Teal background image.

Western New York Regional Economic Development Council Announces Appointment of Steve K. Stoute as Co-Chair

Canisius College President Succeeds Buffalo State University President Katherine Conway-Turner As Council's Academic Co-Chair

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

“I am excited to welcome Steve Stoute as the new academic leader of the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council,” said Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Hope Knight. “Under his leadership, the Council will continue to advance regional priorities that encourage economic opportunity, 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 tremendous guidance and dedication to the Council.” 

“I am honored to have this opportunity to serve as co-chair of the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council,” said incoming WNYREDC Co-Chair and Canisius College President Steve Stoute.  “I look forward to working with my colleagues on the Council to continue building on the momentum in the region and supporting further economic growth that will benefit the citizens of our region and the state of New York.”

“It has been a pleasure to serve the state of New York and especially Western New York in this capacity,” said retiring WNYREDC Co-Chair and SUNY Buffalo State University President Dr. Katherine Conway-Turner.  “WNY has advanced in so many ways over the last nine years and the commitment and dedication of the state to move our region forward has been admirable.  Although we faced unprecedented challenges during and following the pandemic today Western New York continues to be strong across the counties, from small to large cities, and from the urban to the rural landscapes. I personally have enjoyed seeing projects conceived, 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 brief time leading Canisius, Stoute has earned accolades from the weekly magazine City and State, which named him among the 100 most influential faith leaders in New York State, and he was named to Business First’s list of “Power 100 Business Leaders of Color” and its “Power 250” list of the most influential leaders in the region.

Under President Stoute’s leadership, Canisius became the first institution in Western New York to adopt a test-free policy for undergraduate admissions, which significantly increases the opportunity for all capable students to access a transformative Canisius education and reach their fullest potential. During his presidency, Canisius successfully petitioned the New York State Education Department Board of Regents for university designation, with the transition to Canisius University set to take place during summer 2023 alongside the unveiling of a new strategic plan and branding initiative.

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

The Western New York region’s 2011 strategic plan, “A Strategy for Prosperity,” leverages the region’s strategic advantages in key industry sectors including advanced manufacturing, agriculture, bi-national logistics, energy, health & life sciences, higher education, professional services and tourism. The plan focuses on economic enablers that promote smart growth, prepare the workforce and foster a culture of entrepreneurship. To learn more about the WNYREDC, visit http://regionalcouncils.ny.gov/content/western-new-york.

Round XIII of the Regional Economic Development Council Initiative launched on May 15.  Round XIII includes core capital grant and tax-credit funding combined with a wide range of programs from 10 State agencies, including $150 million in grant funds from Empire State Development, available to projects on a continuous basis.  The Councils are encouraged to support projects that advance or address strategic State priorities - including green buildings and sustainable development, child care, distressed communities, and innovative public-private partnerships; those projects, will be eligible for additional award funding.

Regional Strategic Planning Process Update

The 10 REDCs are guided by their regional strategic economic development plans, which emphasize each region’s unique assets and provide strategies to harness local resources to stimulate regional economic development and create jobs Statewide. This year, the Regional Councils will review and update their plans to re-establish each region’s priorities for growth, guide the deployment of resources, and create an updated road map to achieving its economic vision.

As part of the updated strategic plan, the Councils will be tasked with analyzing specific challenges to economic growth. Each REDC will develop a proposal that outlines creative and innovative solutions to address one specific challenge of their choice. These proposals will be reviewed by the State and up to three winning proposals will be awarded up to $10 million funding to implement the proposed solutions. 

Consolidated Funding Application

The Regional Councils will score projects submitted through the Consolidated Funding Application (CFA), the State’s single application for State resources which includes programs from numerous agencies. It is designed to give project applicants expedited 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 across 30 programs. Regional Councils will review projects and provide scores that reflect how well a project aligns with a region's goals and strategies.

In Round XIII, ESD is launching two new micro grant programs: the Craft Beverage Micro Grant Program and the Not-for-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 businesses licensed to produce wine, beer, spirits, hard 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 Not-for-Profit Capital Grant program, which will award matching funds grants to not-for-profit organizations who provide economic and community benefits in their region to assist with facility improvements and upgrades. Grant awards would range from $25,000 to $100,000.

The 2023 REDC Guidebook and a list of additional resources available to REDC Members are accessible here. The CFA is available here; the deadline for applications is Friday, July 28 at 4 p.m. Open enrollment programs are not subject to the July 28 deadline and will continue to accept applications on an ongoing basis until funds are exhausted.

The REDC process continues to support and empower regional stakeholders in developing strategic plans and funding priorities that meet local economic needs. To date, through the REDC Initiative, more than $7.7 billion has been awarded to more than 9,500 job creation and community development projects consistent with each region's strategic plan.

About the Consolidated Funding Application              

The Consolidated Funding Application was created to streamline and expedite the grant application process. The CFA process marks a fundamental shift in the way State resources are allocated, ensuring less bureaucracy and greater efficiency to fulfill local economic development needs. The CFA serves as the single-entry point for access to economic development funding, ensuring applicants no longer have to slowly navigate multiple agencies and sources without any mechanism for coordination. Now, economic development projects use the CFA as a support mechanism to access multiple State funding sources through one application, making the process quicker, easier, and more productive. Learn more about the CFA here.

About the Regional Economic Development Councils  

The Regional Economic Development Council initiative is a key component of the State’s approach to State investment and economic development. In 2011, 10 Regional Councils were established to develop long-term strategic plans for economic growth for their regions. The Councils are public-private partnerships made up of local experts and stakeholders from business, academia, local government, and non-governmental organizations. The Regional Councils have redefined the way New York invests in jobs and economic growth by putting in place a community-based, bottom up approach and establishing a competitive process for State resources. Learn more at regionalcouncils.ny.gov.


Pamm Lent | [email protected] | 716-846-8309

Laura Magee | [email protected] | 716-846-8239