Local Non-Profits Selected for StoryGrowing Western New York


The Health Foundation for Western and Central New York and The John R. Oishei Foundation sponsored program aims to bolster storytelling skills in community organizations

Nine local nonprofit organizations have been selected from a field of 36 applicants to participate in the second annual StoryGrowing WNY program, hosted by The Health Foundation for Western and Central New York and The John R. Oishei Foundation. The collaborative program is designed to enhance and expand the ability of non-profit organizations to share their story effectively and to nurture their organization’s growth through effective communications.

The free, six-month program offers teaching, coaching and mentoring and will help organizations build their internal capacity in identifying and applying various story types and using stories in advocacy, development and community outreach. Teams will also develop skills in branding, communications, and in using tools such as video, digital media, and public relations to tell their stories.

Using a curriculum designed in part by Andy Goodman, an internationally recognized storytelling expert, author and speaker, the nine teams will go through a series of workshops taught by local marketing and communications experts. The teams will be encouraged to integrate storytelling into their communications efforts and will have access to professional assistance and feedback at no cost to them. In addition, each team will be mentored by a “Sherpa” who will guide the team in their learning and implementation efforts, and they will have access to a number of coaches who have expertise in specific areas of marketing, communications, branding, design and visual arts.

The selected teams include:

  • Buffalo Center for the Arts & Technology
  • Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper
  • Buffalo Prenatal-Perinatal Network, Inc.
  • Center for Inclusive Design and Environmental Access (IDeA Center), University at Buffalo
  • Childcare Resource Network
  • Community Services for Every1
  • Horizon Health Services
  • Preservation Buffalo Niagara
  • Western New York Book Arts Center

StoryGrowing WNY was modeled on a similar program held by the Health Foundation in Central New York in 2016. The local inaugural program was held in late 2017 through early 2018 with eight nonprofits participating. More than 250 representatives from local nonprofit organizations attended a kick-off event last month featuring Goodman, where they learned more about effective storytelling and the details of the StoryGrowing program. Program applicants were evaluated based on their communications need, their ability to successfully complete the program, and their willingness to integrate storytelling into their overall culture. Teams are required to attend all workshops and to include at least one senior leader as part of their team.

Because the workshop presenters, Sherpas and coaches are local professionals, the participants will also have the ability to expand their networks of local experts in the marketing and communications fields in addition to the training they receive.

StoryGrowing WNY is a collaborative capacity building effort between the two sponsoring foundations.  It was created to help build the internal communications expertise of their grantees and other community organizations serving Western New York. To learn more, go to www.storygrowingwny.org


About the Sponsors:

The Health Foundation for Western and Central New York is an independent private foundation that advocates for continuous improvement in health and healthcare across western and central New York, with special focus on young children, older adults and the systems serving them.

The John R. Oishei Foundation enhances 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.