BNMC Shifts Existing Grant Funding to Increase Capacity of Local Food Supply Chain During Pandemic

BNMC Shifts Existing Grant Funding to Support Efforts of Farmers, Not-for-Profit Organizations, and Small Distributors to Increase Capacity of Local Food Supply Chain During Pandemic

Projects Support the Longer-Term Goal of Improving Access to Institutional Procurement


BUFFALO, NY—The Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Inc. (BNMC) has partnered with four local organizations to support projects that will increase the food system resiliency in our community. A total of $20,000 has been distributed to local partners to support the production and distribution of local foods, as well as the sustainability and growth of small farms and distribution businesses that may be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The funding has been made available through “BNMC Fresh: Farm to Hospital Implementation,” an existing three-year grant that the BNMC received in 2018 through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Local Food Promotion Program.

This collaborative initiative is designed to create a model that prioritizes local agriculture from New York State, enabling farms to access new markets (hospitals), and can be replicated across the state. The initiative is expected to create a culture that embraces local farms through prioritizing local procurement; establishes and expands community supported agriculture (CSA) and farmers’ market programs; establishes food chain transparency; increases awareness and knowledge among consumers of local food procurement efforts; and provides knowledge and skill-building opportunities to agribusiness stakeholders (farmers, distributor, food service teams). This project ultimately aims to make local procurement a regular practice and culture among health care institutions.

“Our grant manager at USDA was very understanding about our efforts to increase healthy local foods in hospitals slowing as our health care partners shift their full attention to caring for our community during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Marla Guarino, BNMC’s Farm to Institution Program Coordinator “We were able to redistribute the funds originally earmarked for conferences, travel, and longer-term strategies that are currently on hold, and expand the scope of the initiative to have a more immediate impact on making our local food system more resilient.”

Guarino added, “Implementing these short-term wins more quickly supports the overall goal of the grant – increasing the ability of small farmers and organizations to play a role in institutional procurement, such as hospitals, colleges and universities, prisons, and school districts.”

In order to support the local food chain supply quickly during the pandemic, the BNMC team looked to extend projects with existing partner organizations, primarily focusing on infrastructure capital improvement; equipment; and data enhancement.  Priority was given to projects that were able to be completed within 4-6 months; collaborative efforts; minority and women-led; and infrastructure moving toward institutional procurement in the future. All final decisions required wp-contentroval from the BNMC USDA grants manager.

The team worked with the USDA in April for wp-contentroval to redirect funding, and identified the priority projects with partner organizations in May. All organizations received the funding over the summer and are well on their way to enacting change.

The following four organizations each received $5,000:

St. John’s Baptist Church, God’s Farm’acy Mobile Truck

God’s Farm’acy is a mobile food truck and raised garden initiative that distributes hot meals, fruits, and vegetables for free throughout the Fruit Belt and other underserved communities. The team at St. John’s also uses the truck to offer healthy cooking classes in the community.  They used the funds to add refrigeration to the mobile food truck, allowing them to help eliminate food desserts by increasing access to fresh foods and nutrition information. Received: Funds toward refrigeration for Mobile Truck

Groundwork Market Garden: Groundwork Market Garden is a family-owned farm on the East Side of Buffalo. GMG received funds to develop and promote a digital catalog of local farm products available for purchase. This digital catalog will be updated regularly and used to secure business with larger institutions that small farms traditionally do not serve. GMG plans to include all local urban growers into the catalog as a way to procure larger contracts and promote local farms. Received: Funds for development of digital catalog, on-line marketplace and marketing support

“These funds are helping to bring our farm up to speed with the current trend for local food to be available through online marketplaces,” said Anders Gunnersen, GMG cofounder. “The online catalog will separate our products by retail and wholesale and will be used as a means to sell produce, and as a marketing tool for our farm to reach more people and institutions in the city of Buffalo and Western NY. This project is going to streamline our sales processes and tracking, and better market our products to a much larger and broader audience.”

Produce Peddlers: Produce Peddlers is an online marketplace for buying and selling produce that prevents food waste and saves money. They received funds to reconfigure its delivery van with a refrigeration unit to increase its ability to deliver fresh and local perishable goods to consumers and businesses in the WNY region. When the COVID-19 pandemic closed many businesses, farmers and other suppliers started to back up on product. In an attempt to help, Produce Peddlers opened its marketplace to individual consumers, who were also looking for alternative avenues to source their food that didn’t involve having to go out in public places. Refrigeration will allow Produce Peddlers to handle more goods safely, be GHP compliant, and streamline its delivery methods. Received: Funds for refrigeration for mobile truck

“The ability to refrigerate our delivery vehicle has propelled our business to new heights!” said Gina Wieczorek, Co-founder, VP Operations, Produce Peddlers. “We are now able to safely transport and deliver all sorts of locally grown and produced food, including animal products, meat and other processed items, to restaurants, schools and institutions all over WNY without breaking the cold chain.”

