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Should Buffalo Return to Neighborhood Schools?

Newson August 27th, 2014No Comments

On August 26, The Buffalo News published an article on the revival of the debate over whether Buffalo should return to a neighborhood schools model.

Members of the board majority listed neighborhood schools as one of nine structural reforms they want the district to undertake, hoping “to see the majority of struggling, general education elementary schools revert to a neighborhood or community model that can keep parents and children connected to where they live.”

Concerns were voiced on both sides of the debate by local leaders and community members:

Council Majority Leader Demone A. Smith, chairman of the Education Committee, said he wants to see more resources devoted to neighborhood schools, particularly in prekindergarten through third grade, when parents tend to be most hands-on in their children’s academic lives and when children need the most academic support.

Ideally, he said, 60 percent of all school seats would be reserved for nearby families, he said. “They would have the first rights to a seat at a neighborhood school,” he said.

Meanwhile, board member Carl P. Paladino, known for his promotion of school vouchers and charter schools, said he’s also committed to the elementary neighborhood school concept.

“This is one of the smartest decisions we can make,” he said. “We need to sit and come up with a plan that’s reasonable.”

Some were more strongly opposed to the idea, citing issues with racial segregation and unequal access to resources:

“If you’re talking about going back to neighborhood schools, you’re talking about black students and schools within the inner city being the last on the list in terms of services, teachers and everything else,” said former Council President George K. Arthur.

Frank B. Mesiah, president of the Buffalo branch of the NAACP, said good education is the result of good teaching and a good curriculum, not location. “There’s no assurance that parents would have any more control over the resources or the curriculum that they’re going to be taught, just by making it a neighborhood school,” he said. “It’s a good emotional argument for people who have an agenda.”

PPG published a report on this topic, explaining what a neighborhood school is, reviewing Buffalo’s history of departing from the neighborhood model, and how re-instating neighborhood schools would benefit students, parents and teachers. It also makes note of the issues with returning to more racially and economically segregated classrooms with this model.

Click here to read the report in full.

The Public Good with Subversive Theater

Newson August 22nd, 2014No Comments

The Partnership for the Public Good has a weekly radio show, The Public Good, which airs on WUFO 1080AM every Tuesday at 1 p.m. Our co-director, Sam Magavern, talks with representatives from local non-profits and grassroots organizations who are contributing to the public good in their community and discusses some of the hottest issues.

On Tuesday, September 2 at 1pm, join us for the Public Good on WUFO AM 1080 and  Our guests from Subversive Theater will preview their new production of John Steinbeck’s classic tale, The Grapes of Wrath.  Listen to director Gary Darling and actors Diane Cammarata (Grandma Joad) and Tim Raymond (Grandpa Joad), along with banjo player Kathleen Godwin, as they perform an excerpt and talk about the play — set in the Great Depression — and its relevance to today’s issues of poverty and equal justice.

People’s Climate March in New York City

Eventson August 13th, 2014Comments Off

In September, world leaders are coming to New York City for a UN summit on the climate crisis. The UN Secretary­ General is urging governments to support an ambitious global agreement to dramatically reduce global warming pollution.

On Sunday, September 21, over 300 groups representing youth, parents, faith communities, labor unions and more will march to demand a world with an economy that works for people and the planet; a world safe from the ravages of climate change; a world with good jobs, clean air and water, and healthy communities.

Sierra Club Niagara Group and local allied groups are organizing buses to NYC and offering Scholarship Tickets to students and qualified participants.

To show your support and get in line for the Buffalo Bus to NYC,

If you have questions, email
For more information visit


Recycling Alliance Seeking Volunteers for Elmwood Art Fest

Newson August 11th, 2014Comments Off
The Buffalo Recycling Alliance will have “recycling rangers” in attendance at this years Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts to help promote recycling. The festival will take place on August 23 and 24. It will run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

Each volunteer will receive a Recycling Ranger t-shirt. If interested in volunteering, please complete the following doodle poll and someone will contact you directly:

Save the Date: Peace & Nonviolence Festival

Eventson August 11th, 2014Comments Off

On Saturday, September 21, 2014, several nonviolence groups and community members will gather at Delaware Park’s Rose Garden to raise awareness to reduce violence in our communities and our world. The International Day of Peace “Peace & Nonviolence Festival” will take place from 1 to 5 p.m. and is free to attend. There will be an all ages walk, children’s activities and crafts, cooperative games and food vendors.

Topics of discussion will include:

  • Peace education in our K-12 schools and communities
  • Ending the military drone program
  • Establishing a $15 minimum wage for all
  • An international treaty for action to reverse climate change
  • Practicing nonviolence toward ourselves, toward all others, and toward the planet

 For more information, have a table or help plan, call (716)-491-9172 or 884-0582. To learn more about the nonviolence campaign, visit


Open Buffalo Seeking Interns

Newson August 6th, 2014Comments Off

Open Buffalo is currently accepting applications for September. The job responsibilities and qualifications are as follows:


Open Buffalo interns will be assisting a dedicated team on a variety of tasks. Interns will learn how to work in a professional environment and have ample opportunity to network with Open Buffalo staff and other professionals in the local non-profit community. Open Buffalo values its interns and will go the extra mile to make sure interns receive a learning experience that fits your career goals. Interns will be expected to commit to 10-20 hours a week. The program will run from September to December 2014.


