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NFJC readies annual awards; Montante family among honorees

Five community leaders and a family will be honored as the National Federation for Just Communities of Western New York holds its 2011 Citation Banquet at 6 p.m. March 23 in the Hyatt Regency Buffalo.

The honorees include Gary M. Brost, chairman of Strategic Investments & Holdings, and his wife, Willow; Dr. Wesley L. Hicks Jr., a professor in the University at Buffalo Medical School and attending surgeon at Roswell Park Cancer Institute; Michael L. Joseph, president of Clover Management, and his wife, Roberta; and the Montante Family.

The Brosts, of Buffalo, have a long history of philanthropy and community involvement.

Mr. Brost, a graduate of Allegheny College and UB, launched Strategic Investments as part of Goldome Bank in 1983 and purchased it with partners in 1989. He led the effort to obtain government funding for the Burchfield Penney Art Center and has played a key role in fundraising efforts for a variety of cultural, educational and social service organizations.

Mrs. Brost, who has degrees from Allegheny College, D'Youville College and UB, has worked as a registered nurse and nursing educator. She has been a member of Allegheny College's Board of Trustees for 12 years and served at local and district levels in the United Methodist Church. Active for many years at the Clarence Public Library, she also is vice chairwoman of Buffalo Prep and a member of the Michigan Street African-American Heritage Corridor Commission.

Hicks, who lives in Angola on a farm his family has owned for 55 years, carries a full caseload as a head and neck surgeon at Roswell Park ,in addition to his teaching and research at UB. An innovator in tissue engineering and wound repair, he has published more than 180 papers and book chapters. A board member at HealthNow, WBFO-FM and the Buffalo Federation of Neighborhood Centers, he was named one of America's Leading Doctors in 2007 by Black Enterprises Magazine.

The Josephs, of Williamsville, also are fundraising leaders and have dedicated much of their philanthropic work to supporting education. As chairmen of the Jewish Federation Campaign Kick-Off Dinner and by opening their home to fundraising events, they raised more than $1.5 million.

Mr. Joseph manages more than 10,000 residential units and 400,000 square feet of commercial space. Since 1989, he has developed more than $200 million in rental and condominium spaces. He holds degrees from Binghamton University and Boston University and has served on the boards of the UB Foundation, Buffalo Seminary, Elmwood Franklin School and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. He is in his fourth year as chairman of Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

Mrs. Joseph, also a graduate of Binghamton University, is vice president of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery board of directors and has encouraged community collaborations at the gallery. As a member of Roswell Park's Art Committee, she has been instrumental in the hospital's Adopt Art program.

The Montante family, which is receiving the Family Citation Award, is active on the boards of directors of numerous local organizations, from Artpark to the WNY Women's Fund. The family's dedication to charitable causes and capital fundraising began with patriarch Carl J. Montante, founder in 1974 of Uniland Development Co., the region's top commercial real estate developer. He and his wife, Carol Ann, are parents of four children and grandparents of 10.

Co-chairman of this year's banquet are attorneys and NFJC board members Amy Habib Rittling of Lippes Mathias Wexler Friedman LLP, and John G. Horn of Harter Secrest & Emery LLP.

The NFJC has worked to combat racism and other discrimination in the area since it was founded as a branch of the National Conference of Christians and Jews in 1951. For information and tickets to the dinner, call 853-9596 or visit www.nfjcwny.org.

e-mail: citydesk@buffnews.com

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