Saturday, November 9, 2013

Open Buffalo awaits news on $3 million

By Sean Dwyer and Youleidy Vega
Bengal News West Reporters  
        A coalition of Buffalo organizations is awaiting word on receiving a $3 million grant from The Open Society Foundations for urban development.
PUSH Buffalo, Partnership for the Public Good, Voice Buffalo and Coalition for Justice combined to create Open Buffalo, which applied for the grant in April.
Open Buffalo’s plan includes improving the city’s worker equity and workforce development, increasing education and training for youth and increasing opportunities for local businesses.
The Open Society Foundations’ goal is to build vibrant communities and promote open participation while holding government accountable, according to its website.
Organizations in 16 cities applied and Buffalo was one of eight cities that advanced to the semi-finals. Each semi-finalists received $100, 000 for planning.
The planning process, which ended in September, consisted of the cities putting together a proposal of ideas and potential changes that will help improve their community. The cities that show that they are most capable of efficiently using the money will receive the grant, said Rahwa Ghirmatzion, PUSH Buffalo’s development director.
The foundation has until December to decide which cities will be awarded the implementation money. They will receive $1 million yearly for a minimum of three years.
Ghirmatzion said that they have not thought about how they will implement their plans without the foundations'  support but would still continue to pursue their plans.