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BFNC officially opens its new Main Street building

A woman stands in front of a banner wearing a black dress. The banner reads "BFNC: Buffalo Federation of Neighborhood Centers. Unlocking Potential & Enriching Lives."
Chandra Redfern, CEO of the Buffalo Federation of Neighborhood Centers

Dating back 130 years, the Buffalo Federation of Neighborhood Centers (BFNC) possesses a historic legacy. In its earliest days, the organization provided settlement homes for Buffalo's growing immigrant population.

On Thursday, the BFNC took another step into a new era with the ribbon-cutting on its new administration building at 2365 Main Street.

"We are living our focus of reimagining service to the community," said CEO Chandra Redfern.

The $3.5 million project featured the renovation and acquisition of the building that once served Canisius University as Demerly Hall. The BFNC provides a safety net of human services including a food pantry, assistance to those living with mental illness and substance abuse, and financial education. However, Redfern says there is a growing need for housing, with requests increasing by "over 50 percent."

Redfern started 20 years ago as a case worker at the BFNC and has held other positions before becoming, first COO, and, now, CEO. The experience has provided a unique perspective on current conditions.

"I think things are a lot more difficult for people than when I started in the field. I think the overall climate of the world, in general, has just affected people's kindness, generosity and grace," Redfern reflected.

To improve the quality of life for "everyone," Redfern says, "that requires those of us who maybe are not facing situations to see how we can assist in some way, if possible. Even if it's just keeping an eye out and giving someone a call."

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Jay joined Buffalo Toronto Public Media in 2008 and has been local host for NPR's "Morning Edition" ever since. In June, 2022, he was named one of the co-hosts of WBFO's "Buffalo, What's Next."

A graduate of St. Mary's of the Lake School, St. Francis High School and Buffalo State College, Jay has worked most of his professional career in Buffalo. Outside of public media, he continues in longstanding roles as the public address announcer for the Buffalo Sabres of the National Hockey League and as play-by-play voice of Canisius College basketball.