October 12, 2022 | News Article

Institute for Nonprofit Practice Launches Award-winning Programming in Western New York


Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation, KeyBank Foundation, The John R. Oishei Foundation, The Health Foundation for Western & Central New York, and The Capacity Lab Invest to Support Local Social Impact Leadership Development

October 12, 2022, Boston, MA — The Institute for Nonprofit Practice (INP), which works to transform the social impact sector to be more effective, equitable, diverse, and connected, launched its award-winning programming in Western New York state today, made possible through the support of the Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation, which made the lead gift for this initiative, KeyBank Foundation, The John R. Oishei Foundation, The Health Foundation for Western & Central New York, and The Capacity Lab.

INP is a capacity building organization that offers a suite of resources — including equity-focused management and leadership development, community convenings, an expansive network of leaders, and robust alumni programming — all designed to build upon the knowledge, financial, and social capital of leaders who want to lead transformative work effectively. Expansion to Western New York adds to existing INP sites in the Northeast, Midwest, and West Coast.

INP will begin serving the Western New York social impact sector via its Core Certificate Program which equips senior level leaders across the nonprofit and public sectors with the skills, knowledge, and networks they need to make strategic, mission-driven decisions that center diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging to build high performing organizations, effecting lasting change in their communities and beyond. Over time, INP will expand its offerings in the region to include programming for early and mid-career leaders.

Local community leaders advised INP’s launch in Western New York, helping to identify regional talent to serve as faculty members, and inform areas where its curriculum can adapt to reflect local context and address unique community needs. INP’s Western New York Launch Committee members included Nancy Blaschak, former Region CEO of the Red Cross, Marie Cannon, Commissioner of Erie County Department of Social Services, Tracy Sawicki, Executive Director of the Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation, Katie Pieri, Director of The Nonprofit Support Group, Karen Lee Spaulding, former Vice President of Philanthropic Support at The John R. Oishei Foundation, Jerome Singletary, Community Outreach and Advocacy Manager at United Way of Buffalo and Erie County, and Stephanie Simeon, Executive Director of Heart of the City Neighborhoods.

On October 12, the inaugural Western New York Core Program cohort along with local faculty members, INP staff, funding partners, and Launch Committee members gathered in Buffalo at the Tifft Nature Preserve to kick off the program year. Tracy Sawicki, Executive Director of the Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation, Katie Pieri, Director of The Nonprofit Support Group, and Chiwuike Owunwanne, Corporate Responsibility Officer and Community Relations Manager of KeyBank Foundation, each addressed the leaders in the room with enthusiasm about the launch of the program and how they view INP as a valuable addition to the local ecosystem of social impact resources.

The inaugural Western New York Core Program cohort is composed of 35 senior level leaders across the social impact sector in Erie, Niagara, and Chautauqua counties leading on a variety of issues including education, healthcare, poverty, and more. Over the course of nine months, participants will learn, share, and leverage strategies to advance in their leadership, building on strengths to elevate their organizational and community impact. Read more about INP’s expansion to Western New York and the funders who made it possible here.

Applications will open for the next Western New York Core Certificate Program cohort in winter 2023, and interested candidates can sign up to be notified here.

INP’s inaugural Western New York Core Program cohort includes the following faculty members and participants:


Dr. Darnisa Amante-Jackson Management Seminar Faculty; Founder & Chief Executive Officer, The Disruptive Equity Education Project & DEEP Corporate Consulting Partners

Sylvia Bennett Senior Fellow; Senior Vice President & Chief Development Officer, Buffalo Toronto Public Media

Kailey Cartwright Senior Fellow; Senior DE&I Learning Program Manager, Momentive

Stephanie Simeon Senior Fellow; Executive Director, Heart of the City Neighborhoods

Anne Wallestad Senior Fellow; Leadership Coach to Social Sector CEOs, Anne Wallestad Coaching, LLC


Pam Bos Kefi Executive Director, Deaf Access Services

Anneliese Bruegel Executive Director, Boys & Girls Club of Northern Chautauqua County

Aaron Carlson Executive Director, Hearts & Hands: Faith in Action, Inc.

Linnea Carlson Market Director, Jamestown Public Market

LaShawn Chinn Director, Sister Mary Josette Food Pantry, Hopebound Ministries

Jeanmarie Cieslica Interim Executive Director, City Year Buffalo

Ashley Conti Director of Programs, Healthy Community Alliance

Leah Angel Daniel Founder & Executive Director, Fostering Greatness Inc. 

Elisa Galulppo Director of QA/QI, Compliance & Auditing, The Resource Center

Amanda Gesing Executive Director, YWCA of Jamestown

Sarah Gilbert Director of Fundraising & Community Outreach, The Waterfront Foundation at the Chautauqua Center

Whitney Gleason Director of Development, Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy

Noah Goodling Project Director, The Capacity Lab

Karen Hall Director of Programs, Population Health Collaborative

Raziya Hill Founder & Executive Director, Every Bottom Covered, Inc.

Maya Hu-Morabito Project Facilitator, University of New Hampshire Institute on Disability / National Center for START Services

Kimberly Kadziolka Executive Director, Parent Network of Western New York

Heather King Assistant Director, Campus & Community Children’s Center

Jack Kavanaugh Executive Director, GLYS WNY, Inc.

Heather King Assistant Director, Campus & Community Children’s Center

Talisa King Chief Program Officer, YWCA WNY

Yan Liu President, Bridges from Borders, Inc.

Kexin Ma Executive Director, Homeless Alliance of Western New York

CharBrenna Marks Director of Temporary Assistance & Emergency Services, Erie County Department of Social Services

Megan McNally Executive Director, The Foundry

Stephanie Peete Business Partnerships Manager, Say Yes Buffalo

Jeffrey Pirrone Executive Director, National Alliance on Mental Illness Buffalo & Erie County

Nadia Pizarro Director of Housing, BestSelf Behavioral Health

Tylica Pope Vice President, Specialty SUD Services & Housing, BestSelf Behavioral Health

Deborah Porter Director & School Administrator of Adult Workforce, Buffalo Center for Arts and Technology

Lisa Rafalson Dean, School of Health Professions & Director of Accessibility Resources, D’Youville University

Nicole Stolzman Coordinator of Employment Services, Cantalician Center

Gianna Totaro Associate Director, Grace Guest House

Michael Weidrich Executive Director, South Buffalo Community Association

Deirdre Wright Director of Environmental Stewardship, Heart of the City Neighborhoods

About the Institute for Nonprofit Practice

The Institute for Nonprofit Practice works to ensure that social impact leaders have the skills, knowledge, networks, resources, and confidence to lead effective, innovative, and sustainable organizations, advance justice, and build a more equitable future for all. Through award-winning programs, the Institute trains executives, managers, and emerging leaders across the country. Central to the Institute’s work is a focus on social justice and supporting women and people of color to step into leadership roles of greater influence. For more information, visit nonprofitpractice.org or follow @InstituteNP.

For press inquiries, please contact media@nonprofitpractice.org.

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