Urban Fruits & Veggies: Urban Fruits & Veggies is an urban agriculture business with two urban farms and a mobile produce market focused on providing access and nutrition education to underserved communities in the WNY area. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, they are growing three times as much as they usually do to support requests for food delivery, and therefore need additional growing supplies, specifically refrigeration equipment. They also need office equipment to facilitate data tracking and growing partnerships with organizations and established programs to ensure they are addressing the social determinants to health. Received: Funds for computer, laptop and printer


About the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Inc.

The Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus (BNMC): re-imagining our city’s future through the dynamic intersection of technology, health, discovery, and collaboration. The BNMC is a social enterprise focused on cultivating inclusive innovation in partnership with our community. We do this by improving infrastructure, managing our transportation system, creating a culture of health and wellbeing, driving innovation, and working with our partners to continue to build an innovative district that reflects the best of our community. In addition, the BNMC owns and operates more than 150,000 sq ft of incubator space, helping to grow a diverse array of emerging and mature companies through dynamic workspace, programming, and networking. www.bnmc-old.local


For more information: Marla Guarino, 716.867.9528


IC Success: Back to School Business Academy Virtual Series Begins Oct. 6th

IC Success: Back to School Business Academy

This free, eight-week webinar series will help you build and grow your business. Now is the time to invest your time and effort in yourself!

The BNMC’s IC Success: Back to School Business Academy webinar series runs every Tuesday from October 6th – November 24th from 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm via Zoom. See below for the topic each week.

Register now for the entire series.

Zoom links will be shared after registration. We recommend attending all 8 sessions to get the most out of this series.

IC Success is an education series started by the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Inc. (BNMC) in 2019 as way to create pathways and building blocks for success in the small business community. BNMC is committed to helping all small businesses, including women, minority, and Veteran-owned businesses and enterprises to reach their full potential.

Attend all eight sessions and receive one free month at dig at the Innovation Center, the region’s best co-working space!

October 6th – So You Want to Start a Business – Now What?

20 questions to ask yourself, including: Who is my customer and how can I make them feel valued?; What is my product(s)/service(s)?; and What type of legal structure would be best for me to operate my business?

October 13th – Working through Start-up Costs

To properly understand if this will ultimately be a profitable business, we must do an analysis of all of the costs you will encounter to start and run your business. We will work through those on a provided worksheet. This will ultimately help us to determine what the price should be for your various product(s) and/or service(s).

October 20th – Creating Pricing and Revenue Projections – Will This Company Be Able to Make Money?

We will use provided Excel worksheets to determine fixed costs and variable costs to set a price for your products and services. From there, we can create revenue projections. Also, if the company is profitable, what are some investment options to manage the excess cash flow?

October 27th – Putting It All Together and Creating Pro-forma Financial Statements

We will use our Projected Revenue worksheets created in Excel and our Fixed and Variable cost worksheets to create the major pro-forma financial statements including an income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow projections.

November 3rd – Marketing and Building Parts of the Business Plan

We will create a marketing plan including a definition of your customer and how to make those customers feel valued through customer satisfaction. We will include a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Opportunities, Weaknesses and Threats) for your specific business.

November 10th – Management/Operations/Human Resources, Completing the Business Plan, and Legally Filing Your Business in Erie County

We answer questions such as, “Do I need a license to operate my business,” and “How do I file a business name in Erie County?” And, operationally, “What software packages can help me operate my business?” In addition, we will go over the “Guide to doing Business in Erie County” that is on the Erie County website. We will cover the major laws that you will need to know about if you hire employees, and how to retain and motivate those employees.

November 17th – Local Guest Speakers who have had Business Success

Open questions for entrepreneurs in our area who have already had success! Ask them what you would like to hear about! Perhaps, “How do you manage the life/work balance with this business operation taking up so much of your time.” Ask anything!

November 24th – Panel of Subject Matter Experts, Including CPA, Attorney, Insurance and a Banker

We will cover basics of taxes and the legal structure of your business. And, “Do I need an insurance agent, an attorney and a banker?”

This series will be led by Kerry Collard, MBA, a former banking executive who has taught in the field of Business Administration and Entrepreneurship for over nineteen years at local colleges in the Buffalo area.

BNMC Inc., Mission:Ignite & Say Yes Buffalo Provide Computers for Students

BNMC Inc. Partners with Mission:Ignite & Say Yes Buffalo to Provide Home Computers for Buffalo Public School Students

More Support Needed to Increase Available Computers

BUFFALO (April 6, 2020) – Three Buffalo not-for-profit organizations partnered to provide desktop computers to Buffalo Public School students who would otherwise not have access to this technology at home. More than 65 families will receive computers through an initial donation of $5,000, and the partners are seeking additional donations from individuals and corporations to reach even more families. For the cost of $150, Mission:Ignite will refurbish and certify a computer, and Say Yes will distribute to their families.

The first 20 computers were distributed on April 6th at P.S. 89 Dr. Lydia T. Wright School of Excellence and P.S. 80 Highgate Heights Elementary, with additional computers delivered on April 16th to South Park High School, PR 74 and iPrep Academy.

