Sign of Great Hope, Continued Community Prosperity

Community Health Center of Niagara Falls Honors Russell J. Salvatore
For Leadership, Generous Gift of State-of the-Art Landmark Electronic Sign

Dr. LaVonne Ansari, Chief Executive Officer, Community Health Center of Buffalo, Inc., thanks and recognizes Mr. Russell J. Salvatore for his most generous donation of the Community Health Center of Niagara Falls’ new landmark and electronic signage at an unveiling in Mr. Salvatore’s honor held Thurs., Nov. 5, 2020 at CHCN on Highland Ave. in Niagara Falls, NY. Thanks to Mr. Salvatore’s generous donation, the new CHCN sign will engage the community and share valuable information about the Center’s services.


On a sun-kissed early November day, Mr. Russell J. Salvatore, Western New York restaurant and philanthropy icon, joked that he, and not “the man upstairs”, had brought the brilliant rays and light breezes to a beautiful Fall morning.

What was absolutely certain – and great cause for bright smiles and warm hearts – was the tremendous donation Mr. Salvatore did bring in the form of a magnificent new landmark and electronic sign that stands proudly to welcome all to the Community Health Center of Niagara Falls.

An unveiling ceremony was held in Mr. Salvatore’s honor on Thurs., Nov. 4, 2020 at the Center’s front entrance grounds located at 2715 Highland Ave., Niagara Falls.

The event was hosted by Dr. LaVonne Ansari, Chief Executive Officer of the Community Health Center of Buffalo, Inc. and featured honored guests including Rev. Raymond Allen, Pastor, Bethany Baptist Church; Mark King, President, Board of Directors, CHCB, Inc.; Owen T. Steed, 4th District Legislator – Niagara County and New York State Assemblyman Angelo J. Morinello.

Greetings and congratulations were also announced by Karla Thomas, Director of Marketing, CHCB, Inc., from United States Congressman Brian Higgins; and New York State Senator Timothy Kennedy. CHCB, Inc. Project Manager Stephanie Cowart, who was instrumental in working with Mr. Salvatore on the signage donation, served as master of ceremonies.

“I love giving, it makes me feel so good inside,” said Mr. Salvatore, of the first donation he has made in the Niagara Falls community. “I work hard and it makes me feel great to give back. It makes me feel so good inside and I just want to say thank you and God Bless this beautiful community.”

“I always tell my friends, you can’t take it with you,” Mr. Salvatore added in an interview with local reporters. “You have got to give it back to the community, you can’t take it with you. Remember out there, you can’t take it with you.”

“This sign is really more than just signage, it really is a beacon for this community to give it light and to let people know we are here,” said Dr. Ansari in honoring Mr. Salvatore. “One of the slogans for the Health Center is building communities one patient at a time, and we believe the mission is possible. But we also know that we can’t do it alone. … We didn’t just come into this community because we wanted to come in, we came in because the community supported us coming and because we are one of you.

“I also want to say that this is one of our first business generosity partners that we have had,” continued Dr. Ansari. .”… In February of this year, we hosted our first Black History gala to raise money for this sign. I’m laughing because the money we raised is nowhere what we got! Mr. Salvatore came to the rescue.

“We didn’t know that Mr. Salvatore was our guardian angel behind the scenes when we fell a lot short. … As soon as he heard that we had fallen short, Mr. Salvatore said, bring me the drawings and let me see what we can do. Our next communication was him saying don’t worry, I’ll buy the sign for you.

“You can define charity as the generosity of giving,” continued Dr. Ansari. “But people only give if they have the character to give. Everybody that has money, does not necessarily give…. So, Mr. Salvatore, I just want to say on behalf of this community that we truly feel that you are an example of leadership for our community. And it’s truly a blessing and we’re truly thankful for your generosity that this sign is really a new light for this community.”

‘Be Our Guest and Let us Do The Rest!’

As founder of Russell’s Steaks, Chops and More and Salvatore’s Grand Hotel located at 6675 Transit Road Williamsville, NY, ; Mr. Salvatore is continuing a tradition of hospitality excellence that began when he transformed a hot dog stand that he had purchased in 1967, into the 100,000 square-foot Buffalo landmark now known as Salvatore’s Italian gardens. He later established the magnificent Garden Place Hotel. At age 75, Mr. Salvatore handed the reins of the restaurant and hotel over to his son. Since then, he has gone forward to found and develop Russell’s Steaks Chops and More and its attached five-story Grand Hotel, which has drawn national attention for its exemplary food quality and outstanding service.

In addition to this latest support of the Community Health Center of Niagara Falls, Mr. Salvatore has generously supported Trocaire College, the Erie County Medical Center, the Food Bank of Western New York, and Roswell Park Cancer institute, to name just a very few benefactors of his generosity.

In concluding here remarks, Dr. Ansari also recognized members of Mr. Salvatore’s team including Chris McCaffrey, President, Ulrich Signs who designed and constructed CHCN’s new sign; and Mark Jerge, General Manager of Russell’s Steaks Chops and More.

Manny Lezama, Systems Executive Chef, Kaleida Health, also accompanied Mr. Salvatore.

Dr. Ansari also acknowledged Mark King, Board Chair and Pastor Raymond Allen who recently joined the CHCB board.

“I would also like to acknowledge the members of my board,” Dr. Ansari concluded. “You can’t do this without leaders who have trust and support of what you are saying.”

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