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Buffalo Co-Lab

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

Zachary Perkins

Photo: Zachary Perkins
Hamburg, NY
Westminster Economic Development Initiative

The Westminster Economic Development Initiative (WEDI) began as a mission of Westminster Presbyterian Church to improve the quality of life for residents of Buffalo’s West Side, but became a separate 501(c)3 organization by 2007. In 2013, WEDI revised its mission and now focuses on offering “business and educational opportunity to people of Buffalo’s West Side” in hopes of achieving its vision for a vibrant, stable, and inviting community.

Work Highlights

  • Assisted with launching the West Side Bazaar’s food cart to complement the restaurants’ retail location. Expanded markets and represented the Bazaar with the cart at a number of events throughout the summer.
  • Created an annual report template model for the organization.
  • Streamlined fundraising systems and pipelines.
  • Served on West Side Bazaar’s Expansion Committee and Marketing Committee
  • Updated over six months of economic development meetings into an online database.

In their own words

“I learned a great deal about Buffalo this summer. I was able to see how much diversity the city has, the good and bad changes that are being made. Overall, I was more submersed in the city than ever before. Through service learning, I experienced that there is a lot of work to be done by a multitude of organizations to create systematic change. The work at these organizations is very important for the lives of disadvantaged groups.”


"Zach's work and experience level exceeded expectations, specifically via his ability to apply past work experience in conjunction with academic training and his adaptability. Zach’s service was most relevant to about 8 West Side Bazaar vendors whom he assisted through our Food Cart project and broader business incubation operations."

Danny Hall, Capacity Building Specialist
Westminster Economic Development Initiative