John R. Oishei Foundation Grant

John R. Oishei Foundation

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Grant amount: US $1,000 - US $1,000,000

Deadline: Rolling

Applicant type: Nonprofit

Funding uses: Training / Capacity Building, Capital Project, General Operating Expense, Education / Outreach, Project / Program

Location of project: Counties in New York: Erie County, Niagara County

Location of residency: Counties in New York: Erie County, Niagara County

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About this funder:



Mission & Vision

Our Mission

The John R. Oishei Foundation enhances the economic vitality and quality of life for the Buffalo Niagara region through grantmaking, leadership, and network building.

Our Vision

The John R. Oishei Foundation envisions the Buffalo Niagara region as a safe, healthy, thriving, culturally rich, and diverse community with equitable opportunities for all.

Focus Areas

Strengthen the P-20 Education Continuum

Improving access to education is one of the most effective ways to change lives and strengthen communities for the long term. Education opens up opportunities, and empowers people to earn more, raise healthier families, and achieve their fullest potential year after year.

At The John R. Oishei Foundation, we support best practices and partners across the entire P-20 continuum (from prenatal through early adulthood). We believe that all students should enter school ready to learn, be able to successfully graduate from college or post-secondary programs, and be prepared to enter the workforce.


  1. Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education from cradle to career to strengthen the education pipeline.
  2. Build connections across the education system and with outside partners to enhance the education pathway with seamless points of transition.
  3. Strengthen the capacity of providers to address the complex challenges facing students and their families.
  4. Enhance training, leadership development and engagement opportunities for teachers and parents to increase professional development and collaboration.
  5. Share best practices and create mutual advocacy platforms to strengthen opportunities for learning and encourage policy change.

We invest approximately one-third of our total funding in education.

Enhance Options for Self-Sufficiency

Extraordinary results are possible when people have the tools, resources, and ability to advocate for themselves and shape their own destiny. By promoting self-sufficiency (typically the area in which we provide the largest number of grants), we recognize the essential role of individuals in identifying and addressing the issues that affect them.

The John R. Oishei Foundation supports efforts that focus on the individual by providing basic human needs, enhancing options for self-sufficiency, and empowering underserved communities to remove barriers to escaping poverty.


  1. Empower, support, structure and guide communities in developing effective strategies to address complex community issues.
  2. Enhance training and skill development opportunities to improve employment access and challenge current workforce paradigms.
  3. Improve access to dependable transportation options to increase mobility and promote livable communities.
  4. Improve access to safe, fair and affordable housing options to promote healthy communities.
  5. Strengthen resettlement and acclimation efforts to enhance the integration of immigrants, refugees and asylees into our community.
  6. Improve access to services by convening diverse stakeholders to shape public policy.

Build Livable, Stable Neighborhoods

As The City of Good Neighbors, Buffalo must also be the city of great neighborhoods—close-knit communities that provide equitable opportunities and fully support residents. By improving the places where we live, sleep, work, and play, we can create communities that allow people to thrive in every aspect of their lives.

The John R. Oishei Foundation supports efforts that build strong, stable neighborhoods that are physically safe and attractive, and that provide access to healthy food, reliable transportation, quality healthcare, safe and affordable housing, vibrant commercial districts, quality schools, and meaningful employment opportunities.

Just as our focus on self sufficiency addresses the needs of the whole person, our focus on stabilizing neighborhoods addresses the comprehensive needs of the community. Communities cannot thrive if businesses need support, housing is inadequate, or nutrition is lacking.


  1. Enhance connections between existing neighborhood revitalization efforts and new opportunities to address long-term issues with interrelated activities and focus.
  2. Strengthen coalitions through support and guidance to build consensus and facilitate solution-based outcomes.
  3. Empower residents to create neighborhood change and build sustainable communities; partner with Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) to develop shared action plans.
  4. Build the capacity of organizations leading change to expand their influence in the community and create a positive ripple effect for systems change.

Promote Health and Improve Systems of Care

Access to high-quality healthcare is a cornerstone of an equitable, inclusive community. In Western New York, improving our health outcomes (many of which continue to fall below national standards) can lead to lower costs, longer lifespans, and a wealth of social, economic, and human benefits—especially for those in underserved neighborhoods and groups.

