Alfred University News

Alfred University’s Art Force 5 chosen for Buffalo Bills, Sabres "Give 716" campaign

ALFRED, NY – Alfred University’s Art Force 5 will be the beneficiary of a fundraising drive organized by the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres foundations in support of local non-profits.

ALFRED, NY – Alfred University’s Art Force 5 will be the beneficiary of a fundraising drive organized by the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres foundations in support of local non-profits.

The drive begins July 15, at 7:16pm, and continues up to midnight of July 16, with major companies offering matching donations during designated times.

Art Force 5 will use funds raised in the drive to partner with western New York high schools for its third annual 2022 Women’s Empowerment Draft, a program which began in 2019 at the Buffalo Bills training camp.

According to Give 716, “The past year has created an unprecedented time for our community and a critical gap in the services that local nonprofits are able provide in Western New York. In response to these challenges, the idea of Give 716 was born as a collaborative effort between the Buffalo Bills Foundation and Buffalo Sabres Foundation by using their collective resources for good.

“The goal of Give 716 is simple, to unite Bills and Sabres fans with the western New York community in an epic day of giving. It also aims to bring awareness and develop deeper, more meaningful connections between nonprofits providing the vital supporting services to our community.”

At the 2019 Buffalo Bills training camp, more than 100 Bills fans painted mosaic tiles in tribute to Susan B. Anthony. The project spread to numerous other NFL parking lots – tailgating and painting regional icons that included Dorothy Dandridge (Cleveland Browns), Harriet Tubman (Baltimore Ravens), Nellie Bly (Pittsburgh Steelers), Shirley Chisholm (New York Jets), and Mary McLeod Bethune (2020 Super Bowl in Miami).

When COVID-19 interrupted these tailgate engagements, the program shifted to create an on-line Women’s Empowerment Draft in 2020, inviting 32 female college students from the 32 NFL teams’ cities to film themselves wearing custom-made tribute jersey and announcing their icon’s contribution. This first annual W.E. Draft was filmed and featured as a segment on the NFL Network’s NFL360 program.

According to Art Force 5 founder Dan Napolitano, Assistant Dean of Alfred University’s School of Art and Design, Art Force 5 designs and leads creative approaches to important topics such as women’s empowerment. “The Women’s Empowerment Draft approaches women’s equality with the same passion as rooting for a professional sports team, creating similar conversations about overcoming adversity and building a winning community through respect.

“Through this program, issues of inequity, conflict, violence, coexistence, and equal opportunity may be explored in a format accessible and comfortable for adults and children to engage at shared tables while role modeling the community’s commitment.

With funds raised from the GIVE 716 initiative, Art Force 5 hopes to form partnerships with 31 schools within wester New York counties, inviting students to pay tribute to a chosen icon by painting tiles – one tile per school. According to Napolitano, the painting requires no skill or training, but rather vulnerability and collaboration in completing an artistic task in a joint effort.

“The process of collaboratively building a shared product is as important as a final art piece, which will be kept within that community or gifted to a chosen location,” Napolitano says. Additionally, Art Force 5 will give priority to Bills' neighboring eight counties in the 716 area code, but may also expand to some 607 and 585 counties.

“Each school partnership will cost approximately $1,000, so our goal is to raise $31,000 for 31 partnerships for this specific initiative. The final program would extend beyond our region to demonstrate that western New York is a leader in championing women’s equity. See 2020 Women’s Empowerment Draft.  Supporters of Alfred University and the Art Force 5 may make donations to any of the 400+ worthy organizations by visiting the website. Questions may be directed to Dan Napolitano.