Home The District Spark Awardees

Spark Awardees

2021

The BNMC has selected 10 community organizations to receive a total of $40,000 in its annual BNMC Spark micro-grant program! This year, we were delighted to partner with the Fruit Belt Community Land Trust to make the awards. Local community members and organizations were invited to apply for grant funding for projects and programs that help to showcase the neighborhoods adjacent to the Medical Campus as active, vibrant places. Funded projects include community gardens, murals, music and art programs, and more.

2021

Buffalo Center for Arts and Technology – The Art of Play Event

This event will take place during the summer of 2021. BCAT will welcome our neighbors to create collaborative artistic banners that are inspired by music that was recently created by BCAT youth in their year-long sound production class. As music is played, participants will use paint, motion, and creative tools to produce colorful banners to create vibrant colorful works that show the collective strength of community and collaboration. The finished banners will be hung in BCAT’s front windows to brighten the neighborhood and will be offered to other community organizations such as the King Urban Life Center. Food and simple prizes will be available. Participants will also be able to make and take a small banner as a token of the day.

2021

Salvation Army Emergency Family Assistance Program

The primary focus of The Salvation Army’s Emergency Family Assistance Program is to provide food to hungry individuals. In addition to groceries, the program assists with clothing, diapers, formula, household goods, personal care items, and/or referrals. Families are also screened for and assisted with securing Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. During the holiday season, the program’s scope increases dramatically to accommodate individuals who need food, gifts, and toys. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, The Salvation Army’s Emergency Family Assistance Program has remained open to serve the community.

2021

Groundwork Buffalo

In 2020 Groundwork Buffalo built 15 brand new raised garden beds on the corner of Orange and Carlton Streets in the Fruit Belt area of the City of Buffalo and planted fresh produce and herbs yielding over 300 pounds of food that were donated to the community. This year, Groundwork will add rain barrels to the site and continue to maintain the garden beds with the goal of providing 500 pounds of fresh produce to the Fruit Belt area.

2021

Locust Street Art

LSA will create a beautification mural project with a focus on fruit trees and sustainable living. A few years ago, Fallen Fruit teamed up with UB on a worldwide project called The Endless Orchard (endlessorchard.com). LSA was the hub of the operation and 48 fruit trees and bushes were planted in residents’ yards and public spaces throughout the Fruit Belt. This year, they will fortify the project by implementing free workshops on how to properly maintain the fruit trees. During these workshops, a professional muralist will paint a large-scale mural on the exterior of LSA consisting of the blossoms, fruit, and pollinators discussed in the community workshops.

2021

Queen City Courier

Queen City Couriers is partnering with Groundwork market Garden and The Journey Church to provide free produce and delivery services to families in the fruit belt area. The food provided is all grown at the Groundwork farm located on Genesee Street. The delivery will be entirely emission-free and will be performed by bicycle.

2021

Friends of Sisti Park

The picnic tables and benches in Sist Park were first placed when the park opened in the 1970s and are well past their life span. The benches require frequent repairs and have been set on fire at least once. The picnic tables have become impossible to clean even with regular power washing.The group will work with the Deputy Commissioner of Parks, and the Buffalo Arts Commission to approve new park furnishings and to choose appropriate replacement seats and tables.

2021

Canisius College

The New Buffalo Institute at Canisius College will develop a 20-bed community garden in a vacant lot at 1635 Jefferson Avenue, between Florida Street and Northland Avenue, with recent support from three local granting organizations. Plans call for a community-engaged effort to cultivate a fresh vegetable garden and create a healthy gathering space for neighbors of the college.  A cross-section of local residents, block clubs, youth groups, and members of the faith community will build the garden, and plant, manage and tend to the vegetables throughout the growing season with support from Canisius College students.  The cultivated food will provide fresh produce to the neighboring community. Vegetables harvested will also be donated to the food pantry at the Upper Room Church of God in Christ. This new project will activate empty lots that have been underutilized and replace them with a vibrant, safe, community garden and social hub where fresh food can be grown, healthy living tips shared and social connectivity re-established. Canisius College is loaning the vacant lots at Jefferson Avenue for the development of the community gardens, which is set to get underway this summer.

