Published May 10, 2018
An education program that will help establish financial literacy for low-income individuals in Lockport. A community kitchen, garden and healthy food education program that will nourish neighbors in Buffalo’s Broadway/Fillmore area. A “Communitree Rooted” citizen forestry initiative to support healthy trees and neighborhoods in the City of Tonawanda.
These are among the 16 innovative projects that will be presented on May 12 at the 2018 One Region Forward Idea Summit. The event takes place from 9:15-11:45 a.m. in 403 Hayes Hall on the UB South Campus.
The Idea Summit will celebrate the work of the fourth class of Champions for Change, a program that, through a series of workshops, teaches residents of Erie and Niagara counties how to turn their ideas into action and implement sustainable development in Western New York. The program is part of the Citizen Planning School offered through the UB Regional Institute, part of the School of Architecture and Planning.
“Regenerative development,” the theme for this year’s Champions for Change, recognizes the efforts of the Haudenosaunee, the Native American confederacy that has championed the idea of a symbiotic relationship with the land long before Western New York was settled.
“We live in a region that has a rich legacy of regenerative development that’s based on building the capacity of communities to renew, thrive and evolve,” explains Elizabeth Walsh, who leads Champions for Change and is also a visiting assistant professor of urban and regional planning at UB.
There were 22 participants in this year’s Champions for Change program. The workshops began in February. Champions had the opportunity to develop their ideas with 22 UB student leaders who provided research support, as well as six mentors recognized for their leadership in the region.
Mentors included Dave Bauer, president of The Change Circle; Hadar Borden, executive director of UB’s Blackstone LaunchPad program; Eve Holberg, senior planner at LaBella Associates; Da’Von McCune, youth manager for the Buffalo Center for Arts and Technology; Beverly Newkirk, founder/executive director of It Takes A Village Action Organization; and Gail Wells, marketing director for the Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor Commission.
In addition, Andrew Delmonte from the Small Business Development Center at SUNY Buffalo State provided teams with guidance on social enterprise development and business plans.
Saturday’s Idea Summit will kick off with updates on One Region Forward, the Citizen Planning School and Champions for Change.
Following the overview, Champions for Change participants will give three-minute presentations about their community-based initiatives.
Unveiled in 2015, One Region Forward’s Regional Plan for Sustainable Development weaves together nearly three years of research, community engagement, partnership building and planning by more than 5,000 citizens and more than 700 local organizations.
The plan aims to provide a basic framework for moving the region toward a more sustainable, resilient, prosperous and opportunity-rich future.
Members of the public who would like to attend the Idea Summit should RSVP using the UB Regional Institute registration link.