Megan McNally| Up and Comer Award Finalist
Where many saw a place of poverty and despair in Buffalo’s Masten Park district, Megan McNally saw hope, possibilities and an opportunity to forge unity through diversity. She purchased a home there and immediately began working to transform the neighborhood by empowering individuals through education and entrepreneurship. She created The Foundry, building opportunities for self-sufficiency and economic stability.
When Megan moved her professional wood shop to The Foundry, she had a vision to make it the hub of the community. It provides hands-on skill building to youth, serving hundreds of low-income students who have learned employment skills and digital literacy. The Foundry also acts as a business incubator by providing affordable rental space, connections to mentoring and support services, and business classes and workshops. Today, it boasts more than 30 product-based small businesses owned largely by low-income populations, women, people of color and young entrepreneurs.
Megan has also used The Foundry to host events and bring the community together through theater, music, poetry and dance performances. Additionally, she has renovated community green spaces, established gardens and supported faith groups in reclaiming the most derelict sections of the city.
By creating The Foundry, Megan has brought together a community that was neglected and injected it with hope and education. The Foundry opens its arms to people of all ages, genders, races, ethnicities and incomes, and Megan continues to empower every single person so that they have the opportunity to reach their future potential.