Learn what’s happening at the Foundation and in the communities where we work. Hear from staff and partners about their accomplishments and lessons learned along the way.

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Peter & Elizabeth Tower Foundation Appoints Three New Board Members


Author: Nicholas Randell

Buffalo, N.Y., May 20, 2024 – The Board of Trustees of The Peter & Elizabeth Tower Foundation has appointed three new members and includes Allen Paul Booker, Dr. Marie A. Cannon, and Dr. Jacqueline Hall. The new members will each serve an initial one year term with the private family foundation that serves Western New … Continued

Reflections From the Tower Staff On Our DEI Progress


Author: Megan MacDavey

Equity is a critical piece of our work at the Peter & Elizabeth Tower Foundation. For the last few years, we have worked to pay closer attention to the convergence of our focus areas (intellectual disabilities, learning disabilities, mental health, and substance use disorders) with systemic issues of racism, sexism, classism, ableism, and more.  In … Continued

Participatory Grantmaking at the Tower Foundation: 2024


Author: Nicholas Randell

At the Tower Foundation, we are excited to advance our participatory grantmaking agenda on several fronts in 2024.  Before previewing these in this post, I offer a definition of participatory philanthropy from the Fund for Shared Insight.. Participatory Philanthropy: A philanthropy practice that explicitly includes the participation of  community members with lived expertise in a … Continued

Reflections from our 2023 DEI Learning Network Retreat


Author: Megan MacDavey and Chuck Colston

For two days this November, we had the privilege of joining seven nonprofit leaders at an equity focused retreat in Beverly, Massachusetts. This retreat was the culmination of years of partnership, via a learning network, with leaders from grant partner organizations who are advancing equity within their organizations and communities.  Like any good retreat, this … Continued

Reflections from our Participatory Grantmaking Project Manager


Author: Nissa Bisguier, Participatory Grantmaking Project Manager

The 2023 Community Experts Team just wrapped up its grant review, after coming together again with a mix of seasoned and brand-new members to determine the distribution of $215,000 to programs supporting youth. This year, the team was composed of 16 team members with lived experience, with origins from counties in Massachusetts and New York … Continued

Exploring Intersectionality: A Series of Conversations


Author: Nicholas Randell

On November 20, 2023, the Tower Foundation hosted an online conversation about the intersection of incarceration and substance use.  Panelists from several of our grant partners were invited to discuss the ways in which their work with recently incarcerated youth is affected by substance use disorders within this population.  Rates of substance use disorder are … Continued

Testing Another Form of Participatory Philanthropy


Author: Megan MacDavey

Participatory philanthropy, according to the new Participatory Philanthropy Toolkit from the Fund for Shared Insight is defined as:  A philanthropy practice that explicitly includes the participation of community members with lived expertise in a relevant issue area (non-funders) and shifts power from traditional foundation decision makers to participants during any part of the philanthropy process … Continued

Capacity Building Spotlight: Catchafire


Author: Megan MacDavey, Program Officer

At the Peter & Elizabeth Tower Foundation, strengthening organizational capacity is a central tenant in our grantmaking. We recognize that our communities need strong organizations, leaders, and teams in order to deliver the best services to the populations we are interested in supporting. We also know that organizations are dealing with significant challenges in the … Continued

NE Arc Blog
Grant Partner Spotlight: Northeast Arc Ambassadors Represent


Author: Nick Randell, Program Officer

In the fall of 2022, the Tower Foundation’s Community Experts Fund awarded a total of $200,000 to agencies that support programming for young people with intellectual disabilities and/or behavioral health challenges.  The Fund was entirely designed and administered by a group of young adults that represented our funding regions and that had lived expertise across … Continued

Tower Foundation and INP: A Community-First Model of Partnership


Author: Yolanda Coentro, President and CEO, Institute for Nonprofit Practice

When the Institute for Nonprofit Practice (INP) received our first grant from the Tower Foundation in 2009, little did we know that this investment would blossom into a transformative partnership spanning many years and multiple communities.  Last month, while attending the graduation ceremony for INP’s first-ever Western New York cohort of Core Program graduates through … Continued