BRYANA DIFONZO 

Bryana is an M.B.A. working to transition economic and non-profit systems to more just, sustainable, and democratic structures in Buffalo, NY.


“The hope is that because you have such a good understanding of what you’re trying to measure, and why and what it actually says, you take that to a funder and say this is our data and what it means and why it’s important and this is what you should ask us for. 

Rather than, this funder added a few things we haven’t been tracking before, let’s throw it in there and keep adjusting and reacting based on this grant or that grant or whatever each funder is looking for... 

That is the dream.“

As Director of New Economy at PUSH Buffalo, Bryana is thinking about big things.  Big, value-altering, change-the-way-we-think-about-ownership-and-power type things.  Actually doing work to address these big things requires money and money requires funders - and the dynamics of defining value, performance, and accountability that come with them.  Despite recognizing data’s importance to a cause - towards performance management, strategy, and making the political case for work, among other benefits, she is critical.  She is critical of the right time and place to use data, the implications of it’s use within the current non-profit / funder power dynamic, and the downsides of being off kilter, one way or the other.

It’s a refreshing, and engaging couner-point to a large amount of data-as-panacea talk.  This viewpoint can manifest in a number of ways, one of which being folks who studied humanities, not engineering or science, and have spent a good chunk of their careers working with people.  Actual, real-life humans, which Bryana did managing volunteers at Journey's End Refugee Services, and as Community Development Director at the Westminster Economic Development Initiative.  This tension, this pushback against the true value proposition of data’s use by the messy realities of the world it’s applied to, is essential to the movement.  It might not always be easy to address, but there’s immense growth in those good, hard looks, and seemingly, thankfully, ever more people willing to look.

RECOMMENDATIONS



Non-Profit AF; Exploring the fun and frustrations of nonprofit work

Movement Generation’s Just Transition Zine

Cooperation Buffalo; Programs for employee-owned businesses

WORK



An Equitable Water Future: Buffalo; US Water Alliance & Buffalo Water Equity Taskforce

Rain Check 2.0, Green Infrastructure Report; Buffalo Sewer Authority

WORK, EDUCATION, CERTIFICATIONS

  • M.B.A.;  B.A.; History & English 
  • Six Sigma Yellow Belt
  • ~10 Years in Non-Profit Community Development and Volunteer Management





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