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Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo Partners With Hull House Foundation by Garn N. Costello

posted Apr 23, 2012, 11:18 AM by Pamela Davison

The Patriot, Volume 3, Issue 1  – January 2009

A major focus of the Hull House Foundation has been to grow the historic site through the acquisition of available properties surrounding the historic home.  Since the Landmark Society of the Niagara Frontier acquired the house in 1992, four land purchases over the past five years have added over fifteen acres to the site.

When a large parcel of land to the north of the Foundation headquarters became available early in 2008, we began negotiating with the owner to purchase seven acres of the 32-acre parcel that was for sale. At the same time, we were constructing a plan to accumulate sufficient funds to pay for it. 

Enter the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo.  Our plan included seeking funds from a variety of sources: the New York State Senate and the Assembly with help from State Senator Dale M. Volker, Assemblyman  Dennis Gabryszak, and the Western New York Legislative Delegation; a grant from the New York State Environmental Protection Fund; a modest bank loan; liquid assets of the Hull House Foundation – and a grant from the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo (CFGB). 

The CFGB recently outlined four focus areas in their five-year strategic plan. Two of the four areas, 'enhancing and leveraging natural, historic, and architectural resources'; 'and strengthening the region as a center for arts and culture' seemed written for the Hull Family Home & Farmstead project.  A grant application requesting $40,000 to assist with the purchase was prepared and submitted to the CFGB last August.  Word was received, appropriately during Thanksgiving week, that we were awarded approval of the full amount requested.

With most of the other funding in place, we can now proceed with confidence to compose a formal purchase offer with every hope of consummating the deal in 2009.  These seven acres of land will greatly enhance the historic site in several ways.  

It will afford protection from encroaching development and industrialization on our western border; reassemble a portion of the original Hull farmstead; provide a venue for the proposed 'Peace Garden' project; provide for expanded programming opportunities (such as nature trails, bird watching; sleigh rides and hay rides, military reenactments and encampments; and American Indian cultural activities).  All of this increases our potential audience and revenue, thereby improving our long-term sustainability.   This is a giant step forward in the development of the Hull Family Home & Farmstead's heritage and cultural interpretive center, and we are deeply grateful to the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo

Besides the obvious benefit that this support affords us in meeting our stated goal, of equal importance is the great degree of reassurance we derive from knowing that our grand vision for the Hull Family Home & Farmstead has been successfully conveyed to and accepted by the Community Foundation as important to Western New York.  It is always so very encouraging when others in a position to help agree to 'shoulder the load' and to work together to improve our community.