Grantee Spotlight: Niagara University’s Levesque Center Channels Resources to the City of Niagara Falls

In 2000, David Taylor answered the call from Reverend Joseph L. Levesque, then the president of Niagara University, to develop a committee to revitalize the city of Niagara Falls, New York. Niagara Falls, like many other Rust Belt towns, had long been plagued by un- and underemployment and population loss. The committee’s early activities were humble but meaningful, says Taylor, who at the time was an assistant professor of criminology and criminal justice. Those activities complemented Niagara University’s other community-oriented development work, aligning with the school’s Vincentian mission to promote educational excellence, support social justice efforts, and help the poor. Within a dozen years, the ad hoc group had evolved into the Reverend Joseph L. Levesque, C.M. Institute for Civic Engagement, which collaborates with dozens of nonprofit, faith-based, and other social service providers to improve the quality of life for all Niagara Falls residents.