Curtis Hall

Daemen College has received a $350,000 grant from the John R. Oishei Foundation for the Institute for Government and Nonprofit Innovation, Training, and Evaluation (IGNITE), which is housed in Daemen’s historic Curtis Hall.

The foundation funding will provide support toward major facility enhancements that will maximize IGNITE’s use of Curtis Hall, including additional training and conference rooms, upgraded technology infrastructure, improved accessibility, a new heating and cooling system, and other modifications.

Established in 2014, IGNITE connects Daemen’s social work faculty with non-profit organizations, foundations, schools, and community groups to provide professional assistance, capacity building, and other support that will improve the lives of the individuals they serve.

Training sessions and continuing education for licensed social work professionals are also offered to community providers on a range of topics such as child welfare, homelessness, economic self-sufficiency, and cultural competency. In addition, IGNITE provides real-world on-campus learning opportunities for Daemen social work students to build their skills and knowledge in the field.

Dr. Diane Bessel, IGNITE’s founder and MSW program director, noted, “Curtis Hall’s renovations will be a major step forward in improving our spaces and ensuring we are well-equipped to expand upon programming that will greatly benefit the community.”

IGNITE is housed on the first floor of Curtis Hall, which is also the primary location for Daemen’s social work, sociology, and physician assistant studies programs. Built in 1918, the two-story building was designed by Louis Greenstein, a respected Buffalo architect during the early to mid-20th century. e building was purchased by Daemen (then Rosary Hill College) in 1956 and became a part of the college’s main campus.

The John R. Oishei Foundation enhances the economic vitality and quality of life for the Buffalo Niagara region through grantmaking, leadership, and network building. e foundation was established in 1940 by John R. Oishei, founder of Trico Products Corp.