We at Step Out Buffalo unequivocally denounce racism. So we’re highlighting some specific charities, non-profit organizations and initiatives in support of and founded by WNY’s Black community. These organizations are working to combat racial injustice and support the black community in a variety of ways.
Below we’ve included each organization’s mission in their own words, but we encourage you learn more by visiting their websites and social media pages. Plus, we’ve also included links for those who are interested in donating to these initiatives.
Did we miss one? Did one of these places close? Send us a note!
1. Black Love Resists in the Rust
In their own words: “Black Love Resists in Rust is the only intentional space for Black and Brown folks in Buffalo. We organize at the intersections of embodied leadership, healing justice, political education and transformational organizing. We envision a Buffalo where communities are sustainable and have what they need to thrive without external assistance. We know we cannot do this without a base who is engaged and without significantly shifting the material conditions for most of Buffalo’s residents, which is why our current work is focused on ending the oppression enforced by the state.”
In their own words: “For the past 20 years, Homespace Corporation has been successfully helping young, single women (age 14-21 years old) to forge a better life for themselves and their children. Homespace provides a safe, nurturing environment where these young women can learn the skills to enhance themselves and their families, and break the cycle of public welfare dependency. Residents receive training in job-readiness, budgeting, household management, nutrition, parenting, as well as comprehensive clinical services.”
3. Showing Up For Racial Justice – Buffalo, NY
In their own words: “SURJ is a national network of groups and individuals organizing White people for racial justice. Through community organizing, mobilizing, and education, SURJ moves White people to act as part of a multi-racial majority for justice with passion and accountability. We work to connect people across the country while supporting and collaborating with local and national racial justice organizing efforts. SURJ provides a space to build relationships, skills and political analysis to act for change.”
4. PUSH Buffalo
In their own words: “Aaron Bartley and Eric Walker founded PUSH in 2005. PUSH Buffalo (People United for Sustainable Housing) was established to: create strong neighborhoods with quality affordable housing; decrease the rate of housing abandonment by reclaiming empty houses from neglectful public and private owners and redeveloping them for occupancy by low-income residents; and develop neighborhood leaders capable of gaining community control over the development process and planning for the future of the neighborhood.”
5. WNY Peace Center
In their own words: “We are dedicated to enriching the quality of life of our local and global communities through the prevention of violence to people and the planet. Peaceful conflict resolution among people and within institutions, especially for youth, is central to our mission. We uphold human rights and challenge oppression, power imbalances, and systemic issues that hurt the quality of life for all. We strive for economic and educational justice and respect for people of all cultures.”
6. YWCA WNY
In their own words: “YWCA Western New York (Young Women’s Christian Association) is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. Our vision is a thriving community without divide. Since YWCA WNY’s founding in 1870, we have been on the forefront of the most critical social movements. YWCA WNY does not back down from tough issues and our team is dedicated to forwarding our collective mission to eliminate racism and empower women. YWCA WNY is active in advocacy efforts and awareness campaigns that advance women’s economic empowerment, advance a work and family agenda, and educate people about domestic violence and what we can do to end the cycle of violence.”
7. African Heritage Food Co-op
In their own words: “Our vision is to create a world where inner city “neighborhoods” can become Communities. Where NO ONE goes without HEALTHY AFFORDABLE food options. Most importantly a world in which we can create Ownership and employment opportunities IN and FOR the COMMUNITY!”
8. Buffalo Go Green INC.
In their own words: “Mission Statement: Provides services and training to the underserved populations in our community. Create leaders in the Green Industry & Agriculture by meeting students & families where they are so that we can get them to where they need to be to have healthy, successful and sustainable families & careers.”
9. Open Buffalo
In their own words: “Our mission is to advance racial, economic, and ecological justice. We do so through skill building, network connecting, and activating leadership opportunities. Our goal is for all communities in Western New York to thrive free from discrimination and poverty.”