“When I thought about education shifting to homes when the schools began closing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, my mind immediately went to the technology gap,” said Sam Marrazzo, BNMC’s Chief Innovation Officer. “I knew that Mission:Ignite could help provide the hardware, so we reached out to Say Yes to see if they could help with the connection to the families. We hope to see other companies and individuals step up as well to help make sure kids have access to technology during these times.”

“We immediately agreed to help when we got Sam’s call,” said Christine Carr, Executive Director for Mission:Ignite. “Providing technology solutions for kids is our core mission. We are able to build computers relatively quickly to meet the tremendous needs of our community.”

“We were thrilled that BNMC and Mission:Ignite wp-contentroached us with this idea,” said David Rust, Executive Director of Say Yes Buffalo. “Our team has been providing basic needs to the 500+ families in Buffalo that we serve, and we know that parents are concerned that their kids will fall behind in school without access to the right technology.”

Say Yes Buffalo Family Support Specialists and BPS Principals will work to determine families with the highest need to distribute the laptops. The first 20 computers were distributed this morning.

For more information about how you can get involved with this initiative, including donate online, visit or contact Sam Marrazzo at smarrazzo@bnmc-old.local.


Mission: Ignite, Buffalo’s source for affordable technology and refurbished computers; the BNMC, Inc., an organization focused on furthering economic growth, igniting urban revitalization, and building a strong thriving community; and Say Yes Buffalo, dedicated to strengthening the Western New York economy by investing in the education of Buffalo’s future workforce.



REDDY BikeShare Has Best Year Yet!

Big things are hwp-contentening on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus! As REDDY BikeShare celebrates 2019 being its fourth and most successful season – including its bike fleet hitting 200 and expanding to Niagara Falls – the Innovation Center tenant gears up for another successful season with even more in store for the 2020! (Not to mention handing out some free REDDY memberships to some lucky Buffalo bikers!) CLICK HERE to read REDDY’s full Buffalo Rising feature and learn more about what they have going on!

BNMC “Sparks” Creativity and Innovation in Neighborhoods

We are thrilled to announce our 3rd year of BNMC Spark – the BNMC’s micro-grant program that showcases creative ideas and strategies to support partners and stakeholders within the neighborhoods surrounding the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.
We invite community members and organizations to submit proposals to receive funding for initiatives that advance the goals of BNMC and the local community. The BNMC’s key goals include:

    • Build an inclusive and collaborative culture of innovation that drives economic development and creates vibrant, healthy communities.
    • Ensure our district is attractive, welcoming, and accessible – a quality place to work, live, visit and invest in.

There is $40,000 available to the community through this RFP. The maximum award amount for each project will be $5,000.

Learn more about the projects we funded in 2019 and 2018. Watch our recent video featuring some of our Spark grantees.

The deadline for wp-contentlications is February 28, 2020. Learn more at bnmc-old.local/spark or contact Kyria Stephens at kstephens@bnmc-old.local.

BNMC to Host Annual Last Minute Holiday Market on December 19

Join us for our annual Last Minute Holiday Market

on December 19th!


‘Tis the season to buy local! Stop by our annual holiday market to pick out unique gifts for your friends and family. Interested in tabling at this event? Vendors must register by December 16th at


dig at the Innovation Center, 640 Ellicott St., 1st floor


December 19th from 11:30am-1:30pm


All participating vendors are locally owned-small businesses. We will have lunch available for purchase from our Collision Cafe vendors, including Lime House, R&R BBQ and Green Eats Kitchen.




Your Innovation Center Presents: IC Success!

Your Innovation Center Presents: IC Success!

These NEW workshops are facilitated by minority & women owned small businesses, and designed to inspire creativity, leadership and entrepreneurial thinking in an inclusive, welcoming environment.

FREE childcare will be provided by ABC Learn & Play from 6:15-8:15pm for every session!

Registration is required via the links below.

Digital Media Marketing with Crews Control Media 

Tuesdays from 6:30-8pm  | October 15th-November 19th

Financial Literacy & Credit Building with Clarity Credit Repair

Thursdays from 6:30-8pm | October 17th-November 21st


Refreshments provided for attendees.

Plenty of on-street parking is available outside the Innovation Center, as well as in the parking lot across the street. We are also a short walk from the Allen/Medical Campus NFTA station and along several bus routes.

Celebrating Community at our 3rd Annual Summer Block Party

Celebrating Community at our 3rd Annual Summer Block Party

OK! Normally I have a more formal writing style, but we are fam so I’m going to just hit you with this info. I’m not trying to give you FOMO or anything, but… if you missed BNMC’s 3rd Annual Summer Block Party, you missed a lot! People are saying that it was the best one yet. It had everything that makes a great party. View our Facebook photo album to see all the smiling faces!

Great venue: The weather was a perfect 73 degrees with a slight breeze on August 22nd at Kaminski Park & Gardens at Roswell Park.

