By Michael Weiner

There has been much discussion recently of Delaware North’s interest in building a new headquarters in downtown Buffalo. In all the public discourse on the relative merits of any such arrangement, little has been said about the company’s century of philanthropy and community service – a tradition that has substantially enhanced our community’s quality of life in many ways.

Delaware North has consistently demonstrated a deep loyalty to our community. Founded in 1915 as a family-owned company, it has expressed that loyalty through generations of community leadership and philanthropy, always with an awareness that the success of any business is dependent on the overall vitality of the community at large.

Delaware North has long been one of our community’s foremost corporate citizens. Over the past 10 decades the company has donated millions of dollars, and its executives and employees have expended countless volunteer hours, on behalf of nonprofit organizations in our community. The company’s own literature outlines its commitment to hunger relief, youth and education, but its generosity extends far beyond into the arts and culture, health, science and technology – critical aspects of any vibrant metropolitan area.

Many of Delaware North’s and the Jacobs family’s philanthropic commitments have been publicly reported: $10 million to the University at Buffalo for the Jacobs Vascular Institute, $1 million to Nichols School for a science and technology center incorporating green practices and $1 million to Say Yes Buffalo for its scholarship program. These gifts represent only a portion of the company’s passion for our community.

Substantial contributions to organizations like ours demonstrate Delaware North’s understanding of the range of services and activities that make a community truly vital. And beyond financial support, Delaware North fosters volunteerism among its executives and employees – enhancing the impact of charitable contributions through talent and passion for community service.

Our community has seen many ups and downs over the past century. From the industrial boom to the collapse of local manufacturing to our recent renaissance, there have been few constants. Delaware North’s loyalty to its hometown and its attention to and generosity in supporting every facet of a vibrant community have been steady throughout.

The company’s impact on our community should be acknowledged with gratitude – and will hopefully continue for another hundred years.

Michael Weiner is president and CEO of the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County. This column was written in collaboration with the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Boys & Girls Clubs of Buffalo, Buffalo Zoo and the Western New York Women’s Foundation.