The WNY Regional Council for Economic Development announces the appointment of Steve K. Stoute as co-chairman

Mon, May 22, 2023 11:10

Canisius College President Replaces Buffalo State University President Katherine Conway-Turner as Academic Co-Chair of the Board

The Western New York Regional Economic Development Council (WNYREDC) announced that Canisius College president Steve K. Stoute, JD, has been appointed co-chair of the council. Stoute succeeds Dr. Katherine Conway-Turner, who has served as co-president since 2019 and is retiring as president of SUNY Buffalo State University. He will lead the Regional Council in partnership with Council Co-Chairman Eric Reich, co-founder and longtime leader of Campus Labs, one of the first successful start-ups in the region.

“I am thrilled to welcome Steve Stoute as the new Academic Leader of the Western New York Regional Council for Economic Development,” said Hope Knight, Empire State President, CEO and Commissioner of Development. “Under his leadership, the council will continue to develop regional priorities that foster economic opportunities, investment, job creation and leverage positive private sector partnerships that will strengthen Western New York. I would also like to thank Dr. Conway-Turner for her great leadership and dedication to the board.”

Stoute said, “I am honored to have the opportunity to serve as co-chair of the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council. I look forward to working with my board colleagues to continue to drive momentum in the region and support continued economic growth that will benefit the citizens of our region and New York State.”

Conway-Turner said, “It has been a pleasure serving the State of New York, and West New York in particular, in this capacity. WNY has grown in so many ways over the past nine years, and the state’s commitment and dedication to developing our region has been admirable. While we faced unprecedented challenges during and after the pandemic, Western New York today continues to be strong in all counties, from small to large cities, from urban to rural landscapes. Personally, I was pleased to see projects developed, developed and implemented that will benefit our citizens for centuries to come.”

Stoute began his tenure at Canisius College on July 1, 2022. In his short time in charge of Canisius, Stoute earned the recognition of City and State Weekly, which ranked him among the 100 most influential religious leaders in New York State, and was named on Business First’s list of ” Power 100 Business Leaders of Color” and on the “Power 250” list of the most influential leaders in the region.

The press release said, “Under the leadership of President Stoute, Canisius has become the first institution in Western New York to adopt a no-test policy for undergraduate admissions, significantly increasing the chances of all able students accessing Canisius’s transformative education and reaching their full potential.” During his presidency, Canisius successfully petitioned the New York State Department of Education’s Board of Regents for university designation, with the transition to Canisius University expected to take place in the summer of 2023 with the unveiling of a new strategic plan and branding initiative.

Stoute came to Canisius from DePaul University in Chicago, where he was vice president of strategic initiatives and chief of staff. In these roles, he served as a senior advisor to the rector of the university. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Seton Hall University, a master’s degree in exercise and sports science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a JD from the University of Pennsylvania School of Law.

The press release added: “New York West Region Strategic Plan 2011.”A strategy for prosperity, leverages the region’s strategic strengths in key industry sectors including advanced manufacturing, agriculture, bi-national logistics, energy, health and life sciences, higher education, professional services and tourism. The plan focuses on economic factors that promote smart growth, equip the workforce and foster an entrepreneurial culture.”

To learn more about WNYREDC, please visit

The press release said: “Round XIII Initiative of the Regional Council for Economic Development started on May 15. Round XIII includes core capital grants and tax credit financing coupled with a wide range of programs from 10 state agencies, including a $150 million grant from Empire State Development, available for projects on an ongoing basis. Councils are encouraged to support projects that advance or meet the state’s strategic priorities – including green buildings and sustainable development, childcare, vulnerable communities, and innovative public-private partnerships; these projects will be eligible for additional funding.

Update of the regional strategic planning process

The press release noted, “10 REDC is guided by Regional Strategic Economic Development Plans that highlight each region’s unique strengths and provide strategies for leveraging local resources to drive regional economic development and job creation statewide. This year, Regional Councils will review and update their plans to re-prioritize each region’s growth, guide resource deployment and create an updated roadmap to achieving its economic vision.

“As part of the updated strategic plan, councils will be tasked with examining specific challenges to economic growth. Each REDC will develop a proposal that presents creative and innovative solutions to one specific challenge of their choice. These proposals will be reviewed by the state, and up to three winning proposals will receive funding of up to $10 million to implement the proposed solutions.”

Consolidated application for funding

The press release explained: “Regional councils will evaluate projects submitted through the Consolidated Funding Application (CFA), a single state application for state resources that includes programs from multiple agencies. It aims to provide project applicants with accelerated and streamlined access to a combined pool of grant funds and tax credits from dozens of existing programs. This year, funding is available from 10 state agencies in 30 programs. Regional Councils will review projects and award points that reflect the project’s alignment with the region’s goals and strategies.

“In round XIII, ESD is launching two new microgrant programs: the Craft Beverage microgrant program and the non-profit Capital Grant program. Up to $5 million will be available through the Craft Beverage Micro Grant Program, designed to increase the production capacity, business infrastructure and profitability of companies licensed to produce wine, beer, spirits, cider and mead in New York State. Grants ranging from $25,000 to $50,000 would support equipment purchases and facility upgrades.

“Up to $5 million will be available through the Non-Profit Capital Grants Program, which will award matching funds grants to non-profit organizations that provide economic and social benefits in their region to help with facilities improvements and upgrades. Grant awards would range from $25,000 to $100,000.

The REDC 2023 Guide and a list of additional resources available to REDC members are available Here. CFA is available Here. The deadline for submitting applications is Friday, July 28 at 4 pm. Open recruitment programs are not subject to the July 28 deadline and will be accepted on an ongoing basis until funds are exhausted.

The press release added: “The REDC process continues to support and empower regional stakeholders to develop strategic plans and funding priorities that respond to local economic needs. To date, the REDC Initiative has awarded more than $7.7 billion to more than 9,500 jobs and community development projects aligned with each region’s strategic plan.”

Learn more about CFA Here.

The initiative of the Regional Council for Economic Development is a key element of the state’s approach to state investment and economic development. Find out more at regional

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