Creating Social Capital/Civic Health Initiatives

“Social Capital” is defined as the level of trust and norms of reciprocity that exist in communities. (Putnam). Through the Buffalo/Niagara All America City Committee, founded in 1993 by Virginia Hens, Alforna Evans and Phil Haberstro. This all-volunteer group has created social capital by competing in the All America City competition as a finalist (six times) in the National Civic League’s annual  All America City competition (see www.ncl.org), twice winning lifetime ALLAMERICA community and region designations (1996 Greater Buffalo and 2002 Buffalo Niagara Region).

Visit the City of Buffalo website  for more information or email the Wellness Institute of Greater Buffalo.

  • Buffalo-Niagara All America City Committee founded (1993) BNAAAC; Completed nine National Civic League All America City Award applications with (8) earning Finalist status and (2) winning All America City lifetime designations (1996 and 2002) 2011 application earned Buffalo NY Finalist Status. 2014 application earned Kenmore Finalist Status. Invited 2009 to present at All America City Awards program 60th Anniversary celebration. Facilitated two Buffalo Common Council Alumni Reunions, 2009 and 2010


  • Founded regional Civic Empowerment Awards Program 1996 and Louis J. Billittier Sr. Exemplary Civic Leadership Award. (1998). Since 1996 have honored 111 community organizations and 17 civic leaders. (on going) Member Buffalo Ambassadors-program and Buffalo Citybration Program.


  • Hosted on-going Healthy Community forums featuring national and international leaders including Dr. Trevor Hancock, Dr. Mary Pittman, Christopher Gates, Dr. Robert Putnam and Dr. Richard Keelor. (ongoing)


  • Co-sponsored launch (2003) of Erie County Social Capital education Initiative, and Smart Growth is Smart Business Series (2005).Launched” Healthy Communities” monthly television show (2006)featuring stories on civic engagement, community building and smaller nonprofits serving the City of Buffalo residents – Estimated over one quarter million viewings of shows since inception (Nine shows available on Wellness Institute website).


  • Initiated (2004) community dialogue with Mayor of Buffalo on non-profit sector role in developing a multi-disciplinary Quality of Life forum and inter-sector collaboration initiative.


  • Initiated community coalitions, community wellness councils in Buffalo, Rochester and Albany (1990 – 2000) and Niagara County (1991 to present), Tobacco Free Erie County (1992), Erie County Physical Activity Coalition (1997), New York State Physical Activity Coalition (1998) rebranded (2000) as Be Active New York State, Erie County Worksite Health Action Team (1999), Walk Your Children to School Campaign (2000), Community Health Network (2000) and Wellness Lane (2002). Be Active New York State ( www.BeActiveNYS.org ) is an ongoing, statewide initiative. (2013) Convened WNY Higher Education Health and Wellness Consortium.


  • (On going)  Provided support and facilitative leadership to community Visioning projects including; Vision for Tomorrow (regional 1995 to 2000), and local Buffalo area Community Visioning initiatives with East Lovejoy, Elmwood Village, Black Rock (2009), Riverside (2010) Grant Amherst (2011), Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus (2009); 10th Legislative County District; City of Buffalo Citizen Participation Academy, Good Neighbor Planning Alliance , Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities Visioning process (2010) and FLARE neighborhood process in 2011. The Institute is a participant in One Region Forward. (2014) 14208 Healthy Neighborhood Project


  • Co-founded Buffalo Summer “Prelude” (2005 and 2007) and “Finale” (2006) Drum Corps events with community partners and Drums Along the Waterfront organization serving inner city communities. Over 3000 attended shows.


  • Numerous amount of staff time donated to United Way, Computers for Children, WNED TV, Buffalo Niagara CVB, block clubs, Elmwood Village, 10th Legislative District Quality of Life initiative, Waterfront Coalition, Buffalo immigrant populations and grassroots organizations.


  • Assisted in planning of Buffalo 180 initiative city civic perceptions survey and marketing/promotion of Close-up Program (civic education) to Western New York area middle and senior high schools.


  • Sunrise Rotary Membership, Phil Haberstro elected President for the 2015 service year


  • Health Promotion Staff and Intern Training


  • (2014) Planning Social Capital Measurement Initiative



  • Phil Haberstro was selected to receive the Community Achievement Award, October 2017.


More Information….


NY State Community Health Indicator Reports (CHIRS)


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Wellness Institute of Greater Buffalo

Phil Haberstro, Executive Director
65 Niagara Square, Room 607
Buffalo, NY  14202

Phone: 716-851-4052