Great food: Frank Gourmet Hot Dogs served up nearly 1,000 hot dogs at the event! Aunt Connie’s Ed-U- Kitchen brought her iconic smoothie bike (you know, the one that you get on and it powers the blender to make the smoothie), plus delicious watermelon and salad. James the Ice Cream Dude with his ice cream bike. There is nothing like a Bomb Pop on a summer day!

Great music: DJ P was on the 1’s and 2’s spinning some upbeat tunes. His energy and presence on the mic keep the party going. We also had the A-Team Band who hopped on the instruments and played some hits from the 90s and early 2000s.

Dancing: With music like that you can’t help but dance! We did all the line dances, but Zumba was clearly the biggest hit. Thanks to Kelly Patton for helping us dance some of those calories off.

Games: We had Clown Around Entertainment provide our Carnival Games, face painting, and a dunk tank which the kids and families loved!

The best part of all was the GREAT people. There were almost 1,000 people who attended this year, including employees, patients, students, and neighbors who all came together to create an amazing family-friendly event.

Next year we plan to do it even bigger and better!

Celebrating Community at our 3rd Annual Summer Block Party

Celebrating Community at our 3rd Annual Summer Block Party

OK! Normally I have a more formal writing style, but we are fam so I’m going to just hit you with this info. I’m not trying to give you FOMO or anything, but… if you missed BNMC’s 3rd Annual Summer Block Party, you missed a lot! People are saying that it was the best one yet. It had everything that makes a great party. View our Facebook photo album to see all the smiling faces!

Great venue: The weather was a perfect 73 degrees with a slight breeze on August 22nd at Kaminski Park & Gardens at Roswell Park.

Great food: Frank Gourmet Hot Dogs served up nearly 1,000 hot dogs at the event! Aunt Connie’s Ed-U- Kitchen brought her iconic smoothie bike (you know, the one that you get on and it powers the blender to make the smoothie), plus delicious watermelon and salad. James the Ice Cream Dude with his ice cream bike. There is nothing like a Bomb Pop on a summer day!

Great music: DJ P was on the 1’s and 2’s spinning some upbeat tunes. His energy and presence on the mic keep the party going. We also had the A-Team Band who hopped on the instruments and played some hits from the 90s and early 2000s.

Dancing: With music like that you can’t help but dance! We did all the line dances, but Zumba was clearly the biggest hit. Thanks to Kelly Patton for helping us dance some of those calories off.

Games: We had Clown Around Entertainment provide our Carnival Games, face painting, and a dunk tank which the kids and families loved!

The best part of all was the GREAT people. There were almost 1,000 people who attended this year, including employees, patients, students, and neighbors who all came together to create an amazing family-friendly event.

Next year we plan to do it even bigger and better!

Four New Summer Eats on or Near Campus!

Four New Summer Eats on or Near Campus!

August is here, and while there’s still plenty of summer left, we don’t have to tell you that now is the perfect time to get out and explore while the weather is beautiful. Here are some new spots we think you should check out for lunch or when you just need a mid-day pick me up.

The Healthy Scratch – This Harbor Center staple now has two locations on the BNMC! As you probably know. The Healthy Scratch is at Roswell Park and has most recently opened shop at Buffalo General Medical Center, featuring a wide variety of nutritious food and drink options. From nitro-brewed coffee to cold-pressed juices to smoothie bowls and sandwiches, the Healthy Scratch is the perfect spot to grab a snack or have a healthy lunch. Check out their website for a complete menu & hours of operation.

Buffalo Tikka House – Located at 23 Allen Street, the Buffalo Tikka House serves an authentic Bangladeshi and Indian Halal Cuisine. The new restaurant has received several reviews praising the flavor of their rich food and variety of dishes. They have an extensive menu, including vegetarian options and several variations of fresh naan. Buffalo Tikka House is open seven days a week for both lunch and dinner, and is available on GrubHub. Learn more about Buffalo Tikka House here!

Farmers’ Markets – Pick up farm fresh fruit, veggies and other delicious goodies at one of our local farmers’ markets –

  • Downtown Country Market – Tuesdays & Thursdays from 10am-2:30pm at Main & Court St.
  • MAP Mobile Market – Thursdays from 10am-12pm at the Moot Senior Center, 292 High St. & Tuesday 11am – 1pm at the Salvation Army, 960 Main St.
  • Roswell Park’s Market in the Park – Wednesdays from 11am-1:30pm at Kaminski Park & Gardens (Elm & Carlton Streets)

BNMC Food Truck Rodeo – We’re proud to host Buffalo’s largest daily Food Truck Rodeo at Washington & Carlton St! Every weekday from 11am-1:30pm, our Food Truck Rodeo features 2-5 trucks, each with a different specialty and cuisine. You’re sure to find your favorite trucks, including Lloyd’s, Amy’s Truck, Thai Me Up, and so many more! This location has plenty of outdoor seating, plus music and lawn games to create the perfect lunch break.

Explore Our Neighborhoods this Spring!

Explore Our Neighborhoods this Spring!

