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Peaceprints of WNY awarded $2 million from MacKenzie Scott

Peaceprints of WNY C.E.O. Cindi McEachon
Peaceprints of WNY
Peaceprints WNY C.E.O. Cindi McEachon

A local organization that helps the formerly incarcerated re-enter society has $2 million at its disposal thanks to billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott.

Peaceprints of WNY was the recipient of the money through Yield Giving Foundation’s Open Call for community-focused organizations whose purpose is to help those in needs. Peaceprints is an organization that helps the formerly incarcerated re-enter society.

Peaceprints C.E.O. Cindi McEachon said for a person released from incarceration basic essentials are needed for them to even begin to move forward with their life. She said Peaceprints will use some of the money to continue to fill those gaps.

“Food, shelter, water, the essentials, that's huge,” McEachon said. “We take for granted often our access to clean, safe, affordable living. We can even just start with that. And then when you have somewhere to lay your head, do you have food to eat? Do you have the ability to access food? There are so many variables and variances that happen when somebody is released in that moment of time that is purely connected to them in their individual story.”

Peaceprints was one of over 6,000 applicants for Yield Giving’s Open Call.

“We had to not only fill out an application, but we had to produce a small video,” she said of the process. “And that video required a board member as well as the leader or a member of the leadership team of the organization. And those items had to be submitted about eight months in advance. And once they went in, we waited.”

And waited, McEachon said.

“One of the requirements was that as an applicant, you were also going to evaluate other applications from other spaces across the nation,” she said. “Obviously, we won't review our own. But it was a peer review concept throughout some of the process in the very early spaces. So, we participated in the peer review process, they continued to give us updates, all along the way until they were about 75%. Through the vetting process at around 75%. It went dark. We didn't hear anything else after that.”

Eventually she did get notified Peaceprints was an award recipient and also came the news Yield Giving had expanded the number of award recipients and doubled the award amount to $2 million.

With more money than initially thought, McEachon said rehabbing the Bissonette House, a transitional housing facility on Grider Street, is a top priority.

“It's what most folks are familiar with,” she said of the services provided by the Bissonette House. “And that was founded by Sister Karen [Klimczak]. The building is in dire need of repairs. So there are just some things right away to improve quality of life that we know is of immediate value for us to spend a little bit of that money on and get that building into a better space.”

PUSH Buffalo was also a Yield Giving Foundation Award recipient.

Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Thomas moved to Western New York at the age of 14. A graduate of Buffalo State College, he majored in Communications Studies and was part of the sports staff for WBNY. When not following his beloved University of Kentucky Wildcats and Boston Red Sox, Thomas enjoys coaching youth basketball, reading Tolkien novels and seeing live music.
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