What We Do
Open Buffalo is a Community Movement for Social and Economic Justice.
By developing a unified movement, our communities will be organized to access resources, advocate for their rights, and be empowered to live free from poverty and discrimination.
Open Buffalo’s mission is to create systemic changes leading to an “open” city for residents of Buffalo, N.Y., through the measures of equality, justice, and freedom. Open Buffalo provides leadership development, media and policy strategy and coordination, direct support, and assistance to social and economic justice organizations and campaigns, facilitates action-oriented community research, and raises the profile of and mobilizes funding for this important work.
What we doOpen Buffalo increases Buffalo communities’ capacity to effect systemic change in our issue areas:
- Arts Integration: We create new spaces and partnerships to uplift both art and activism in our community.
- Innovation Lab: We generate new ideas, conduct original research, and draft new laws and policies.
- Leadership Development: We empower grassroots leaders to mobilize their communities around issues of equity.
- High Road Economic Development: We work to advance higher economic development standards, transparency, community benefit from public subsidies, and new workforce opportunities.
- Just Transition Buffalo: We innovate to build a new community economy that uplifts people, place, and planet.
- Justice and Opportunity: We work to advance higher economic development standards, transparency, community benefit from public subsidies, and new workforce opportunities.
Our story began with a shared vision for transformation. Buffalo was chosen by Open Society Foundations (OSF) as one of three regions for its Open Places Initiative to increase the capacity of local communities to bring about lasting systemic change in equity, justice, and democratic practice. Out of 16 cities asked to apply, Buffalo was awarded this national grant due to the collaboration of four local community groups:
Through a broad-reaching community process, these groups brought together the diverse voices of our city – from residents and activists to government officials and local foundations –that shaped an innovative plan to the question, “How do we create a more open Buffalo?” In 2014, Open Buffalo was officially established as a non-profit to help realize this vision for our city.