10. Fruit Belt Community Land Trust
In their own words: “Community land trusts (CLTs) are nonprofit organizations governed by a board of CLT residents, community residents and public representatives that provide lasting community assets and shared equity homeownership opportunities for families and communities. CLTs develop rural and urban agriculture projects, commercial spaces to serve local communities, affordable rental and cooperative housing projects, and conserve land or urban green spaces. However, the heart of their work is the creation of homes that remain permanently affordable, providing successful homeownership opportunities to lower-income families for generations to come.
Fruit Belt Community Land Trust is 1 of 225 CLTs in the United States. Fruit Belt Community Land Trust is made up of residents and business owners from the fruit belt community who:
- Acquire Property – FBCLT purchases vacant land and structures for the purpose of community centered development
- Develops housing, gardens, or commercial space – FBCLT develops CLT owned land and rehabilitates structures into permanently affordable housing, community, and commercial space
- Sells homes at a low cost – FBCLT brings the dream of home ownership to life for low to moderate income buyers. CLT homes remain affordable in perpetuity, so there is always a safe affordable place to call home for individuals and families in our community.
11. Project Mona’s House
In their own words: Project Mona’s House is a program of Ramp Global Missions, a Christian Humanitarian organization that helps the homeless, orphans, and those exploited through Human Trafficking. Project Mona’s House exists to shed light on the terrible crime of Human Trafficking and to restore those who have been victimized. We accomplish this goal through: MONA’S HOUSE. Mona’s House is designed to help women 18 and older who have been victims of any type of human trafficking. Our programs are designed to bring healing to the whole woman through our 12 month program that is specifically designed for victims of human trafficking. It will provide holistic healing for the mind, body, and soul of each woman who enters our doors.”
12. Rooted In Love Inc.
In their own words: “We are a nonprofit organization that was formed on a shared passion of helping those around us who are in need. We assist people who are homeless or less fortunate by providing them access to fresh produce items and hygiene products.”
13. Durham’s Baby Cafe
In their own words: Mission Statement – To offer comfortable space and knowledgeable support for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers and their babies and families, as well as to raise public and community awareness on issues of health, wellness, safety and nutrition through the provision of meals and workshops, maintenance of a community garden, and other community projects.
14. National Federation For Just Communities
In their own words: “The NFJC stands for: The National Federation for Just Communities of Western New York, Inc. All of our programs promote understanding and respect among people of all races, religions, and cultures through advocacy, conflict resolution, and education. In accomplishing our work, we seek first to raise awareness and then to educate and empower our youth, as well as emerging and community leaders to become agents of change in transforming our society.”
15. African American Cultural Center
In their own words: “Since 1958, the African-American Cultural Center, Inc. has enabled spirits to soar and offered sanctuary, validation and celebration for the duality of being African and American. From the multi-disciplinary AACC Cultural Enrichment / Educational Directives After School Program and Jumpin’ Jambalaya Summer Program, to the soul-stirring AACC Dance and Drum Performance Company (its cornerstone component), inspirational Paul Robeson Theatre and entertaining Pine Grill Jazz Reunion, the African American Cultural Center stands firmly committed to promoting a positive sense of self among the community it was founded to serve. Its programs and services are still structured to motivate personal growth, stimulate untapped potential and facilitate a better understanding of cultural diversity among all people.”
16. Feed Buffalo
In their own words: “Healthy and Halal, Buffalo Food Pantry. We aim to heal, educate, and transform food deserts into thriving communities. We work to provide access to free locally-sourced, healthy, and halal food in a loving, judgement-free community space.”
17. Love Supreme School of Music and Pappy Martin Legacy Jazz Collective
In their own words: “In 2001, James “Pappy” Martin founded the Love Supreme School of Music as a continuation of his commitment to honor the legacy of music study and appreciation. He was inspired by the discipline that studying the science of music can bring to increased academic performance, particularly in mathematics, as well as its overall enrichment of life. Over the next several decades, LSSM taught hundreds of young people and, as a result, launched the careers of many successful musicians who now enjoy worldwide recognition. This is in addition to positively affecting the academic success and general well being of many other of its former students. Sadly, with the passing of Mr. Martin in 2015, LSSM closed its doors. The LSSM reopened in July 2019 with the embracing of a new generation of music students. It is also proud to welcome Marcus Lolo as its new Director.”
