West Herr Celebrates New Scott Bieler Family Foundation Rural Outreach Center
Nearly two years to the day after the Rural Outreach Center hosted a groundbreaking
ceremony in 2021, board members, staff, volunteers, donors, friends and supporters of the Rural Outreach
Center came together for a dedication and ribbon cutting
celebration for the new Scott Bieler Family Foundation Rural Outreach Center.
After many years of planning and fundraising and two years of construction, the new 9600 square-foot
facility was completed at a cost of $3.8 million. The Scott Bieler Family Foundation Rural Outreach Center
brings together many services and programs offered by the Rural Outreach Center. The building includes
offices, counseling rooms, large, open, dividable areas for children’s programming including play therapy,
larger community gathering spaces, a meditation room / chapel, as well as an outdoor plaza for gatherings.
ROC also plans to offer use of the building for worship, conferences, and other community events.
“This facility is a community asset designed to be a place of hope and healing for families in need in rural
communities in Western New York” commented Scott Bieler, President and CEO of West Herr Auto Group
and President of the Scott Bieler Family Foundation. “When we learned about the work of the Rural
Outreach Center and the plans for the facility, we knew my Foundation needed to support the project with a
lead gift. I couldn’t be more thrilled with how the building turned out.”
For many years the ROC operated from a repurposed FEMA. Increasing demand for ROC services and
programs created the need for a larger, modern, and more efficient building.
“More than 45,000 persons live in poverty in the rural areas of WNY.” commented Dr. Frank J. Cerny,
M.Div., Executive Director of the Rural Outreach Center. “ROC’s mission and model are focused on
providing programs and support services that empower and teach self-sufficiency. Our work transforms
lives of adults and children and helps to end the multi-generational cycle of poverty. We are grateful to the
Scott Bieler Family Foundation, Circle of Care donors, and everyone who supported this project.”
The dedication and ribbon cutting marks an important milestone in the history of the organization. The Rural
Outreach Center grew out of the work of Pathways Christian Fellowship which was founded in 2006 by
Cerny and volunteers united in their faith. The group was committed to fighting multi-generational rural
poverty in the community. The group held free monthly community meals to listen to residents and better
understand the issues. Programs and partnerships evolved to provide “wrap-around” services and in 2013
ROC became an independent 501(c)3.
In 2019, the ROC board of directors launched the Reaching Out Capital Campaign to raise the funds
necessary to build the Scott Bieler Family Foundation Rural Outreach Center. The Reaching Out Capital
Campaign goal was to raise $4.2 million for the construction and buildout of the Scott Bieler Family
Foundation Rural Outreach Center and the Rural Care and Development Hub. The Campaign cabinet was
chaired by ROC Board member, Christye Peterson, along with Sarah and Steve Tasker serving as Honorary
In addition to lead gifts from the Scott Bieler Family Foundation and the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, the
Campaign received major gifts from participants in the Circle of Care including:
Erie County, New York
KeyBank in partnership with the First Niagara Foundation
Peter & Elizabeth Tower Foundation
The M&T Charitable Foundation
The John R. Oishei Foundation
James H. Cummings Foundation
Pathways Christian Fellowship
Estate of Donna Brott & Family
Keith & Lucie Albee
Paul Babbitt & Judith Van Nostrand
Robert Chur Family Foundation
Paul & Helen Ellis Charitable Trust
National Fuel Gas Company Foundation
Peter Grogan & Christye Peterson
Hayes Family Partnership
Charles E. Balbach
Buffalo Bills Foundation
The Children’s Guild Foundation
James & Karen Dusel
Midwest Air Traffic Control Service, Inc.
Jim & Judy Oubre
Margaret L. Wendt Foundation
The dedication and ribbon cutting provides a fitting backdrop for recognition of supporters. “Many
organizations and more than 400 people made significant philanthropic investments in our mission”
commented Peterson. “This support is making it possible for families to move from dependency to
independence. We could not do this important work alone, which is why this support from everyone means
“This building is the foundation of our work. Together we are making a difference, we are giving hope, we
are changing lives, and we are empowering children and adults for a better future – one they may never
would have imagined.” added Cerny.
More information about the Rural Outreach Center programs and services and the Scott Bieler Family Foundation Rural Outreach Center can be found at theroc.co.