To the Jefferson Community:
On behalf of the Board of Directors of The Foundry we want to express our profound grief and dismay of Saturday’s shocking event. As a board, we have long been committed to the Jefferson community, not only by the physical presence of our building, but by personal investment that impacts the lives of others. Be assured that we won’t turn away during this very challenging time. In fact, we are further driven in our work.
To our students, we want you to know that while you may not know our names and faces, we support you. More importantly, you are beautiful and wonderfully made. From your struggle will come triumph.
To our entrepreneurs, the products you are producing and the relationships we enjoy at The Foundry are key to our community and generational wealth. We will continue to support you in as many ways as we can.
Lastly, to our staff under the steadfast leadership of our Executive Director Megan McNally, we understand the weight and pressure that exists every day to provide services to our clients, and can only imagine how that weight has grown. Please know that we are praying for you as you try to both work through your tremendous grief and sense of loss. Know that our support of you is unwavering and will long surpass the cameras and national attention.
The Jefferson community is our community, and we stand in solidarity and genuine support.
Trina Burruss, Board Chair
A message from our Executive Director:
I spent the last several days intensely engaged in my own thoughts. About our students who walk to Tops for a snack before after school programs. Mayor summer youth running to Tops in between painting murals and building bike racks for community groups. I was thinking about our maker businesses who pop over to Tops on lunch break. Staff who swing by to pick up items for our STEAM sessions. Our board members who live just down the street. I think how central this grocery store is to our community and how I'm there with my daughter shopping several times a week.
Any one of us could have been there this past Saturday. By the grace of whatever higher power you believe in, we were not. We were celebrating the achievements of our amazing teen entrepreneurs and spreading the word that The Foundry is a place for everyone - to find the joy in making, to pursue career interests and to engage with a broad range of people. Because diversity and inclusion makes us all stronger.
But 10 people lost their lives this Saturday - targeted by a white supremacist intent on murdering people in our community. Having lived next to The Foundry for over a decade, I've always appreciated how accepting and friendly our neighborhood is. That a person from outside of our community was filled with so much hate that he took advantage of our neighborly, welcoming attitude - it's unacceptable.
This stems from a long history of violence and racism that we simply do not support. I write this with continued commitment to bringing people together and uplifting the amazing talents of our students and makers. Celebrating the partnerships we’ve developed across organizations. Sharing resources and skill sets within the Buffalo community - finding collaborative ways to build planters, bike racks, benches - whatever folks need. And to actively bring people together from all walks of life to learn and bond over making things.
I hope if you're reading this, you feel the same. We all need to have hard conversations, to be actively anti-racist and to work towards a bright future for everyone. To be a mentor, to raise our kids to be accepting, to expose people to different points of view. We get through this by working together and addressing systemic racism in whatever way each one of us can. Small actions add up.
We have so much work to do as a community, as a region, as a nation. Know that The Foundry remains committed to this community and I love and respect you all.
Megan McNally, Executive Director