18. The MOCHA Center
In their own words: “The MOCHA Center offers social events and other programs focused on improving the health and wellness of LGBTQ people of color—in mind, body, and spirit. We are a place where every voice is heard, the staff knows where you are coming from, and all are welcome.”
19. Calming Nature Doula
In their own words: “Calming Nature Doula Services opened in 2014 as an independent Doula service. I founded this organization after giving birth to my own children. I did not receive the personalized assistance I needed in my own birthing experience. Soon I learned that several others in my community shared the same story. This started my journey assisting multiple friends and family members with their births. This is when Calming Nature Doula Services was birthed. In 2017 I added the component of the non-profit Doula Center. This allowed me to provide assistance to those in the community that desperately needed Doula support, but were not financially able to afford the service. Our full and partial scholarship Doula services are income based and available to Erie and Niagara county residents. We aim to assist women in obtaining quality care with a focus on achieving a happy healthy birth experience.”
20. International Child Advancement, Inc.
In their own words: “International Child Advancement is a non-profit organization with a mission to empower orphans and underprivileged children worldwide through education, vocational training, livelihood provision and mentoring. We are passionate about providing a more promising future to both children who have no families of their own or whose families have no means to support the cost of education. We do this not solely by sending them finances but also by creating and implementing programs that will allow them to become self-sufficient, leaders in their communities and have an equal chance at success.We lean on Philippians 4:13 which states: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”.”
21. Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo
In their own words: “We are making a difference all over Western New York and maximizing impact in education, racial equity, the environment and arts and culture.”
22. Back To Basics Outreach Ministry
In their own words: “As Pastor Giles so aptly puts it, ‘We take broken lives, give them hope and God makes it happen!'”
23. Upstate NY Black-Latino Pride
In their own words: “Founded in Buffalo, New York, Upstate New York Black & Latino Pride works to bring intersectionality and visibility to the forefront. We celebrate the beauty, culture and art of LGBTQ+ people of color through events, outreach and programming.”
24. WNY Mobile Overdose Prevention Services
In their own words: “WNY Mobile Overdose Prevention Services (Mobile OPS) is a minority woman-owned business enterprise; an innovative recovery program designed to address the current opiate overdose epidemic in Western New York.”
25. Voice Buffalo – Live Free Campaign
In their own words: “Founded in 1996, a diverse group of faith, labor, business and community leaders saw injustices happening in their community. Public officials and unofficial power brokers who make the key decisions weren’t prioritizing regular folks. Our founders asked, “Who stands up for the common citizen? When government and private sector decisions ignore the needs of the people, who will speak up for them?” The answer? Regular folks, acting collectively and using our VOICE. So, they organized, and VOICE Buffalo was born.”
26. Colored Girls Bike Too
In their own words: “We use the bicycle as a tool for healing & liberation, & to advance racial equity & justice through mobility justice advocacy, & by building liveable urban spaces where Black, Brown, & Indigenous folks can freely, fairly, & fearlessly move.”
27. Every Bottom Covered
In their own words: “Every Bottom Covered addresses diaper need in Western New York. By providing diapers, wipes and other baby needs to families and building partnerships for other organizations working toward the greater good, Every Bottom Covered helps to take address an unmet need and raise awareness to those costs being included in community, city, and state funding decisions.”
28. Healing Hub of NY
In their own words: “The Healing Hub of NY, Inc. provides a safe place to heal from unchecked trauma resulting in struggles such as addiction, abuse and poverty. We break generational cycles of trauma, by empowering individuals and offering a variety of healing solutions, services and healthy nutrition.”
29. Grassroots Gardens of Western New York
In their own words: “Grassroots Gardens WNY is a dedicated group of community gardeners and activists. Our mission is to share knowledge, power and resources to grow healthy food, heal systemic harm, and strengthen neighborhood connections through community gardens.We collaboratively cultivate and manage more than one million square feet (and growing!) of urban green space. We have over 100 community gardens in our network.”