The John R. Oishei Foundation promotes health and improves systems of care by supporting primary care, promoting improvements in behavioral/mental health, and addressing developmental/intellectual disabilities (DD/ID), with a priority on serving at-risk and underserved populations. In addition, we provide education and assistance to community partners regarding changing healthcare delivery systems and reimbursement infrastructures.


  1. Improve healthcare clinics and outreach efforts to broaden the scope and raise the quality of healthcare for individuals and families in community settings.
  2. Enhance the employment pipeline to place more community health workers, home health aides, nurses and doctors in neighborhood settings.
  3. Strengthen family supports to protect children and assist parents with solving complex problems that can lead to violence, abuse and neglect.
  4. Promote opportunities for independent living to control healthcare costs and ensure that the elderly age in place with comfort, safety and dignity.
  5. Develop and expand existing education and training opportunities for providers to improve healthcare delivery and reimbursement.
  6. Strengthen systems of care by convening diverse stakeholders to shape public policy.

Expand the Role of Arts, Culture and Heritage in Regional Development

From neighborhood theaters to world-class museums, Western New York’s wealth of cultural institutions and initiatives enrich our lives in countless ways. They connect us as a community, strengthen our economy, and complement everything from education and healthcare to urban revitalization.

The John R. Oishei Foundation supports efforts to increase the number of local visitors and tourists to stimulate economic development through arts, culture, and heritage. In addition, we support the integration of the arts across all of our focus areas with an emphasis on education, healthcare, civic engagement, and neighborhood stabilization.


  1. Strengthen arts organizations through capacity building and leadership development to ensure their vibrancy and ability to contribute to the sustained growth of the region.
  2. Integrate arts and cultural experiences with other strategies to ensure that communities with limited access will benefit and grow.
  3. Enhance economic development by strengthening the ability of arts organizations to attract national and international tourists.
  4. Protect and restore existing natural and heritage assets to ensure regional identity.
  5. Strengthen regional assets by convening diverse stakeholders to shape public policy.

Types of Support

Eligible activities may receive support for:

  • Expansion or improvement of existing, demonstrably successful programs
  • Creation and implementation of new, innovative approaches
  • Core operations improvement
    • Strengthening internal operations to help organizations better fulfill their missions
    • Fundable activities may include (but are not limited to) capital expenditures, capital improvements, capacity building, and technical assistance; please contact us for additional guidance
  • Exploring and implementation of possible mergers or strategic alignment with other organizations that result in greater efficiencies and benefits to greater community.
  • Administrative and overhead expenses: Organizations may include reasonable administrative or overhead expenses as a percentage of the overall budget (generally up to 10-12% based on actual costs)

Length of funding

Grants may be short-term or multi-year and will depend on the complexity of the project, sources of other funding, and implementation schedule.

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • Eligible programs, services, and operations
    • The activities funded by The Oishei Foundation are:
      • Primarily located in Erie and Niagara Counties
        • Support is primarily focused on activities in Erie and Niagara counties (NY), however we will consider requests from other WNY counties including Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Genesee, Orleans, and Wyoming. 
        • Contact us for guidance if you are unsure of eligibility. 
    • Within our five focus areas
      • Strengthen the P-20 education continuum
      • Enhance options for self-sufficiency
      • Build livable, stable neighborhoods
      • Promote health and improve systems of care
      • Expand the role of arts, culture and heritage in regional development
    • Aligned with our strategic goals
    • Defined by specific objectives and timelines
  • Organizations seeking funding should be:
    • Tax exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code
    • Well-managed, with an active board drawn from a cross-section of the community, and a consistent record of sound fiscal management
    • A demonstrated track record of efficient operations and effective programming; newer organizations should contact us for guidance
  • While organizations are not required to collaborate in order to receive funding, we look for opportunities to support entities that work together to better achieve impact and efficiency and to reduce duplication.  


  • The Oishei Foundation does not make grants to:
    • Governmental (public) institutions, agencies, or projects
    • Individuals
    • Religious organizations for sectarian purposes, or for propagation of faith
    • Organizations that make grants to others
    • Lobbying or advocacy for specific political candidates or legislation
  • The Foundation does not typically support:
    • General operating support (i.e., unrestricted funds for any use)
    • Deficit funding
    • Individual scholarships or fellowships
    • Single-occurrence conferences, seminars, or workshops (except as they relate to core operations improvements)
    • Fundraising events (e.g., annual dinners and tournaments)
    • Endowments