2021

Tobacco-Free Western New York

A new comprehensive initiative called “Innov8tive” will heighten community awareness and increase economic development along the 800 block of Main Street. The concept was designed by K Art, Native American Art Gallery, who will develop the supporting graphic materials. Innov8tive Project will bring together, K Art Gallery and workspace, Grooming Lounge, Just Vino, Eyes on Harlem Optical, Coco Restaurant, Lovejoy Pizza and The Salvation Army to install bike racks, planters, street flags, and “A” frame boards with Innov8tive boldly displayed. The project will also include sidewalk art with motivational walkability messaging, door stickers, and cigarette butt receptacles to get butts off the ground. We will work with Community Canvases to paint the butt receptacles. Beyond beautifying these blocks there will be a community clean-up effort in collaboration with Allentown Association, BNMC Rotary Club, and Tobacco-Free Western New York (TFWNY) at Roswell Park. Informational postcards will be distributed to the community highlighting all that is offered in the Innov8tive neighborhood.

2021

None Like you

Several years ago, None Like You acquired a house at 276 Southampton. The house has needed significant work and the group has completed most of the necessary work on the exterior over the past number of years. This year, the group will seek to complete the rest of the outside work and make changes to the inside of the house to create a community space.  This intergenerational space will provide opportunities for the youngest community members to impart knowledge to others in the community; and space where our elders can share decades of information. On the exterior of 276 Southampton, None Like You will build a platform to provide free, outdoor concerts, performed by members of the community, twice a month. This project will be implemented through partnerships with various stakeholders, including None Like You/We Care volunteers, OSC Foundation, Youth for the Purpose, Concordia Cemetery, Buffalo State College, University at Buffalo and others.

2021

Buffalo Bike Tours

The Young Family, Michigan Street Corridor, and Buffalo Bike Tours will honor the memory of John Young (1935-1998), the owner of Wings N’ Things, Buffalo’s first chicken wing restaurant. The group will tell his story through a new mural at the site of his original restaurant at the Jeff Carlton Barbershop at Jefferson Avenue and Carlton Street, near the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. While most Buffalonians are familiar with the 1964 Anchor Bar origin story, primary source interviews and written documentation indicate Wings N’ Things was serving chicken wings as early as 1961. Young’s restaurant was popular as a landmark in Buffalo’s black community in the 1960s, visited by celebrities Cookie Gilchrist, Rick James, and Joe Tex. The restaurant famously served whole chicken wings with its secret mumbo sauce, described as “lip-smacking and liver quivering”. In 1970, Young closed his business shortly after race riots on Jefferson Avenue and moved to Decatur, IL. Upon returning to Buffalo, he discovered he had been largely omitted from official city narratives, noting, “It hurts me so bad that other people take the credit”. The design of the mural will take inspiration from a painting originally located at John Young’s Wings N’ Things shop, by Bill Cooper and Dalton Easton. While the original painting is no longer extant, the new painting will draw from the original work, with a contemporary look. The group seeks to commission an artist of color to execute the project.

2019

The BNMC has selected 11 organizations out of more than 40 applicants to receive a total of $39,000 in its 2nd annual BNMC Spark micro-grant program! Local community members and organizations were invited to apply for grant funding for projects and programs that help to showcase the neighborhoods adjacent to the Medical Campus as active, vibrant places. Funded projects include community gardens, technology upgrades, music and art programs, and more.

2019

276 Southhampton Beautification

Organization: None Like You/ We Care

The grant will help beautify a dilapidated structure by funding painting of the exterior of the building and work on the second floor porch.

2019

Chillin’ in the Park

Organization: Friends of Sisti Park

This grant will help make infrastructure improvements to Sisti Park located at the intersection of Franklin/Linwood and North Street, an easily walkable distance from the Medical Campus.

2019

Summer Spruce Up

Organization: Fruit Belt Community Land Trust
Partner Organizations: The Foundry, Fruit Belt United

FB Community Land Trust in partnership with The Foundry and Fruit Belt United will host a workshop to teach community members how to build raised planting beds. The workshop will culminate with a community clean up and installation of the raised beds at the playground located at 161 Mulberry, which is owned by Fruit Belt United.

2019

Beau Fleuve Summer Youth Program

Organization: Beau Fleuve Music & Arts Partner organization: Art Services Initiative

Beau Fleuve Youth Summer Program will use poetry, music, and paint, coupled with an emotional intelligence program, to provide students the emotional tools to help them manage and overcome stress inside and outside of school.

2019

DSLR Cameras for a Digital World

Organization: Locust Street Art

Locust Street Art provides the last free photography class in WNY and has just expanded its programming to teach students ages 4 and up how to use a DSLR camera. LSA is using photography to improved self-esteem, motivation, aesthetic awareness, cultural exposure, improved emotional expression, as well as social harmony and appreciation of diversity.