30. Taste of Faith Food Pantry
In their own words: “Assists people in the community in need of food, and refers people to organizations that can help with employment, financial, and other types of counseling.”
31. Buffalo Community Fridges*
In their own words: “We are a volunteer-led network of community fridges dedicated to giving Buffalo communities access to fresh & healthy food. This mutual aid project works to build community bonds, eliminate food waste, address food insecurity & inequality in our city. Studies show that in New York State, 1 in 9 people are struggling with food insecurity. One in 5 children in NY State go to bed hungry each day and 18% of children in Erie County are food insecure. (That is roughly 34,000 children.) According to FeedMore WNY, over 14% of Buffalonians do not have access to enough nutritious food to lead a healthy lifestyle. Additionally, the Pandemic has caused a spike in food insecurity. We encourage community members and local businesses to drop off food to any of our fridge locations. To those who come to shop: Take what you need, leave what you can.”
*Note: Buffalo Community Fridges was not started by a person of color, however due to their extensive work in Black communities we have included them on this list.
32. Home Beneath Our Feet
In their own words: “Home Beneath Our Feet, Inc. is a nonprofit organization geared towards providing our youth the platforms to become the best version of themselves through a gardening and holistic education initiative. The application of agriculture will expose key principles we could and should utilize in our everyday lives. Home Beneath Our Feet, Inc was founded on the premise that every child deserves a great education while acquiring basic life skills. Youth will gain awareness of themselves as they reflect upon the life cycle of a seed by nurturing it and watching it evolve into the best version of its creation.”
33. Candles in the SUN
In their own words: “Candles In The S.U.N. (Save Ur Neighborhood) knows that our strength lies not only in the words we stand by, but most importantly through the actions of our initiatives through education, mentorship and co-curricular activities. Our Non-Profit Organization realized that by uniting together we can advance our communities and overcome the challenges faced by families and youth in intercity neighborhoods. It is important to uplift ur neighbor and shine ur light by being a blessing. The passion for advancing communities is why we decided to launch Candles In The S.U.N.”
34. Peace Love Unity Movement (PLUM)
In their own words: “There is no better way for us to define what we are about than to use the definition of each word. We spread these ideas by organizing events in the community, partnering with and contributing to other non-profit organizations, and giving away yard signs that say peace, love, unity on them.”
35. Historic Colored Musicians Club
In their own words: “Designated as a historical landmark and a historical preservation site, its history is one of triumph over adversity, pride in African American heritage, excellence in performance, and inclusiveness.”
36. Kirby’s Korner
In their own words: “Kirby’s Korner is a community that provides services for black and minority youth and their families with physical limitations. We provide and bring awareness by conducting enrichment activities, workshops, and events for those with physical limitations!”
37. UPward Design for Life
In their own words: “We restore hope by transforming empty spaces into homes.”
38. Black Boys Read Too
In their own words: “The Mission of Black Boys Read Too is to break the cycle of illiteracy and encourage African American boys to foster a love for reading. We seek to address the large disparities in literacy achievement by getting books in children’s hands by any means necessary.”
39. Friends Feeding Friends
In their own words: “Friends Feeding Friends started on February 14, 2014, when Regina decided one night to make cupcakes. With the help of her granddaughter, she packed her car with cupcakes and looked for people to bless. Since then, Friends Feeding Friends has grown to become what it is today – offering hot meals, beverages, clothing, and prayer to friends in need.”
40. Buffalo PAL
In their own word: “The Police Athletic League of Buffalo, Inc. (PAL) is a not-for-profit organization that provides youth of the City of Buffalo with recreational, educational, cultural, environmental and preventive program activities in structured, supervised and organized settings, using professional recreation and law enforcement personnel, in an effort to provide leadership, direction and an opportunity for those youth to become responsible, successful adults.”
Did we miss one? Did one of these places close? Send us a note!
This post was originally published in June 2020 and has been updated.