A Letter from the Executive Director

 

Dear friend of PBN,

We hope that you and your loved ones are staying safe and well.  This past week was one of great cultural and religious significance for many people, reminding us how important rituals are for our sense of well being – even when they are disrupted and adapted for the current times.

It also reminds of us how important the power of place is in keeping our traditions and our sense of connection alive across generations and cultures, most especially in these uncertain times.  Many of the things that people missed in this past week were related to specific places – houses of worship, visits to the “old neighborhood”, gatherings at the family homestead.  Our current social distancing measures, while hard, are necessary, and we want to reassure you, our members, that PBN is doing everything we can to continue to fulfill our mission to protect the places important to our community so that when we are all able to gather again, our neighborhoods, business districts, and places of worship will be there.

So far, thanks to the generosity of our members and funders, PBN has been able to remain fully staffed and operational, pivoting our work to focus on what is most needed in this time, and what we are able to best provide while keeping staff and community volunteers safe.  Hopefully you have seen that over the last month we have:

  • Unveiled the 1850 Project – a volunteer-based research activity to help us expand protections for some of the oldest buildings in the City of Buffalo;
  • Formally launched our Historic Home Loan Fund to assist low-income residents of local historic districts properly care for their homes;
  • Created a digital guide to the New York State Homeowner Tax Credit to help you take advantage of this important program as you plan your summer and fall home improvement projects;
  • Temporarily pivoted our Grant Street Project from a long-term planning project to a short-term disaster assistance program that can also be utilized by other historic commercial districts;
  • Created digital content to keep you entertained and learning during this quiet time, including digital versions of our Queen City Downtown and Terra Cotta City! tours.

Unfortunately, we have had to cancel a number of our spring events.  These include two Hard Hat Tours, our Annual Preservation Awards, the City Hall Book Launch, and the start of our spring walking tour season.  We’ve also had several grantors postpone funds that we typically count on, as they assess how they will do giving during this difficult time.  All of this is understandable, but it is straining our ability to continue to remain fully staffed to do the work that you count on from us.  If you want to help ensure that PBN remains a vital organization, there are a number of ways you can help:

  • Make sure to keep an eye out for our weekly e-newsletter, where we will continue to keep our members and supporters updated on preservation across our region, as well as PBN activities. And help us spread the word by helping friends and family sign up for the weekly e-newsletter too;
  • Follow, like, and share PBN content across our social media platforms (facebookinstagramyoutube)so that your networks can see the work the PBN staff is continuing to do to advance preservation in Western New York;
  • Renew your membership when it expires – to keep our members and staff safe, we will be switching to an electronic membership renewal process for the next few months.  If you get an electronic renewal request, we hope you will consider making an electronic renewal;
  • Consider an extra donation to PBN this spring to help make up for our lost revenue due to having cancellations of spring tours and events – our website is available to take donations 24/7 and they will be very gratefully accepted during this difficult time.  You can also call the office and leave a message and someone will be happy to get back to you and help you make a donation over the phone.

Again, thank you so much for your continuing support for the mission of PBN.  We realize that we are not doing the front line work of caring for the sick or feeding the needy and we extend our continuing gratitude and admiration for those who are doing these important jobs.  But we also recognize that our work to care for the soul and feed the intellect have an important place in people’s lives as well, and we will continue to do this work to the best of our ability, on behalf of you, our members.  And we are so looking forward to being together in person safely soon!

Sincerely,

Jessie Fisher
Executive Director