Buffalo, NY

Supporting a Century of Compassion in East Buffalo

For over 100 years, St. Gerard’s Parish was the center of Buffalo’s Bailey Delavan neighborhood, where families could come together as a community. Although the final mass was held in 2008, the site’s century-long outreach to its surrounding East Buffalo community has continued. 

Today, the former school, convent, and parish hall that stand in the shadow of the Roman Basilica-style church are known as Gerard Place, established in 2000 through the work of women in the Diocese of Buffalo. Their goal was to provide housing and support to help individuals and families facing homelessness rise out of poverty. 

“We transition families back into the community with services wrapped around them,” says David Zapfel, Gerard Place president and CEO. “We’ve helped over 90% of the mothers and children we serve to successfully move to independent housing.” 

Gerard Place has expanded over the last two decades to encompass a food pantry, a health clinic for mothers and their babies, education programs and job training, and services for seniors. This growth is thanks to strategic partnerships with other community organizations and strong support from individuals and corporations from across Western New York, including Univera Healthcare.

Gerard Place is the recipient of a Univera Healthcare Member and Community Health Improvement grant to target severe maternal morbidity and related health equity issues. Univera’s grant supports the Healthy Mom and Baby Program at Gerard Place, which offers education, advocacy, mentoring, and clinical tracking of low-income moms by nurse educators.  More than 200 new moms are currently enrolled.  

“Gerard Place holds a special place in the hearts of our employees,” says Univera Healthcare President Art Wingerter. “Many have used their paid volunteer time off to refresh and furnish apartments for incoming residents at Gerard Place, who then keep the furnishing when they transition to places of their own.”

“There are so many opportunities to raise up people’s lives and their families,” says Zapfel. “With the generosity of organizations such as Univera Healthcare, Gerard Place is able to continue the 100+ year mission emanating from this special site in East Buffalo, to improve the community around us and the lives of those within it.” 

Learn more about Gerard Place at www.gerardplace.org.

Peter Kates, (716) 983-8765, peter.kates@univerahealthcare.com

Univera Healthcare is a nonprofit health plan that serves members across the eight counties of Western New York. With more than 500 Buffalo-based employees and a local leadership team, the company is committed to attracting and retaining a diverse workforce to foster innovation and better serve its members. It also encourages employees to engage in their communities by providing paid volunteer time off as one of many benefits. Univera is part of a Rochester-based health insurer that serves more than 1.5 million members across upstate New York. Its mission is to help people live healthier and more secure lives through access to high-quality, affordable health care, and its products and services include cost-saving prescription drug discounts, wellness tracking tools and access to telemedicine. To learn more, visit UniveraHealthcare.com.


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