  • Enrollment in a local high school or university

  • Demonstrated commitment, through work or volunteer experience, to social justice

  • Strong written and verbal communication skills

  • Self-motivated, resourceful, and creative

  • Strong interest in collaboration and building community

  • Cultural competency and proven ability to work in a culturally diverse environment

  • Strong follow-through and attention to detail


Open Buffalo values diversity and inclusion throughout our city and within our organization. People of color, women, LGBTQ individuals, people with disabilities and formerly incarcerated people are encouraged to apply. 

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. College credit is available. Please submit a cover letter and resume to: 

Open Buffalo Search Committee

c/o Partnership for the Public Good

237 Main Street, 12th Floor

Buffalo, NY 14203

Or via e-mail to


Visit to learn more about the Open Buffalo initiative.

Click here for more information on how to apply.

21st Century Park on the Outer Harbor Petitioning For a Park First Approach

Newson August 6th, 2014Comments Off

The Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC) has spent the last several weeks hosting public planning sessions to solicit input on the best plans for developing the outer harbor. Next month, the ECHDC and its consultants will present the preferred plan and the public will again have the chance to provide commentary.

The public can weigh in at any time by writing the ECHDC planning team by emailing

21st Century Park on the Outer Harbor also has a petition on their website to create a park with significant waterfront access on Buffalo’s Outer Harbor based upon the ideas of 21st Century on the Outer Harbor’s conceptual rendering. Click here to review and sign their petition.

To get involved or learn more about 21st Century Park on the Outer Harbor, visit

You can also visit our Youtube page to see our interview with Gary Phillips and Derek King about the group’s plans for the outer harbor. \

Click here to read PPG co-director Sam Magavern’s letter to the ECHDC, published in Buffalo Rising.

PPG Welcomes Two New Staff Members

Newson August 4th, 2014Comments Off

We’re excited to announce the arrival of two new staff members here at the Partnership for the Public Good! Howard Patton joined us in mid-July, taking on the role of Manager of Operations, Communications and Development. Tina Meyers started the first week of August in the position of Policy Analyst.

Howard Patton III

Howard Patton comes to PPG with many years’ experience in information technology and systems management. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems from Medaille College and an MBA from Ashford University. He is currently an Information Systems Management Ph.D. candidate at Walden University.

Howard served in the U.S. Army as a data analyst from 1988 to 1997, later taking information technology and computer tech related positions with Inland Service Corp., Computers for Children, Mod-Pac, and the SUNY ATTAIN LAB @ Niagara Falls Housing Authority. Howard is also the owner and certified computer technician at Patton’s Computer Solutions and Training. His skills in analysis, management, and technology make him the ideal candidate for his new position at PPG.

Tina Meyers

Tina Meyers is a Buffalo native with over five years of legal and policy experience within academia and nonprofit organizations. An attorney by training, Tina’s work has focused on environmental and social justice issues. Tina earned a B.S. in Environmental Science and a B.A. in Biology from University of Rochester and her law degree from University at Buffalo Law School. Since moving back to Buffalo last fall, she has become very interested in restorative justice practices through the Unity Church of Buffalo.

She is currently enrolled in a master’s program in Spiritual Psychology at the University of Santa Monica focusing on techniques for peaceful issue resolution. She is excited to utilize her skills and interests to help improve her hometown through the Partnership for the Public Good and the Open Buffalo initiative.

Save the Date! AFP 2014: Change Through Stories

Events, Newson August 1st, 2014Comments Off

Mark your calendars! On September 10 at 1 p.m., PPG’s co-director Sam Magavern will be hosting a discussion on telling Buffalo’s story as part of the Anne Frank Project’s 2014 Conference, “Change Through Stories.”

The Anne Frank Project seeks to explore the impact of Anne Frank’s ideals throughout history. The mission of The Anne Frank Project is to encourage communities to utilize the words and wisdom of Anne Frank as a starting point for the intense examination of genocide, intolerance, bigotry and racism as a means towards finding solutions towards an elevated and shared human condition.

This year’s conference will run September 8-10 and will include performances, art exhibits and speakers from all walks of life. AFP 2014: Change Through Stories is a laboratory and a meeting place for all disciplines to tell stories that inspire change, engage people in the lessons of those stories, and provide tools and vocabulary that encourage people to change their world.

Click here to view the current list of events and speakers, and to learn more about the Anne Frank Project as a whole.

WNY Worker Center To Host “Fun-raiser”

Newson July 30th, 2014Comments Off

On Thursday, July 31 from 5-9pm, WNYCOSH’s Worker Center will host a picnic “fun-raiser” at LaSalle Park to raise money to continue its work with advocating for local laborers and helping them to organize for better working conditions. The event will include a corn roast, craft beer from Old First Ward Brewing Company, lawn games, live music by 5 to 1, and ice cream. There will be a suggested donation of $20 to help support the Worker Center.

Cornell University ILR High Road Fellow Zakiya Williams was placed at the WNYCOSH Worker Center this summer. She supported a campaign to reach, assist and empower workers in the temporary and low-wage workforce. As part of this work, she created a video on wage theft to educate the general public about the issue and to be used as a training tool for advocates, employers and employees.

To view Zakiya’s video, click the link below:

Raise the Wage

To learn more about the Worker Center, visit their website or check out this recent article on Buffalo Rising.

For more information about Thursday’s event,  call (716) 833-5416 or visit their website.