With the weather getting (slightly) warmer, now is the perfect time to re-discover all of the amazing amenities our neighborhoods have to offer. Dozens of shops and restaurants are just a quick walk away. Don’t forget – the businesses along Allen Street are open during construction! Check out our list of explorer businesses here that offer discounts to every BNMC Neighborhood Explorer.

Not a neighborhood explorer yet? Find out how to become one today. This free amenity is available to everyone who works on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.

BNMC 2nd Annual Summer Block Party



On Wednesday, August 8th, the BNMC hosted its 2nd Annual Summer Block Party in partnership with the University at Buffalo and Roswell Park. This fun, festive event was free and open to employees who work on the BNMC and members of the community, featuring a BBQ dinner, live music, community organizations, lawn games and more!

BNMC to Host 2nd Annual Summer Block Party

Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, University at Buffalo and Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center to Host Block Party for Employees, Neighbors in Fruit Belt, Allentown and Downtown


Free family-friendly event to include music, food and fun and a way for employees and neighbors to connect


The 2nd Annual BNMC Summer Block Party is a summer evening of fun and friendship (old & new!) for employees who work on the BNMC and neighbors from surrounding neighborhoods including the Fruit Belt, Allentown and Downtown.

The free, family-friendly, alcohol-free event is designed to bring together Medical Campus employees with local residents in a social, fun setting. The Block Party will feature live music from the Unity Band and DJ Sike. Also included are kids’ activities, food, health & wellness information and representation from community organizations that may be of interest to employees and local residents.


Wednesday, August 8, 2018 from 4:30 PM – 7:30 PM


Kaminski Park & Gardens on Carlton & Elm Street at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center

BNMC Invites Employees and Local Restaurants, Shops & Service Providers to Participate in Neighborhood Explorer Program

BNMC Invites Employees and Local Restaurants, Shops & Service Providers to Participate in Neighborhood Explorer Program

Discount program designed to encourage Medical Campus employees to support local businesses

With an influx of students and new employees after the opening of the John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital and UB Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, the BNMC, Inc. has re-launched and rebranded its Neighborhood Explorer Program to better connect the 16,000 employees and students on Campus with area businesses.

The Neighborhood Explorer program provides a variety of discounts to Medical Campus employees at wp-contentroximately 80 participating area businesses in Allentown, the Fruit Belt and Downtown. The BNMC developed this program to encourage its employees to buy local and support the restaurants, shops, and service providers in the neighborhoods around the Medical Campus. With a growing population on the Medical Campus and new and existing businesses looking for their patronage, the BNMC decided to re-launch the program, invite new businesses to participate, and highlight the program to employees.

Participating businesses determine wp-contentropriate discounts to encourage Campus employees to try their products or services and are identified with a newly rebranded Neighborhood Explorer window cling that can be displayed in an entranceway or window to draw traffic. Medical Campus employees can receive a BNMC Neighborhood Explorer sticker to adhere to their ID badge that should be presented to businesses in order to obtain the discount offered.

Employees can sign up for the new sticker and view a list of participating businesses at Stickers will be available for pick up at the Innovation Center lobby at 640 Ellicott Street on Wednesdays between 11:30am-1:30pm or at the Roswell Park’s Market in the Park this summer.


BNMC Awards Micro-Grants to 17 Local Organizations  

BNMC Awards Micro-Grants to 17 Local Organizations  

Awarded programs and projects aim to showcase creative ideas and strengthen community

 The Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus has selected 17 organizations out of more than 60 wp-contentlicants to receive a total of $36,500 in its first annual BNMC Spark micro-grant program. Local community members and organizations were invited to wp-contently for grant funding for projects and programs that help to showcase the neighborhoods adjacent to the Medical Campus as active, vibrant places. Among those selected include El Museo’s Art in Transit Project, Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor’s “Salute to African American History Makers,” and a Community Wellness Initiative organized by the Mulberry Street Block Club.   Funded programs include art projects, wellness programs, preservation efforts and skills development initiatives and many others.  A full list of winners can be found at www.bnmc-old.local/spark.

According to Marc Pope, Community Program Manager for the BNMC, “The scope and variety of wp-contentlications was very impressive and it was difficult to narrow down the field to our final choices. The number of innovative ideas we received speaks to the community’s grassroots initiatives and creativity that will truly benefit local neighborhoods. We are proud to support the efforts of these community leaders to get their programs and projects off the ground or over the finish line.”

The Spark grants help programs or projects in a targeted zone around the Medical Campus that align with BNMC’s key goals of cultivating a safe accessible, active, and inclusive district that fosters health and wellbeing and is supported by smart sustainable infrastructure; strengthening the community with economic opportunities benefiting local youth, residents, businesses, and neighborhoods; and driving innovation, job growth, and economic development. Priority was also given to those initiatives that focus on access to healthy food and active living opportunities; neighborhood improvements including beautification, walkability and enhanced transportation options; arts and culture; energy and sustainability; youth and education; and access to jobs and economic opportunities.

