A century ago, Buffalo, the terminus of the Erie Canal and located 20 miles south of Niagara Falls, was one of the wealthiest cities in the US. Once the nation’s eighth most populous city, Buffalo has suffered from decades of deindustrialization. But a new Buffalo is rising, with low-income communities and communities of color taking the lead to construct a more democratic and community-centered Buffalo economy.
To tell this story, we begin with an interview of the Hon. April Baskin, Erie County Legislative Chair. Baskin, the youngest ever in that role, is a Nickel City native who has made supporting community development a cornerstone of her tenure in office.
We then turn to a distinguished panel of three individuals, who share their insights:
- Andrew Delmonte is director of cooperative development of People United for Sustainable Housing, better known as PUSH Buffalo, a membership-based nonprofit that advances economic, racial, and environmental justice. Delmonte manages PUSH’s “Cooperation Buffalo” worker co-op initiative.
- Bob Doyle is community development director of the Westminster Economic Development Initiative (WEDI), a nonprofit that operates a market that provides space for the area’s immigrant community business owners to nurture their food and retail businesses.
- India Walton is a cofounder and executive director of the Fruit Belt Community Land Trust, which provides permanently affordable housing in a neighborhood where the threat of displacement looms as a nearby university medical campus expands.
This webinar will explore:
- What comprehensive, community-led economic development looks like.
- The range of economic “tools” available to build wealth in low-income communities and communities of color—including business incubation, social enterprise, and worker-co-ops.
- How to organize a community land trust to stave off displacement amidst gentrification pressures.
- How to leverage community organizing and community-based economic development to achieve policy change.
- How community groups balance community organizing with the exigencies of community development.
- How long-term policy advocacy has changed the economic playing field in Buffalo.
Whether you’re a nonprofit leader, board member, or engaged in community-based organizing, this webinar will provide you with real-life examples and lessons learned that can inform your work in your own community.