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Big Culturals Give Little Groups a Boost

By Joyce Kryszak

Buffalo, NY – This budget season, Erie County lawmakers spread a little extra funding cheer to some smaller arts groups. But the generosity was really a gift from larger organizations, such as the Buffalo Zoo.

About a dozen cultural and community groups are slated to get some unexpected funding thanks to last minute amendments by lawmakers.

Most of the groups, not previously recomended for funding, will get $2,000 each.

To make the money go further in an already tight budget, lawmakers trimmed a little here and there from the larger cultural groups.

The Buffalo Zoo lost roughly $35,000 from what was originally proposed. Donna Fernadez is Zoo President. She said they don't mind giving a little so others can benefit too.

In fact, Fernadez said, even with the slight cut, overall the zoo will get about $65,000 over what was budgeted this year. And she said that is good news, because utilities and other costs continue to rise.

Vive La Casa is one organization that feared it would close because of its funding woes. The original budget proposed no funding for the agency.

But lawmakers shifted $75,000 from other lines to help stabilize the agency that aids refugees.

Fernadez said the culturals, although thankful for the county funding, need more permanent solutions.

The Cornell Board of Cooperative Extension Services was another organization that was given some extra help by lawmakers. Funding was nearly doubled to allow the group to continue long-standing programs such as the 4-H Clubs.

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