Young Money: Introducing B Team Buffalo
blog by Caitlin Campbell McNulty • May 08, 2013 @ 11:03am
B Team Buffalo is one of my favorite organizations for young professionals in our community. Maybe it has something to do with their bubbly, can’t-help-but-love-her chair. Or maybe it’s all of the good work that the group does in the city. Whatever the reason, you can’t help but like ‘em.
I sat down with the chairwoman Liz Callahan a few days ago to talk about who makes up B Team Buffalo, what the organization does, and how you can get involved.
Caitlin McNulty: What is B Team Buffalo?
Liz Callahan: B Team is a group of young professionals who are working to better Buffalo through civic engagement. We operate mostly in the city where there is a lot of need for the type of community events we run. It’s nice for our volunteers, who may not live in the city, to see other neighborhoods besides Allentown or Elmwood.
CM: Who typically attends your events or projects?
LC: We have a lot of young professionals, but our membership is really all ages. We have everyone from high schoolers to retired adults volunteer with us. Those who volunteer with us really love the city. They see the need and want to give back and put something into the community.
CM: How would someone go about joining B Team Buffalo?
There is no membership fee to join B Team Buffalo and no specific hours or events that have to be filled or done. If someone wants to get more involved than the occasional event throughout the year, we have opportunities for people to serve on our committees or on our Board of Directors.
CM: How many members do you have?
LC: We have 500 names on our email list and probably about 200 active members at various events throughout the year. I also have a core group of 10-30 who I know I can count on for anything and are at any event I need them for.
CM: It seems like the name “B Team” has appeared everywhere in just the last year or so. What’s changed?
LC: I really think we’ve found our niche. We added three new board members this year, and new board members always bring new energy. I’ve also been working really hard to partner with other groups and organizations which helps build our name recognition. Groups are now starting to reach out wanting to work with us and I think that shows we’re in the right spot. We’re doing some great collaborations this year with groups like Unyts, Pop-Up Parks and the Ronald McDonald House.
CM: What’s the difference between B Team and other volunteer organizations like the United Way?
LC: We’re a lot smaller and more grassroots. We tend to be more one-on-one and take on smaller projects. We have a great relationship with United Way – we co-promote things and they’ve helped us out throughout the years. We’re just different.
CM: So it’s my first time at a B Team Buffalo event. What can I expect?
LC: Every event is different. We try to have an area for volunteers to get to know one another, whether it’s our event or someone else’s. We always work in shifts and try to give really good directions to all our volunteers. We want everyone to get to know one another and its hard not to when you have to dig in and work with each other. We hold dinners or happy hours after each event so that our volunteers can continue networking with each other.
CM: What’s coming up for B Team?
LC: This summer we’ll be working with the John F Beecher Boys and Girls Club on 14th Street in the West Side. We’ll also be holding our annual Summer in the City fundraiser that helps us get ready for City of Light in December. Something we’re looking to start in the fall is volunteer leadership training. Ours would be different from the United Way’s Board Governance project; it would be much smaller and aimed at people just getting started in volunteering. We’re hoping to focus on those who are, or want to, work with, or at, local non-profits.
CM: What are the next few events that people could get involved with right away?
LC: On May 15th we have our next Happy Hour for a Cause (with Buffalo Niagara 360) supporting Cradle Beach. We have a Pop up Park event at Canalside that we’re participating in at 10am on June 15th and we will be working with Cradle Beach for a cleanup on June 16th. We also have Pop up Park events in July and August and our Christmas in July fundraiser for City of Light will be at Templeton Landing on July 18th.
Liz has been working with B Team for the past five years and truly got involved on a fluke. She meant to sign up as a volunteer for City of Light and ended up serving on the planning committee. She enjoyed it so much she was hooked and the rest is history.
Hopefully through my interview with Liz you’ve learned a little more about what B Team is and if working with their group might be a good fit for you and your free time. For more information on upcoming events or how to get involved, please visit their website.