Executive Committee           

President, Rita E. Gay, Organization Committee Member

Lifetime resident living within the MLK business district for over 30 years. Rita has a BA in Public Administration and has experienced many career opportunities in areas of nursing, real estate, construction, telecommunications, housing rehab, and organization/management in the nonprofit world. Rita led the development of the Fillmore Forward effort which has been four years in the making and still continues. Through hard work and the drive of our comrades we all helped bring Fillmore Forward to life, as we believe in the Main Street approach to make the business districts successful. We understand meaningful change does not come quickly and easily. It's through dedicated community stakeholders that Fillmore Forward's success and our community's success will be realized. Let it be known through all the hours she spends volunteering in the community she counts as my greatest achievement being the proud mom of two fantastic boys + Max, a bear of a dog.


Vice President, Paul Harris, Organization Committee Co-Chair

Paul is a certified Project Management Professional and Senior Engineer with Praxair. He and his family moved to the Broadway-Fillmore area with the goal of raising their family and investing in the well-being of their friends & neighbors.  Since then, he has grown into a recognized leader through his active involvement in the community. Paul wholeheartedly believes in using a holistic approach to community revitalization that both empowers the community and addresses critical needs. Paul's overall vision recognizes the powerful value of inspiring individual community members to be agents of change. He has rigorously begun and co-founded multiple community groups, programs and organizations focused on creating effective solutions and bringing real hope to the Broadway-Fillmore area. Paul has actively worked to implement the Main Street model- -a proven grass roots community based model, vital to creating a healthy commercial district--within the Broadway-Fillmore and MLK communities from concept to reality.


Lucy Ederer, Secretary, Organization Committee

Started as a Secondary School Teacher in Foreign Languages. Went on to The International Institute of Buffalo as Assistant Program Director responsible for coordinating and organizing activities and educational programs and developing of an Interpreting and Translating Department according to profession and languages spoken. Developed a course in accent reduction for speakers of English as a second language. Continued also as a case manager for new arrivals for several years. This included travel to many different countries including refugee camps all over Southeast Asia. Presently represent the Italian government as Vice Consul in the 8 counties of Western New York. Member and volunteered for The International Olympic Committee Winter Games, Rotary and Zonta International and many local associations. Presently President of Friends of Corpus Christi, Inc. which works to preserve and revitalize Corpus Christi Church and its campus located at 199 Clark Street near Broadway.


Treasurer, Vacant


Board Members

Carl Skompinski, Organization Committee Co-Chair

Carl grew up in the shadows of St. Luke's Church on Sycamore and Oberlin St. which is little more than a 20 minute walk to the Broadway-Fillmore business district. In his youth the district was still very vibrant and offered opportunities for shopping, employment and entertainment. Carl has his degree in economics and is on the Board of Directors of the Central Terminal Restoration Corporation and Citizens for Regional Transit (with focus on expanding Light Rail from Downtown, Larkinville, the Central Terminal, Wildroot on Bailey, to the Thruway Mall and out to the airport), as well as participating as a core member of the Fillmore Corridor Neighborhood Coalition (FCNC).


Sharon Benz: Ed.D, Promotion Committee Co-Chair         

BA in history Le Moyne College, M.Ed in School Counseling SUNY at Buffalo, and doctorate in education from D'Youville College. Retired after 28 years with the Buffalo Public Schools and hired by Daemen College Center for Sustainable Communities& Civic Engagement. Past BOD of WNY Peace Center & Massachusetts Avenue Project. Buffalo resident for 48 years and think Buffalo is a great place to live! Believe Eastside is about to witness a renaissance also!


Anthony O. James, Design Committee Chair

Registered architect with many years' experience in historic preservation and urban issues. He is sole proprietor of Anthony O. James, Architect and has degrees from the University of Virginia and the University of Pennsylvania. He came to Buffalo in 2010 to be the Park Architect for the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy, and continues to do consulting work for them while maintaining his own practice. He sits on the board of Fillmore Forward, as well as Broadway-Fillmore Neighborhood Housing Services, Vision Niagara, and Partners for a Livable Western New York.


Jonathon Ling, Interim Economic Restructuring Committee Chair

Jonathon recently graduated from SUNY at Buffalo Law School with a concentration in Economic Development. He has had a diverse career helping to organize, develop and expand businesses. He has worked in finance, commercial insurance, agriculture and real estate development. Prior to moving to Buffalo, Jonathon started and operated a large agricultural business in Central New York. Today he works for PathStone Enterprise Center which provides small business with loans and technical assistance and volunteers with groups like Fillmore Forward that are dedicated to the revitalization of the East Buffalo.


Bradford Watts, Organization & Promotion Committee Member

Bradford Watts always likes to take the opportunity to lift up all that are in service and greet everyone he meets with a smile and salutation of Hello! Bradford's daily prayer is to grow more spiritually able to discern, and be attuning to the design and plan God has for him to serve. He is a Buffalo resident born and raised in the city's eastside, where he remains to this date. Bradford graduated from South Park High School, he has a Bachelor's Degree of Arts in Broadcasting. He holds a Master's Degree in Communication from Buffalo State College through Multidisciplinary studies at the University of Buffalo. He is now retired from SUNY academics and continues to serve young, adolescent, adults, and seniors as a mentor and servant of Jesus Christ.

Many of the fields of service are:

  • Buffalo Urban League Board Member
  • Housing Opportunities Made Equal Board Member
  • National Federation for Just Communities Board Member
  • Westminster Foundation Board Member through M&T Bank-Buffalo Promise Neighborhood
  • Dayspring Church of God of Prophecy Trustee and NYS Chaplain
  • Fillmore Forward Board Member, serving on 2 Committees: Organization and Promotion


Stephen Karnath

Stephen Karnath has served as executive director of Broadway Fillmore Neighborhood Housing Services, Inc. and HomeFront since 2014. He is also an attorney with a focus on real estate law. He began his career in affordable housing as executive director of FLARE for 10 years, spent 19 years as a capital project manager with the NYS Division of Housing, and 6 years underwriting equity investments in affordable housing as an acquisition manager for the National Equity Fund.


All meetings located at Broadway Fillmore NHS | 780 Fillmore Ave. | Buffalo, NY 14212 | Phone: 716-436-4896

Committee Meetings: 

Economic Restructuring Committee meets 4th Wed each month - 5:30 - 7:00pm

Design Committee meets 2nd Thurs each month - 6:15 - 8:00pm

Promotion Committee meets 2nd Wed each month - 5:30 - 7:00pm

Organization Committee meets 3rd Thurs each month - 5:30 - 7:00pm




Focusing on the underlying economic vitality of the district.



Enhancing physical elements of the community.



A strong organizational foundation is key for a sustainability.



Promoting commercial districts as centers of the community.