A Response to the Region’s Economy
After the economic downturn in 2008, we recognized that residents were struggling in communities throughout Western New York—including in communities not usually associated with poverty.
We created and funded the Mobile Safety-Net Team to enhance essential human services through a comprehensive approach, including:
- Assessing the issues in dozens of local communities
- Understanding the landscape of community-based human services providers
- Building and supporting coalitions of community organizations
- Providing better access and education to residents who may have never had a need for these services before
- Addressing large-scale, systemic issues such as housing, workforce development, and transportation
The Mobile Safety-Net Team is The Oishei Foundation’s most visible, direct link to communities outside of Buffalo’s urban core. Our team members work directly in these suburbs and rural areas, listening to community organizations and leaders, and helping them address the needs of local residents.
The communities we serve include:
The City of Tonawanda
The City of Buffalo, east of Main St.
The City of Buffalo, west of Main St.
Town of Tonawanda
We use research-informed practices to support and cultivate collaborations to strengthen under-resourced communities.
We envision a thriving region that has the necessary resources to address community needs.
Community-driven solutions, efficiency, collaboration, relationship building, transparency, honesty, information, agility, and consensus.
Assessing the needs
The John R. Oishei Foundation works with the University at Buffalo Regional Institute (UBRI) to develop comprehensive assessments of community needs and gaps in services.
The Mobile Safety-Net Team and community service providers use these reports, called Numbers In Need, to:
- Gather data and information, including community strengths, assets, gaps, and challenges
- Discover opportunities for collaborations and partnerships (between service providers, and with MSNT staff)
- Write grants, raise funds, and advocate for services
- Set priorities and develop new programs
- Inform decision-making
Numbers In Need Reports Available
The John R. Oishei Foundation's Mobile Safety-Net Team and the UB Regional Institute (UBRI) have launched Numbers In Need, a new website featuring a wealth of new data, updated community reports, and other useful elements. This updated resource—available to all—will significantly enhance our ability to support researchers, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and anyone interested in gaining a better understanding of the needs of communities throughout Western New York.
> Our Previous Print Reports are available here
Programs and Initiatives
Working with our community coalitions, we identify critical needs and identify opportunities for collaboration to expand resources. The following are some examples of our impact.
With our support, local coalitions organize and host Community Resource Hubs to bring together a variety of services useful to local residents conveniently located in one place. Services may include those focusing on housing, education, and workforce training, as well as legal services, youth services, senior services, utility assistance and food assistance.
The Healthy Corner Store Initiative
Developed out of our North East Buffalo Coalition, this initiative has successfully launched in six stores on the east side of Buffalo since early 2016. The goal is to bring healthy options into known food desert neighborhoods while providing technical support to store owners and nutrition education to the community. The initiative was awarded $118,000 from General Mills for a full-time staff person and to increase our store owner training and community outreach efforts.
Good for the Neighborhood Program through Independent Health
We helped facilitate connections between community coalitions and Independent Health Foundation’s Good for the Neighborhood program in both Lackawanna and Akron-Newstead. In Lackawanna, the local school district implements the program to bring ongoing health screenings and education to the community alongside consistent data collection. In addition to support from the Independent Health Foundation, the district looked at transportation challenges for community residents and worked to bridge that gap with the program. In 2018, our Building Unity through Community coalition of Akron-Newstead was also awarded the Good for the Neighborhood program, and shortly thereafter launched the first event.
Community Impact Coordinator
Annie directs research, planning, and implementation of coalition initiatives in the City of Tonawanda, the Village of Springville/Town of Concord, and the East Side of Buffalo. Most notably, she has developed programs such as the Buffalo Healthy Corner Store Initiative and the Peer-to-Peer prevention program in the City of Tonawanda School district.
Annie has been with the Mobile Safety-Net Team since 2010 and has a passion for impacting communities through collaboration and process improvement. In 2016 she was recognized by the city of Buffalo Common Council, and in 2017 received the SoPHi award for collaboration from Population Health Collaborative for her work on the Healthy Corner Store Initiative. In 2019 she received the WNY United WiNnY Award for her work on substance abuse prevention. She received her BA in Anthropology from Portland State University in Portland, OR.
Allison Geddes, MSW
Community Impact Coordinator
Allison joined the MSNT team in 2018, first serving as an intern and now working full time as a Community Impact Coordinator. She facilitates coalitions in specific communities to assist in strengthening the human and social services available to residents. Her work is focused in Niagara Falls, Newfane, North Tonawanda, and the City of Buffalo. In addition, Allison contributes to updates to 12 community reports regarding community needs and develops partnerships with local stakeholders to host forums and trainings for coalition members and the community.
Geddes holds a Masters of Social Work and Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences Interdisciplinary: Health and Human Services from the State University at Buffalo (UB). In addition to interning with MSNT, she also worked as a School Social Worker in the Buffalo Public Schools and as a Pre-K intern at the Early Childhood Research Center. Geddes also has an interest in health and wellness and served as a program coordinator and coach for the Amherst Soccer Association, and is pursuing her certification in trauma-informed yoga. She is a native of Long Island, N.Y.
Community Impact Coordinator
Brandon Redmond joined the Mobile Safety-Net Team in early 2021 and serves as a Community Impact Coordinator, working within communities throughout Erie and Niagara counties. His role with the Team is to strengthen the safety net of human and social services, build coalitions among organizations, and promote data-informed decision-making.
Brandon will work with local coalitions, identify and address critical needs, and pinpoint opportunities to enhance collaboration and expand resources that support residents in those communities. He will also work to develop partnerships with local stakeholders to host forums and trainings for coalition members and the community.
Brandon has a strong background in research, neighborhood and community planning, and historic preservation. Prior to joining the MSNT, he completed a Master’s in Urban Planning from the University at Buffalo’s School of Architecture and Planning. Before joining MSNT, Brandon served as a research assistant at KTA Preservation Specialists in Buffalo. He has also been a program manager at UB’s Center for Urban Studies, directing “Community as a Classroom” that aimed to empower youth in the Fruit Belt neighborhood on Buffalo’s East Side, aimed at educating and empowering youth on social issues and how they can address them with a perspective of opportunity. Brandon also holds a B.A. in Environmental Design from the State University of New York at Buffalo.
The team is overseen by Lawrence Cook, Senior Vice President of Programs at The John R. Oishei Foundation.