultant are publicly announced and began work.
- January 2023: Rainbow Research was on the ground in Buffalo for a site visit. The team met with community leaders, funders and residents and spent time walking around the East Side with members of the Steering Committee to better understand the neighborhoods.
- February 2023: Rainbow Research completed a background literature review, which you can read here.
- March 2023: The Rainbow Research team was back in Buffalo to continue meeting with community members, including faith-based leaders, business leaders, Block Club leaders, elected officials, community residents, organizers and advocates.
- May 2023: In May through July, Rainbow Research will be completing a planning matrix and investment options list for review and prioritization with a goal of delivering a final community investment strategy at the end of 2023.
News & press releases
Buffalo Together Community Response Fund Announces Formation of Community-Led Steering Committee
Members chosen based on experience, insight and connection to East Buffalo CommunityRead more
June 24, 2022, Announcement
Buffalo Together Community Response Fund Announces Additional Grantees, Fund Co-Chairs and Updated Fund TotalRead more
May 27, 2022, Announcement
Buffalo Together Community Response Fund Announces Effort to Address Community Need after Jefferson Avenue TragedyRead more
The BTCRF was created to address conditions resulting from long-standing structural racism and lack of investment that have harmed communities of color and blocked investment in East Side neighborhoods. The BTCRF can only provide funding to nonprofit 501(c)3 organizations.
The BTCRF is a collaboration of 14 local funding organizations coordinated by the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo and United Way of Buffalo and Erie County.
Thanks to the generosity of more than 100 corporations and foundations, as well as over 2,000 individuals from around the country, the BTCRF has raised $6.2M.
When the Buffalo Together Community Response Fund formed, it chose to use only “East Buffalo.” However, after engaging with community members through the community investment planning process facilitated by Rainbow Research, the Steering Committee has now determined that, from now on, it will honor the community’s prideful self-identification as the “East Side.” All communication from May 14, 2023, forward will refer to work of BTCRF as work by-for-on the “East Side.”
Why and how does the language or names we use to describe things matter? Read more here.
Currently, the BTCRF is not distributing emergency response grants.