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Buffalo Co-Lab

skyline of Buffalo

Buffalo Co-Lab advances an equitable economy and democratic community, collaboratively integrating scholarly and practical understanding to strengthen civic action.

Angie Estevez Prada

Photo: Angie Estevez Prada
Sanford, NC
Open Buffalo

Open Buffalo is a civic initiative to make major, long-term improvements in justice and equity; it is an unprecedented collaboration among a diverse group of partners; and it is one of three projects in the nation chosen for the Open Places Initiative of the Open Society Foundations. Open Buffalo’s mission is to create systemic changes leading to an “open” city for residents of Buffalo, N.Y., through the measures of equality, justice, and freedom. Open Buffalo provides leadership development, media and policy strategy and coordination, direct support, and assistance to social and economic justice organizations and campaigns, facilitates action-oriented community research, and raises the profile of and mobilizes funding for this important work.

Work Highlights

  • Worked with the Emerging Leaders program and the Community First Alliance which are core areas of Open Buffalo’s issue campaign and civic capacity work.
  • Created outreach documents and implemented a recruiting strategy to ensure a diverse pool of applicants for the Emerging Leaders program and mentors as well.
  • Developed evaluation tools for both participants and mentors in the Emerging Leaders program to gauge satisfaction and opportunities for improvement.
  • Actively supported the Community First Alliance which is seeking a community benefit agreement for the development of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.  
  • Participated in direct actions and community engagement around winning a community land trust for vacant and abandoned properties around the Medical Campus.

In their words

“This summer I learned quite a bit about Buffalo. I had no prior knowledge about the city so through the pre course and hands on experience, I was able to make it my temporary home. I learned about the impact of ‘silver bullet’ industries, and the importance of a diverse economy. I learned about the threat of gentrification, and efforts to deter it. I learned about how a city can be so diverse, and yet so segregated. As for my own career, I learned that the social sector is definitely an area of interest to me, and that I would love to continue to work in it post-graduation. Working in a community based organization helped me prepare myself for my future career because the skills learned at my organization are skills that can be applied almost anywhere.”


“I have supervised High Road Fellows for years, and every year I am more impressed with this program. The students, and especially Angie, always produce high caliber work with thoughtful analysis that can be applied to work being done on the ground immediately.“  

Harper Bishop,  
Open Buffalo