BNMC Spark grants are designed to help organizations address funding needs or gaps for programs or projects that can be completed in 2018. While the BNMC has supported local organizations and initiatives for many years, the BNMC Sparks micro-grant program was developed to formalize the process and to attract new programs and organizations that are aligned with the BNMC’s overall goals.

BNMC Relaunches Neighborhood Explorer Program!

BNMC’s Neighborhood Explorer Program  is designed to better connect our 16,000 employees with more than 75 local businesses around the Medical Campus in the Allentown, Fruit Belt, and Downtown neighborhoods, and offers employees the opportunity to enjoy discounts and experience businesses in the area in a fun and exciting way.

Take the Neighborhood Explorer Survey!


  • Employees  receive  BNMC Neighborhood Explorer Sticker to be adhered on the back of employer ID badge.
  • ID badge with sticker must be presented to businesses in order to receive discount.
  • Businesses will also receive newly rebranded window clings to help identify themselves as a participating business offering employees a discount.
  • View participating businesses and discounts offered at



Patronize and discover local businesses near the Medical Campus, experience our neighborhoods, and become a part of the community. Sign-up to receive the Neighborhood Explorer Card and start enjoying the benefits of the community you work in!

BNMC Works MWBE Networking Event

On September 26, BNMC, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Kaleida Health, University at Buffalo and ECMC held our free Annual BNMC Works MWBE Networking Event at UB’s Educational Opportunity Center. More than 100 people attended this event designed to connect small, local businesses, particularly those that are minority, women or veteran-owned, with those that make purchasing decisions for the institutions on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and partner institutions.

Cornell Career Explorations with HYPE

Earlier this month our Healthy Communities Director, Jonathan McNeice attended Career Explorations, a three-day event held on the Cornell University campus facilitated by Cornell’s 4-H Program. Local teens and members of our HYPE (Healthy Youth Positive Energy) youth group gained exposure to academic fields and career exploration, developed leadership skills, and learned about what it’s like to be on a college campus. Teens chose a specific program area (i.e. animal science, food science, physics, horticulture, human services and natural resources to name a few) and explored that area with college students and experts in the field.

Intro to Marc Pope, BNMC’s Community Program Manager & Four Neighborhoods, One Community Recap

In our efforts to support sustainable communities around the Campus, it is essential that we keep an open dialogue with the neighborhoods that border the Medical Campus.  I believe the buildings on the Medical Campus are not walls, but a catalyst of socio-economic change for Buffalo. That’s why a meeting like Four Neighborhoods, One Community is vital to creating a MutualCity, so we can work together to change our city’s future. – Marc Pope

The next Four Neighborhoods, One Community meeting will be held on Wednesday, September 20th in LEARN at the Innovation Center (640 Ellicott, 1st floor).

A Conversation with Marc Pope, Community Program Manager

Marc Pope recently joined the BNMC team as Community Program Manager, a newly created position. Marc will be responsible for overseeing programs that benefit local residents and community engagement initiatives.  He will focus on programs designed to promote economic opportunity, including local hiring and purchasing, health and wellness and the Neighborhood Solar Partnership.

How does your varied background working in customer service and the political world intersect with your new position at the BNMC?

As Senator Tim Kennedy’s community liaison, I worked with many community stakeholder groups and had the opportunity to learn and listen so I think that experience will be very beneficial for my work with the BNMC.  I have had a chance to get to know many residents in the neighborhoods around the Campus through my work with Senator Kennedy and other volunteer work. Because of that experience, I have a pretty good understanding of how the community views the Medical Campus and the issues that are important to them. I also think my experience working in the life safety industry and interacting with customers helped me understand how to work with varied audiences and most importantly, how to listen – skills that I believe will be important as I work to bring programs to our surrounding neighborhoods and to gain more understanding of the types of initiatives that are important to our closest communities.

What kinds of work will you do in this new role?

My role will be to help the BNMC team implement initiatives in the community and to help develop strategies to help move forward our community-based programs. Since I have strong relationships with our local elected officials and with community leaders and residents, I believe I can help move programs forward and help to promote them through channels that residents trust and rely on. I will specifically be working on economic opportunity initiatives that connect small businesses to the member institutions and that connect local residents to career opportunities on the Medical Campus.

As a native of Wilmington, Delaware and a relatively new transplant to Buffalo in 2014, what are your immediate impressions?

Buffalo’s rich history presents its greatest opportunities. There are lots of diverse neighborhoods and backgrounds that are celebrated like St. Patrick’s Day, Dyngus Day and Juneteenth that allow you to wp-contentreciate everyone’s heritage. I believe it’s important to continue to bring diverse communities together to build trust and continue Buffalo’s progress. From the arts to food, Buffalo’s cultural diversity is what unites communities. Having lived in cities like Wilmington and Philadelphia, I am excited to see the direction that Buffalo is heading in; making the city a sustainable place for everyone to live and work.

What attracted you to work at the BNMC?

