The first recommendation in the report, “Opening Economic Opportunity Around UB’s Growing Downtown Presence: Report of the University at Buffalo and St. John Baptist Church Economic Opportunity Panel,” (EOP report), requested that pathways to economic opportunity among UB and its partners be “illuminated.” In response, the Office of Educational Collaboration & Engagement (ECE) created a network of EOP partner agencies and individuals offering employment, education and/or training relevant to workforce opportunities in the downtown medical corridor. Working together with EOP partners, ECE hosted a workshop on the Downtown Campus where leaders from the health care sector, joined by one of the principal architects of the Buffalo Billion initiative, shared information specific to growth plans and employment needs for the region. A follow-up health careers forum provided opportunities for community members to talk with employers who had job openings. As a result of these efforts, a broader workforce plan was initiated that would bring a city-wide workforce strategy that emphasized the involvement of anchor institutions.
UB Government and Community Relations offered a free leadership program that provided certified leadership training, mentorship and a $7,500 grant toward a community project to address a Fruit Belt concern about unification in the neighborhood. The program spanned eight leadership training sessions and more than 10 mentor-led sessions where 22 participants (out of more than 40 at the outset) progressed and graduated to found the community nonprofit known as the Orchard Community Initiative (OCI). Additional location: Downtown Campus
Since 2008, the Fruit Belt Clean-a-thon serves to bring students, teachers, residents and community partners together to work together cleaning vacant lots and planting community gardens, all with the goal of making the Fruit Belt neighborhood and City of Buffalo a better place to live. It is brought to fruition through collaboration with the Futures Academy faculty, staff and students; UB’s Department of Urban and Regional Planning; Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus Inc. (BNMC); and neighborhood residents and stakeholders. Additional locations: Downtown Campus; Fruit Belt
UB presented the MoneySKILL® workshop to train Fruit Belt leaders as certified MoneySKILL® Program Leaders, with the goal of furthering financial education capacity in the neighborhood. MoneySKILL® aims to not only give high school and college graduates tools in economics and personal finance, but also teach them how to apply it and plan their lives.
UB Neighbor Downtown Edition is a UB publication aimed at providing the most up-to-date news on UB development, projects and collaborations that affect our downtown neighbors. Released several times each year, the UB Neighbor is available for pickup at the UB Downtown Gateway, 77 Goodell St., and at the Innovation Center, 640 Ellicott St. This newsletter currently goes out to over 9,000 households within and around the downtown communities.
UB Student Association in coordination with UB Community Relations deploys hundreds of UB students as volunteers in various locations throughout Western New York, working hand-in-hand with community residents on projects to improve the overall appearance of neighborhoods. Originally aimed at merely cleaning up streets, UB Gettin’ Dirty was re-imagined and repurposed in 2010 and now serves to place students in project locations from North Buffalo, to the west and east sides, and in and around downtown. The students have fun while “getting dirty” from a combination of street cleanup, garden and soil work, and various other neighborhood cleanup efforts. Students assist with street cleanup, yard and garden work, cleaning out basements and attics, painting, and general neighborhood cleaning at several locations within the Fruit Belt, including Mulberry, Rose, Locust, Orange, Maple and East North streets, as well as Michigan Avenue at St. John Towers, and at the Buffalo Federation of Neighborhood Centers (BFNC) mental health residence. Occurs twice per school year (spring and fall).
Coordinated by the Office of Community Relations, UB’s Universitywide Adopt-a-Family helps make the holidays a little warmer and brighter for a number of local families in need. The Office of Community Relations collaborates with local nonprofits to identify needy families; those families are matched with participating UB departments to provide items from their wish lists. Since 2008, the program continues to grow, averaging over 20 participating departments and matched families each year. Additional location: Downtown Campus
On UB Community Day hundreds of UB students volunteer in various locations throughout Western New York, working on projects with community residents to improve the overall appearance of neighborhoods. In the spring, students have gardened, cleaned up litter, weeded and beautified plots throughout the Fruit Belt, South Campus and various neighborhood streets. In the fall, students have assisted with organizing elderly homes, tidying donation centers, renovating with Habitat for Humanity, hanging holiday lights and planting trees. Occurs twice per academic year: spring and fall. Additional locations: Downtown Campus; South Campus; Fruit Belt