The Paul A. Saffrin Center for Sustainability and Civic Engagements, formerly known as the Center for Sustainable Communities and Civic Engagement (CSCCE), was established in the fall of 2001 through a grant of $600,000 from the John R. Oishei Foundation.  The Center was created to promote a lifelong commitment to civic responsibility and environmental sustainability through various initiatives, including service learning opportunities with partner organizations in underserved communities, and sustainability activities and programming.

As a tribute to Daemen College’s commitment to civic engagement and community outreach, the Center was institutionalized in 2005 upon completion of the Oishei grant. Other funders through the years include the Providence Fund, Erie County Youth Bureau, Key Bank, M&T Charitable Foundation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Bettina Weary Trust, Josephine Goodyear Foundation, Fannie Mae, Children’s Foundation of Buffalo & Erie County, the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, First Niagara Foundation and Buffalo Renaissance Foundation.      

Through the years the center has provided educational events for the Daemen community and community at-large on issues of economic, environmental and social sustainability.  Annual and on-going events have included the Environmental Summit, WNY EarthDay at the Buffalo Zoo for area youth, free tax preparation through VITA, health fairs, refugee panels, and literacy camps for neighborhood youth.

In 2016 the College received an unprecedented $1 million gift from the Paul A. Saffrin Foundation to support the Center for Sustainable Communities and Civic Engagement, making it the largest private gift in the college’s nearly 70-year history. In honor of this historic gift to the college, the center was officially renamed the Paul A. Saffrin Center for Sustainability and Civic Engagement. The endowed gift has been designated specifically to advance the center’s efforts and to create new opportunities for students, faculty, and staff to engage with communities. It will also allow the center to enhance its highly successful efforts in building a more sustainable future and addressing environmental issues to promote the well-being of communities around the world. 

With Saffrin’s gift, the center, and Daemen, is well-positioned to become a regional and national leader in facilitating civic engagement and sustainability efforts.