Catholic Charities receives $100,000 grant from John R. Oishei Foundation

Fri, Jun 12th 2015 12:00 pm
Catholic Charities

Catholic Charities of Buffalo has received a two-year, $200,000 grant from the John R. Oishei Foundation to assist its Immigration and Refugee Assistance Program (IRAP) in establishing a multidisciplinary health care clinic to serve new arrivals at its campus on Buffalo's West Side.

Funding for the clinic will help support the renovation and repurposing of the former Nativity Roman Catholic Church on Herkimer Street to serve as a "one-stop" service center. Health care partner Mobile Primary will provide refugee health assessments and primary care. Baker Victory Services will provide dental health assessment and services. D'Youville College faculty and allied health students will assist in provision of clinic services. Plans also include the location of a Women, Infants and Children (WIC) site in the facility.

Dennis Walczyk, Catholic Charities' chief executive officer, said, "Our vision and hope for this space will become a reality, thanks in part to the generosity of the John R. Oishei Foundation."    

The Refugee Services Center estimates serving 800 to 1,000 people during its first full year of operation.

The mission of the John R. Oishei Foundation is to be a catalyst for change to enhance the economic vitality and quality of life for the Buffalo Niagara region through grant making, leadership and network building. The Foundation's roles in the community include strategic, results-oriented funding; leadership and leadership development; organizational assessment and capacity building; change management; convening; cultivating networks and collaborations; and advocacy of public policy.                                

IRAP resettles up to 600 refugees per year and provides services to an additional 400 immigrants annually. Pre- and post-arrival services such as assistance with housing, food, clothing and employment are provided, as well as naturalization workshops and citizenship classes. For more information, call (716) 842-0270 or visit

IRAP began providing English as Second Language (ESL) classes and life skills training in classrooms in the former Nativity Parish School in 2009. The former school accommodated the escalating demand for adult ESL classes for newly arrived refugees. Catholic Charities secured the school, the former rectory and church building in 2010 with the goal of centralizing services on the Nativity Campus.

For 91 years, Catholic Charities has been making a difference for people of every faith and ethnicity in Western New York. Catholic Charities empowers children, families and seniors to achieve meaningful, healthy and productive lives. In all situations, Catholic Charities delivers support to meet immediate needs, and then assess its clients for other needs to ensure long-term success. It is the most comprehensive human service provider serving Western New York.  For five years, Catholic Charities attained the highest possible rating (four stars) from Charity Navigator for sound fiscal management. Catholic Charities also receives highest ratings for quality of service from the Council on Accreditation.  

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