Click here to see photos & bios of the 2023 cohort!
Twenty-four dynamic changemakers have been named to the fifth cohort of the Karen Lee Spaulding Oishei Fellowship for Leaders of Color program by The John R. Oishei Foundation. Those chosen for the prestigious and sought-after program will attend the Rockwood Leadership Institute’s rigorous Art of Leadership program in October and join a growing community of outstanding leaders of color in the Western New York region.
The Fellowship, now in its fifth year, was created as part of the Oishei Foundation’s focus on racial equity and in response to a compelling need for nonprofit leadership cultivation, particularly among people of color in the Western New York region. Nearly 100 nonprofit professionals have undergone the personal and professional leadership training program and continue to contribute and learn as part of the network of nonprofit professionals of color. Participants in earlier cohorts have used the words “transformational” and “life-changing” regarding the training and have credited the Fellowship with helping them to grow and prosper in their careers and their personal lives.
Selection criteria for the program included possessing personal and professional readiness to learn new leadership skills; an interest in participating in a rigorous learning experience; demonstrated commitment to improving the wellbeing of all people in the Buffalo Niagara region; representing a meaningful cross-section of nonprofit professional backgrounds, experiences, and sectors; and representing a diversity of racial/ethnic communities.
The intensive leadership training program, held at Beaver Hollow Resort and Conference Center includes day-long sessions over five days at no cost to the participants. All applicants were thoughtfully vetted and chosen by the Rockwood Leadership Institute with a focus on creating a diverse cohort of 24 fellows. They represent a broad cross-section of self-identified nonprofit professionals of color including a range of gender, age, spiritual practice, types of organization, and professional experience. Those chosen will join the current community of 94 Fellows, who share close bonds of friendship and collegiality, and who continue to strengthen their leadership practice together through ongoing professional development opportunities hosted through the program by the Oishei Foundation.
The program is named in honor of Karen Lee Spaulding, former Vice President of Philanthropic Support as a tribute to her work in conceiving, developing, and leading the leadership program before her retirement in 2021 and is now overseen by Mark J. Scott, Ph.D., the Foundation’s Vice President for Philanthropic Support.
According to Dr. Scott, “We are so pleased to reach a five-year milestone with the Fellows program, but more importantly, we are delighted to see the full network of Fellows continue to learn, share, socialize, plan, and work together as a result of their participation in the program. It is wonderful to see the current participants welcome new Fellows into their community and see now a growing focus within the group on how they may address issues important to them. These are clearly leaders who are determined to make positive changes for themselves, their respective organizations and WNY. At Oishei, we believe that focus on and investment in these individuals strengthens the nonprofit sector, offering leaders who can share their lived experience, expertise, and perspective.”
Those chosen as Oishei Fellows include:
- Adamaah Grayse, Grassroots Gardens WNY
- Amiyah King, Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center
- Anna Miller, Native American Community Services
- Antoine Johnson, Buffalo Prenatal-Perinatal Network, Inc.
- Asantewa Holley, Northland Workforce Training Center
- Cecelie Owens, The G.I.R.L.S. Sports Foundation, Inc
Chad Williams, dooProcess
- Courtney Santasero, Peaceprints of WNY
- Daniel Robertson, Say Yes Buffalo Scholarship Inc.
- Daniella Gallego, Homeless Alliance of WNY
- DeWan Stroud, BestSelf Behavioral Health
- Hagar Hafez, New York Immigration Coalition
- Jennifer Loughran, Horizon Health Alliance
- Keesha Habeeb, Belmont Housing
- Kenyana David, National Black MBA Association, WNY Chapter
- LeAnthony Freeman, Y.A.L.E. Academy, Inc.
- Luis Maisonet, CFS - Haven House
- Maria Cruz, Liga de Mujeres Hispanas- Hispanic Women’s League
- Rahsaan DeLain, Community Health Center of Buffalo, Inc
- Sam Hill, Heritage Ministries
- Sonya Tareke, The Exchange at Beverly Gray
- Tala Harden, The Buffalo History Museum
- Tesha Parker, Rooted in Love, Inc.
- Yuki Numata Resnick, Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo
The Art of Leadership teaches critical personal and organizational leadership skills necessary for successful and sustainable leadership including powerful visioning, listening, speaking, presentation, coaching, collaboration, and feedback skills. In addition to participating in the retreat, each participant will undergo a 360-degree leadership assessment and receive a comprehensive workbook and electronic resource filled with tools and processes to use within their organizations. They will also be part of the 8000+ national and international members of Rockwood Community of Practice, which provides post-training learning opportunities through alumni gatherings and social media tools.
The John R. Oishei Foundation is the most comprehensive private foundation in Western New York focusing on a broad range of interrelated issues and offering philanthropic support that goes far beyond funding. Our mission is to enhance the economic vitality and quality of life for the Buffalo Niagara region through grantmaking, leadership, and network building. The Foundation was established in 1940 by John R. Oishei, founder of Trico Products Corporation.