2019

Technology Upgrade at TSA’s Youth Drop-in Center

Organization: The Salvation Army

The Salvation Army Drop-in Program will provide a Computer Lab for its youth program to work on school projects and daily assignments, participate in tutoring, typing lessons, writing resumes, job trainings, and more. Additionally, the current computers do not have access to Microsoft Office, so students cannot complete assignments or school projects. This computer lab would also be used by the youth TV & Radio Broadcasting program for video production and editing.

2019

Community Garden

Organization: Fruit Belt Coalition

The Fruitbelt Coalition AKA “Fruit of the City” will be finishing the sancuary park located at Mulberry St. & BFNC Dr. This project builds off of 2018 Spark funding for a garden gazebo.

2019

Mural Project

Organization: Person Centered Services Partner organization: LDA of WNY and Starlight Studios and Art Gallery

Children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities will learn about art, plan a mural project, and install the mural to a building in or around the Medical Campus.

2019

Education & Engineering Greenhouse

Organization: Community Action Organization of WNY

The Education and Engineering Greenhouse will utilize this grant to purchase a smartboard for a classroom in the green house. The smartboard will provide a hands-on, interactive learning tools with many built-in features enhance STEM learning.

2019

Food is Art

Organization: Buffalo Center for Arts & TechnologyPartner organization: Aunt Connie’s Ed-U Kitchen

BCAT will offer a free 3-hour event on a Saturday this summer, which will be open to the community, and our surrounding neighborhoods for a creative and fun way to bring awareness of and experiences with healthy nutrition.

2019

Sensory Garden for Blind and Visually Impaired Individuals

Organization: Olmsted Center for Sight

Olmsted Center for Sight will create a sensory garden at its site located at 1170 Main Street  for people who are blind or visually impaired. Our main senses are sight, touch, smell, hearing and taste, so while a sensory garden would concentrate on all five, a sensory garden for the blind concentrates mostly on just four, particularly the sense of smell by planting scented plants and herbs

2018

The BNMC has selected 17 organizations out of more than 60 applicants to receive a total of $36,500 in its first annual BNMC Spark micro-grant program! Local community members and organizations were invited to apply for grant funding for projects and programs that help to showcase the neighborhoods adjacent to the Medical Campus as active, vibrant places. Funded programs include art projects, wellness programs, preservation efforts and skills development initiatives and many others.

2018

El Museo’s Art in Transit Pilot Project

Organization: El Museo

$3,500

2018

Salute to African American History Makers

Organization: Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor

$3,500

2018

Community Food Wellness Initiative

Organization: Mulberry Street Block Club
Partner Organizations: Buffalo Federation of Neighborhood Centers, Grassroots Gardens, Massachusetts Avenue Project

$3,300

2018

Garden to Table: Food You Can Bank On

Organization: Gethsemane Missionary Baptist Church
Partner Organization: Cornell University Cooperative Extension

$3,200

2018

Fruit Belt Cultural Resource Brochure & Outreach

Organization: Fruit Belt-McCarley Gardens Housing Task Force
Partner Organization: Preservation Buffalo Niagara

$3,000

2018

Pottery Wheels for Locust Street Art

Organization: Locust Street Art

$2,500

2018

Green Window City Project

Resident: Kelly Atkinson
Partner Organization: El Museo

$2,000

2018

Gazebo Park Sanctuary

Organization: Fruit Belt Coalition

$2,000

2018

Teaching 21st Century Skills to Disadvantaged Communities in Buffalo

Organization: The Foundry
Partner Organization: Thimble.io

$2,000

2018

Wise Young Builders Program

Organization: Wise Young Builders

$2,000

2018

Low Cost Home Delivery of Locally Grown Produce

Organization: Fresh Fix

$1,990

2018

Brain Awareness Campaign (BAC)

Organization: University at Buffalo’s Neuroscience Graduate Student Association

$1,950

2018

Historically Appropriate Restoration of 61 College Street

Organization: Allentown Association, Inc.

$1,500

2018

Historic Linwood Preservation District Banners

Organization: Linwood Preservation District & Friends

$1,500

2018

Yoga: Wellness Embodied Partnership

Organization: Yogis in Service
Partner Organization: lululemon athletica

$1,250

2018

City, History and Nature: Pop-Up @ the Corridor

Organization: Coppertown Block Club
Partner Organization: Groundwork Buffalo, Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor

$1,000

2018

Youth Education Outreach “The Science of Saving” Program

Organization: St. John United Credit Union

$500

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