I was interested primarily because I know the BNMC is doing a great job and I like the direction that it is headed.  I want to continue to ensure that the community is aware of all of the positive things that are hwp-contentening here and the positive impact that it has on the overall community. I am looking forward to the opportunity to continue building relationships between the neighborhoods and the Campus for the benefit of both.

What else keeps you busy?

Despite leaving Senator Kennedy’s office, I still have a love for politics, particularly the strategy part of it and I expect I will find ways to get involved in upcoming campaigns.  I also am an entrepreneur, providing graphic design and social media services, and an author of soon to be two books. I strive to balance my time well so that I make time for my wife and two children.  When you spend a lot of time in the public, having quiet time away from the crowds can be really important.

Medical Campus aims to be regional beacon of wellness

Medical Campus aims to be regional beacon of wellness

The Buffalo News

Almost 15 years ago, as leaders in the Western New York health field began to hatch ideas for a new medical campus in the Buffalo Fruit Belt, a tiny nonprofit designed to help nurture the effort got its first wellness grant.

Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus Inc. has been working behind the scenes in the years since as cranes have come and gone on the 120-acre swath north of downtown, and the number of buildings has grown.

Its charge: Turn the Medical Campus into a model for healthy living across the region – and support similar efforts elsewhere.

“The campus is becoming more of a neighborhood than a medical community,” said Jonathan McNeice, who is helping plan the transformation. “Neighborhoods have people who want active things to do. They want access to food and healthy lifestyles. So the bigger picture is that we see the campus as a place of wellness and not just a place you come to for sick care.”

If the Medical Campus is to become a microcosm for a healthier Buffalo Niagara, its leaders must be able to answer key questions, including:

  • Can I walk or bike or take public transit to work?
  • Where can I find healthy food in the neighborhood?
  • Are there places to get some exercise?

Fueled by more than $7 million in grants – starting with a $200,000 Active Living by Design grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation – Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus Inc. (BNMC) and its like-minded partners have begun to change the campus in the following ways.


Justin Booth, left, and Thea Hassan, both of GObike Buffalo, helped get bike lane markings on Ellicott Street on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, and continue to work to make the campus more bicycle friendly. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

One of the largest challenges the Medical Campus faces is that almost everybody who steps foot in the neighborhood takes a car to get there.

“I think for the revitalization of any city, you need a critical mass of people so that the transit options, the bike options, the car share options will be successful,” said McNeice, a healthy communities planner on the Medical Campus. “To be a modern urban city, you want to be multi-mobile. Maybe you want to take the subway part of the way and take your bike on the subway so that if you want to ride it the rest of the way to work, or run an errand or go to lunch, you’ve got that option.”

Work has begun to double the size of a parking ramp to 1,800 spaces behind the John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital, which is expected to open late this year.

Parking for patients and visitors will continue to be paramount, but the more than 12,000 people employed on the campus are encouraged to find other means to get to and from their workplaces, McNeice said. They can visit gobnmc-old.local to learn how.

“You’re looking at a dense urban core, where people want to live and want to work because it’s exciting,” said Kari Root Bonaro, BNMC communications director. “We really would like to get more employees to take transit, to walk, to bike, to live closer to campus. There’s both the healthy living aspect as well as building community.”

Reddy Bike Share plans to boost the number of rental bikes on the Medical Campus this year. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

The nonprofit also is working with others on a larger effort,, to encourage alternative transportation across the region, BNMC Planning Manager Jamie Hamann-Burney said.

The organization helped secure $8.4 million in federal, state and local funding to upgrade Ellicott Street – the spine of the Medical Campus street grid – into a linear park with bike lanes, wider sidewalks, benches and improved lighting. Nearly $7 million more has been allocated for the Allen Street stretch that will connect Allentown to the UB medical school and rest of the campus. Pocket parks – BNMC staff likes to call them “parkettes” – also have been sprinkled throughout the neighborhood.

Reddy Bike Share provided more than a half dozen rental bikes on the campus last year and will return with more bikes in the spring, along with a free trial membership to encourage employees to take advantage of the service. The nonprofit BNMC, which is housed at the Thomas R. Beecher Jr. Innovation Center on Ellicott Street along with nearly 100 health-related startup businesses, put a shipping container in a nearby parking lot for safe, indoor bike storage.

“We’re a medical campus where we offer health care, and a great way to be healthy is by actively commuting,” McNeice said. “Part of that is having the infrastructure.”


Jonathan McNeice, left a healthy communities planner with Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus Inc., works last fall with Rosemary Wilson, a senior volunteer, in the garden at The Moot Community Center in the Fruit Belt. (John Hickey/Buffalo News)

The Moot Community Center sits five blocks east of Buffalo General Medical Center. It participates in a countywide Stay Fit Dining Program but that doesn’t serve all the nutritional needs of seniors in the Fruit Belt, many of whom have limited financial means, transportation and access to healthy foods. Four of every five seniors who use the High Street center have Type 2 diabetes, said Daysi Ball, its assistant director of development and senior services.

