A Message to Partners and Friends of the HHCWNY

By HHCI on April 13, 2020 in News

Dear Partners and Friends of the Hispanic Heritage Council of Western New York Inc. (HHCWNY):


In this time of deep uncertainty and fast-moving changes, we wanted to reach out to you to inform you of how we are responding to the
COVID-19 situation in our organization.

The Hispanic Heritage Council of WNY (HHCWNY), Inc. has been continually meeting remotely, using phone and video conference, to
connect and communicate. As we focus on the larger work of the HHCWNY, our unwavering goal is to meet important benchmarks
related to the Hispanic Heritage Cultural Institute (HHCI) and keep the momentum we have begun.

As we continue to monitor the evolvement of COVID-19, we want to be clear in our stance that the health and safety of every Board
member, committee member and community partner is paramount. As we make our community’s wellness a top priority,
HHCWNY also understands that we must continue to conduct key board and committee functions and communicate with our beloved
community. The HHCWNY Board and HHCI Capital Campaign Team continues to stay committed to the promise we made to the
community and are eager to continue our work.

To that end, our committed board has stepped up, with everyone pitching in to think through and execute the best possible plan. As we
realign HHCI goals and set new timelines, we will post updates to our website and social media pages.  We continue to post
information that is of value to our community as we receive it and are hoping to begin some FB Live events to help us connect with
you.  Please visit the following links for information:




We have the following cancellations and postponements of which you should be aware:

  • Our Dia del Niño celebration will be cancelled this year.  We will post information on what you can do at home to celebrate
    this day (April 30th) with your own family and contacts.
  • Our Annual Community Breakfast, originally scheduled for Saturday June 20th, will be postponed.  The new date will be
    announced as soon as it is determined.
  • HHC Guitar Initiative Concerts scheduled for April 26 th and June 21 st at the Karpeles Manuscript Museum, have been
    postponed, new dates will be announced in the future. Children Guitar Classes will continue via online thru the month of
    May 2020.
  • Events & Activities in celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month Sep 15 – Oct 15, 2020 will be announced as they are

Thank you for your unwavering support as we work through this unfamiliar terrain together. Please feel free to contact us should you
have any questions.  We wish you and your families, friends, coworkers, and our entire community good health and safety. We know
that our Hispanic/Latino community will do its part to maintain safe practices such as social distancing, frequent hand-washing and all
CDC guidelines to minimize the spread so that we may all once again celebrate our rich culture and heritage together. These
guidelines and pertinent information can be found on our web pages.

Best regards,

Casimiro D. Rodriguez, President
Board of Directors Hispanic Heritage Council of Western New York Inc.

WIVB-Hispanic Heritage Council appoints chairperson to help fundraise for a new cultural institute on the city’s westside

By HHCI on February 21, 2020 in News, Sponsorship

By: Sarah Minkewicz

BUFFALO N.Y. (WIVB) – The Western New York Hispanic Heritage Council is getting closer to its $10 million goal to create a new cultural institute on the city’s westside.

Manny Lezama is now the chairperson for this project. He says because he’s a Mexican- American it’s near and dear to his heart and he wants to make sure this project receives the funding it needs.

“This is our city and we need to be proud of it,” Lezama said. “The Hispanic population is definitely going to embrace this.”

Plans are in the works to turn an empty lot on the corner of Hudson and Niagara Streets into Buffalo’s first ever Hispanic Heritage Cultural Institute.

“Exciting, but it’s a lot to do,” Lezama said. “There is a big task in front of us we are in a city of Buffalo where everyone is will to help each other.”

The Institute’s mission is to celebrate Hispanic arts, culture and heritage while contributing to the growth of the city.

“This will be a big upgrade to the Niagara street corridor, a lot had been done is the last several years to enhance the Niagara street corridor from city hall to porter ave and this is just an addition and it’s a proud addition,” Hispanic Council President Casimiro Rodriguez said.

“It’s a great opportunity for us to embrace diversity and inclusion and open it to multiple groups of the community and the westside especially,” Lezama said.

National Grid donated $250,000 towards the institute. The Hispanic Heritage Council is hoping to break ground on the project by this time next year.

Watch the interview on the WIVB website.

WBFO-Hispanic Heritage Cultural Institute receives $250,000 grant from National Grid

By HHCI on February 21, 2020 in News, Sponsorship

FEB 11, 2020

Donations are coming in for the Hispanic Heritage Council of Western New York’s proposed cultural institute on Buffalo’s West Side.

The council, on Tuesday, announced a $250,000 economic development grant from National Grid to help cover engineering and design costs for the $10 million project.

“The new Hispanic Heritage Cultural Institute (HHCI) will enrich the community as a hub for arts, culture, research, education and wellness, all rooted in Hispanic culture,” said National Grid regional director Ken Kujawa, in a statement.

“As part of a busy commercial corridor on Buffalo’s West Side, the facility will be the first of its kind in upstate New York. National Grid is proud to be part of this transformative project in Buffalo’s Hispanic Heritage District.”

The council plans to build the three-story institute at the corner of Niagara and Hudson streets. The 33,000 square-foot building will host educational programs, events, and cultural activities. It will include a museum, theater, media center and more.

