Skip to main content

Steering Committee

By design, the community will play an important role in how the Buffalo Together Community Response Fund identifies and addresses critical issues that have led to historic disinvestment and that have contributed to racial inequities on the East Side.

Two community leaders with deep ties to the community will lead the effort to focus on accelerating the revitalization of the East Side by addressing economic and racial inequities through a community-informed process resulting in a long-term investment plan. A steering committee made up of community members and those with expertise in key areas will begin to determine the next steps and to develop an action plan for the funds that have been raised thus far.

Our co-chairs

Dr. LaVonne E. Ansari

Dr. LaVonne E. Ansari

CEO and Executive Director, Community Health Center of Buffalo, Inc.

Dr. LaVonne E. Ansari, PhD, is chief executive officer and executive director of the Community Health Center of Buffalo, Inc., a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) serving over 20,000 patients annually in Erie and Niagara counties.

She is an experienced educator, administrator, and manager with over 20 years of experience in equity and diversity, workforce development, higher education, and community-based healthcare and hospital administration. She is deeply involved in the community, serving as an advisory board member of the University of Buffalo Education Opportunity Center and a commissioner on the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA). She also served as statewide chairperson for the Community Health Center Association of New York State, part of a national health advocacy group. Dr. Ansari recently participated as a panelist in the United We Stand Summit at the White House in recognition of her community service and her ongoing leadership following the 5/14 massacre.

Dr. Ansari holds a bachelor’s degree in professional studies from Brockport State College, a master’s degree in multidisciplinary studies from the State University of New York College at Buffalo, and a PhD in sociology of education from the State University of New York at Buffalo. She also received a certificate in career development and management in women’s studies from Cornell University.

Thomas Beauford, Jr.

Thomas Beauford, Jr.

President and CEO, Buffalo Urban League

Thomas Beauford Jr. was born and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y. A business executive with over 20 years of strategic leadership experience in private industry and community board service. He is currently president and CEO of the Buffalo Urban League. Beauford was appointed to lead the historical civil rights, social justice, and community empowerment organization in August 2020.

Beauford most recently served as vice president at M&T Bank in the Risk Management and Regulatory Affairs division.  Prior to this, Thomas joined HSBC Bank USA, N.A. in 2000, as part of its acquisition of Republic National Bank of New York, managing their Eastern Region Operations Center in New York City.  In 2001, he was selected for one of HSBC’s International Management Programmes, headquartered in London, UK. In 2006, Thomas relocated to Buffalo, NY with HSBC as Director of Strategic Planning, overseeing Project Management and Business Banking Contact Center, then later, operations centers locally and in Guangzhou, China. During his international assignment, he served as the Deputy Centre Manager of HSBC’s Global Service Centre, in Bengaluru, India, and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Beauford is a graduate of the State University of New York at Buffalo, holding both an Executive M.B.A. and an M.S. in Operations and Supply Chain Management.  He received a B.S. in Business Management from Saint Peter’s University and an A.A.S. in Accounting from Kingsborough Community College. Thomas was also awarded a scholarship to study at Harvard Business School’s Executive Education–Governing for Nonprofit Excellence program.

Steering Committee members

Felicia Beard

Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo

Trina Burruss

United Way of Buffalo & Erie County

Marie A. Cannon, MSW

Erie County Department of Social Services

DeAnna Eason

Housing Opportunities Made Equal, Inc.

Zeneta Everhart

Masten District Council Woman

Dr. Uzo Ihenko

Black Chamber of Commerce

Oluwole (OJ) McFoy

Buffalo Sewer Authority

James Morrell


Chiwuike Owunwanne


DeLawndrea Purdue-Grant


Garnell Whitfield

City of Buffalo