“We get the breads, the desserts, all of the wonderful stuff that we love to eat but aren’t necessarily the most healthy, or the best for our seniors,” Ball said. “We wp-contentreciate everything – it’s very helpful – but we wanted to figure out ways to get more fresh foods and vegetables here.”

So the community center’s leaders – with help from McNeice, Grassroots Gardens, the Massachusetts Avenue Project and the Mulberry Street and Friends Block Club – decided last year to start a community garden and host a weekly farm market at Moot.

The efforts are part of a larger strategy to bring healthier food options to those who will live, work and visit the Medical Campus and surrounding communities in years to come.

McNeice – who grew up in Canada and whose family owned the Lakeside Marketeria in Oakville, Ont. – is the point person in the effort to more meaningfully connect the campus with farmers in the region.

“I got to see the industry changing” in 1990s, when supermarket and hardware chains drove many mom and pop shops out of business, and often bypassed small local suppliers, he said.

McNeice, 38, first came to Buffalo to get his master’s degree in urban planning. He left to work on food policy and wellness planning in Toronto and Edmonton before returning to the city three years ago. While at UB, he worked in the university’s Food Lab, the key player in efforts that have begun to bear fruit on the Medical Campus when it comes to helping forge stronger bonds between hospitals, schools, retailers, community centers and farmers.

“We were fortunate to get Jonathan to come and bring a totally different perspective,” said Matthew Enstice, president and CEO of the BNMC.

Medical Campus planner Jonathan McNeice has worked in Toronto, Edmonton and Buffalo. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)









McNeice and others are at work on a Healthy Corner Store Initiative that looks to bring fresh produce into convenience stores not only on the campus but in neighborhoods across the city where access to fresh fruits and vegetables is limited.

Farmers’ markets have been established at the Salvation Army branch and Buffalo Place along the ring of campus, as well as the Moot Center. The BNMC also worked with Farmers & Artisans last year to set up a “farm-to-work table” that offered regional goods on Wednesdays at the Innovation Center.

The resurgent and growing “farm-to-table” attitude in the region helped spur six community gardens on the Medical Campus, including two fostered by Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus Inc.

Ball is among those who have seen the planning pay dividends.

Grassroots Gardens worked with Moot Center staff and volunteers to clear a patch of land off the back parking lot last spring, plant a strawberry patch and fill nine raised garden beds with vegetables that included heirloom tomatoes, broccoli, squash, kale, cucumbers “and all sorts of peppers,” Ball said. “It really was wonderful. We were not only able to harvest the vegetables here at the center – for use in our kitchen to supplement the lunches – we also were able to distribute the harvest to the seniors.”

Some seniors canned collard greens and Swiss chard, Ball said, and “there were a number of opportunities for them to learn more about the foods and how to incorporate them into their diets.

“Historically, we’ve been more of a social center where you come for social activities,” she said. “The seniors wanted health-related, tangible outcomes. We wanted to provide more preventative programs. We’ve done that.”


Attendance at yoga classes in the Innovation Center have been strong, Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus officials say. (Mark Mulville/Buffalo News)

David Longhini took his first yoga class on the Medical Campus in January, two days after he started a new job with BlueWolf, a medical sales force consulting company in the dig, or Design Innovation Garage, inside the Innovation Center on Ellicott Street.

“I was definitely down for it,” said Longhini, 24, a Dansville native who lives in the Elmwood Village. “I love everything about what’s hwp-contentening here. One of the top reasons I took the job – I left Rich Products – was to be closer to downtown, the dig and the Medical Campus. It’s very important for me to see this area thrive.”

On the fitness front, the BNMC supported a “100 Days of Summer” last year that brought the Independent Health Fitness in the Parks program onto campus for the first time. It helped throw a fitness festival last June. And the Wellness Institute of Greater Buffalo led a weekly Walking on Wednesday sojourn starting and ending outside Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

The nonprofit also has been a consistent supporter of the Buffalo Green Code, advocating for more bike lanes across Buffalo, including on the Medical Campus.

McNeice, Hamann-Burney and others have worked with GObike Buffalo as they have eyed future transportation in the neighborhood and beyond, and both nonprofits recently were among the organizations to receive a five-year, $250,000 Creating Healthy Schools & Communities grant from the state Department of Health. Among other projects, the grant will provide Healthy Workplace assessments and programming support for businesses on and off the campus.

“Broadly speaking, active living is very important,” McNeice said.

That becomes even more true, he said, on a medical campus that aspires to lead by example.

“Neighbors and communities go up and down with the times but anchor institutions can withstand that,” McNeice said. “Largely, the role we play is that steady force behind the scenes. We’re looking for gaps in how we bring things together.”

Part of the job is asking, “What if?” “How do we help improve our community?”

“What if a medical campus was a place of wellness? What does that look like?” McNeice said. “Maybe it’s a place where you’re not just coming when you’re sick but you go there to get physically active, get fit, learn to cook from scratch. That’s where our head is at going forward.”


Twitter: @BNrefresh, @ScottBScanlon