Dinorah Santos of the council’s capital campaign committee said the vision for the institute is to provide a central location and programming for the entire Buffalo community to learn about and celebrate Hispanic heritage.

“We want our community to celebrate this rich Hispanic culture, especially with just how divided we are right now. I think this is the perfect time for an institute like this,” Santos said.

The building, designed by Stieglitz Snyder Architecture, will feature solar panels as part of its energy-efficient design.

The council has also announced restauranteur and hotelier Manny Lezama, formerly of Rich Products, as chairperson of the capital campaign. Lezama was born in Mexico City and is the former general manager of restaurant operations at Rich Products.

“We have to invest money in our youth. We have to invest money in continuing our culture [and] our heritage, things that have survived in our relatives and family members,” Lezama said.

Lezama said he is confident the campaign will reach its goal and that the cultural institute won’t just benefit Western New Yorkers of Hispanic heritage.

“Every penny counts and every member of the City of Buffalo counts,” he said. “At the end of the day, this is the living room of our home and everybody is welcome.”

WBFO: Hispanic Heritage Month Begins in Buffalo

By HHCI on September 13, 2019 in News


Hispanic Heritage Month kicked off Friday at the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library. A soaring rendition of the National Anthem by Herman Badillo Bilingual Academy Assistant Principal Maria Cala was followed by remarks by local leaders including Congressman Brian Higgins.

Much of the talk during the ceremony was about the continued redeployment of the Niagara Street corridor. Hispanic Heritage Vice-Secretary Amy Casillias-Osorio said there are a lot of wonderful things going on in the largely Hispanic neighborhoods on Buffalo’s West Side.

“This is such a diverse project,” she said of the redevelopment. “We have partners from everywhere. Like I said, we know it takes a village.”

A huge addition to the redevelopment is the creation of a Hispanic Cultural Heritage Institute, which will be situated at the corner of Niagara and Hudson, and act as cultural hub for the Hispanic Heritage District.

Read the full WBFO article here.

Spectrum News: $10 Million Cultural Institute Coming to Buffalo’s Hispanic Heritage District

By HHCI on June 23, 2019 in News


Hispanic Heritage Council of Western New York is taking on its biggest project to date: a cultural institute.

The 28,000 square-foot building will sit at the corner of Niagara and Hudson Streets. The $10 million project will showcase the contributions of Hispanics in Western New York with art, cuisines, dance and music.

The institute will be the first of its kinds for hispanics in Upstate New York and will include a 150-seat theater a media center, learning labs and guitar classes.

“We’re just going to build in the heritage and history, the culture into curriculum into programming,” said Hispanic Heritage Council of Western New York President Casimiro Rodriguez. “It’s so our children can learn more about who they are, where they’re from and how their ancestors have been able to contribute.”

The council has launched a capital campaign and plans to open the center by 2021.

See the full Spectrum News story here.

WGRZ: Hispanic Heritage Council of WNY launches fundraising campaign

By HHCI on June 22, 2019 in Charity, News

The Hispanic Heritage Council of Western New York hosted its seventh annual Hispanic Heritage Community Breakfast on Saturday.

The event was held at SUNY Buffalo State, with a theme of honoring the past, embracing the present, and building upon the future. At the breakfast the Hispanic Heritage Council celebrated the accomplishments of the community and plans for success in years to come.

Saturday also kicked off a campaign to raise money for the Hispanic Heritage Cultural Institute.The $10 million dollar project would include a museum, media center, theater, learning labs, a cafe and a gift shop.

With plans to build on Niagara and Hudson streets, the Hispanic Heritage Council hopes the institution will become a hub for the community.

Read the full WGRZ article here.

The Buffalo News: Hispanic Heritage Council unveils plans for $10 million cultural institute

By HHCI on June 17, 2019 in News, Ιnitiatives


A slim row of vacant lots at the corner of Niagara and Hudson streets could become the site of a $10 million Hispanic cultural institute under a plan unveiled by the Hispanic Heritage Council of Western New York.

The proposed institute – which could break ground as early as April, pending a successful fundraising campaign – would include a museum, a 150-seat theater and a broadcast TV and radio lab, among other amenities. The plan has already earned endorsements from Rep. Brian Higgins, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, the Buffalo Common Council and Buffalo Public Schools. HHC President Casimiro Rodriguez said the space would serve the West Side community, as well as Western New York’s 75,000 Hispanic and Latino people.

“The vision and the mission is to build a 32,000-square-foot institute at the corner of Niagara and Hudson, in the heart of our community,” Rodriguez said. “It’s going to focus on programming and enrichment, whether that be experiential learning … or arts and wellness … or cultural affirmation and expression.”

Read the full Buffalo News Article.

WBFO: $10M Hispanic Heritage Cultural Institute goes before city committee today

By HHCI on May 21, 2019 in News


Buffalo is going to get another museum and cultural center, this time covering the community’s history with the changing Latino community.

The Hispanic Heritage Council is going before the Common Council Economic Development Committee Tuesday on its designated developer agreement for five lots near Niagara and Hudson streets, to go with lots the council already owns.

It is a complicated process involving meeting a series of benchmarks to eventually become the owner and developer of the property. Heritage Council President Casimiro Rodriguez said it is important for both his community and the overall community to have the facility planned for the site.

Read the full WBFO article.