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7 Organizations Inspiring Us To Give Back

With Thanksgiving around the corner, there is an ever-present feeling of goodwill in the air. Maybe it’s the thought of bellies full of carbs, or family gathered around the table, now more than the rest of the year the city is full of people that want to give back.

Giving back to the community, contributing to the greater good shouldn’t be hard to do. However; finding an organization or a cause that suits your desire to help can prove to be difficult. Luckily, Hotel Henry’s Urban Resort community is full of organizations and people that have made giving back their main grind.

Whether you’re looking for an organization to connect with, or that extra inspiration to get up and give back, these Buffalo-based organizations are bringing a deeper meaning to The City Of Good Neighbors.


Yoga class


Yogis in Service

Yogis in Service’s mission is to create connection and to empower their community by providing access to yoga and mindfulness as a set of tools for self-care through regular access to free, community-based classes. Yogis in Service is made up a team of yogis who teach, practice and share yoga. Emphasis on the share yoga part, nearly 100% of their donations go directly to providing yoga, for free, to Buffalo communities.

Attend one of Yogis in Service’s free, weekly yoga classes, open to all abilities and skill levels, and become part of their community. Yogis in Service has a variety of ways to give back,  ranging from yoga mat donations to co-sponsored events.


Ground work Buffalo walking on trail


Groundwork Buffalo

With some 16,000 vacant lots – more than 3,300 acres of land – Buffalo has an abandonment issue. Groundwork Buffalo works with neighborhoods, schools, the City of Buffalo, community-based organizations and businesses to make a positive and meaningful change in neighborhoods. Groundwork Buffalo believes they can improve the environment, economy and the well-being of community residents by collaborating and sharing talent, knowledge, and resources.

Know a high school student looking to contribute to Buffalo, Groundwork Buffalo’s Green Team provides students with the opportunity to improve the environment within their own neighborhoods as well as take part in service work opportunities in National Parks around the country.


Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper Group


Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper

Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper protects and restores our water and surrounding ecosystems for the benefit of current and future generations. With their goals of protecting clean water and restoring the health of ecosystems, Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper is connecting people to water.

Actings as connectors that build partnerships to help people utilize, understand and appreciate Buffalo’s water resources, Buffalo Niagara Waterkeep hops to bring economic growth and community engagement fueled by clean, accessible water.

Opportunities range from cleanups to habitat restoration, and there are plenty of way to get involved in their mission.


Anti-Stigma Coalition poster "Join the conversation" with microphone


Erie County Anti-Stigma Coalition

Approximately 1 in 5 Western New Yorkers are living with a mental health diagnosis, yet many of these people suffer in silence because of the discrimination that goes along with it. The Erie County Anti-Stigma Coalition is starting a conversation to end the stigma surrounding mental illness. Separating the truth from the stigma can help increase awareness, understanding, and acceptance for those living with mental health challenges.

Add your voice to the conversation by taking the pledge to end the stigma around mental health.


4 young women jumping next to water


Westminster Economic Development Initiative (WEDI)

Westminster Economic Development Initiative is a non-profit organization that reduces barriers to success and opportunity through economic development, community building, and education. WEDI’s mission is to empower economically disadvantaged people in Buffalo, NY, with a primary focus on the West Side community. WEDI’s community development work is on display in their West Side Bazaar small business incubator, which provides space for business owners to test their concepts in a supportive environment.

With programs in education, economic development, or community development, WEDI connects people with service opportunities that fit their area of expertise.


student in front of chalkboard


Girls Education Collaborative

The Girls Education Collaborative‘s vision is that every girl is equipped to realize her potential and become a catalyst for change in her own life and her community. The mission of GEC is to help communities bring transformational change to girls’ lives thru the power of holistic, quality education. By forging deep partnerships with education-centered and locally-driven initiatives in underserved rural areas of developing countries, GEC brings assets to help achieve a local vision for the future.

The first step to learning about opportunities with the Girls Education Collaborative is to get connected. Follow their blog posts and social media to learn more about their projects and initiatives.


Group of ladies dancing


International Institute of Buffalo

It would be difficult to list all of the ways The International Institute of Buffalo is involved in the community. The Institute offers integration, refugee resettlement, and employment programs; provides services to survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking; offers translation and interpretation services to break down barriers; presents global education programs for students, adults and businesses; and hosts international visitors.

International Institute volunteers: teach English, help newly arrived refugees, organize donation drives, host and dine with international visitors, contribute professional expertise, and participate in a day of service.



Volunteers are vital to the success of any community organization; a handful of volunteers can change the course of an organization’s initiative and programming. This year between holiday parties, family visits, and whatever festive activities you find yourself involved in we hope you find time to give back.

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