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Catholic Charities announces Appeal 2022 leadership team

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Catholic Charities of Buffalo has announced the members of its Appeal 2022 leadership team which include Thomas Beecher Jr. and Nancy Nielsen, M.D., Ph.D. as general chairs, Adam Sumlin, Ph.D. as vice chair, Kevin Gannon as parish division chair, Kevin Brayer and Daniel Mecca as corporate division chairs, and Laurie Brown-Croyts-Alford as community division chair. 

With a goal of $9.5 million, the annual Appeal kicked off Jan. 19 and runs through June 30. This year’s theme is once again “HOPE.”

Beecher is chairman of the board of Barrantys LLC and has more than 60 years of law practice as counsel to Phillips Lytle LLP. He volunteers his time with organizations focused on health care, education and the care and feeding of the poor. Beecher serves as chairman emeritus of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, secretary of the Jacobs Institute, founder and director of the BISON Children’s Scholarship Fund and is a former chairman of the board of Canisius High School. Additionally, he served on the Foundation of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo as a trustee and is a former chairman of the investment committee for the diocese. He served as co-chair of Upon This Rock, diocesan capital drive. A Buffalo resident, Beecher and his family attend St. Louis Parish in Buffalo

Nielsen is an internist and infectious diseases physician who is senior associate dean for health policy at the University at Buffalo. She has long been active in medical associations at the county, state and national levels and is a past president of the American Medical Association. A resident of Orchard Park, Nielsen is a member of Nativity of Our Lord Parish, where she is a lector, eucharistic minister, and member of the parish advisory council. She is also active in the Movement to Restore Trust in the Diocese of Buffalo and recently completed a two-year program, “Forest Dwelling: Spirituality for our Wisdom Years,” at the Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio. 

After serving as parish chair last year, Sumlin is taking on the role of vice chair. He served as the parish appeal chair for St. Martin de Porres Parish for more than 15 years. Sumlin is an assistant professor of oncology with Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center and focuses his research on the development of innovative biomarkers for the early detection of prostate cancer. He serves as president of the Holy Name Society, a eucharistic minister and Bible group facilitator at St. Martin de Porres. He resides with his family in Getzville.

Kevin Gannon joins the appeal leadership team as parish division chair and will help to inform and motivate the parish appeal teams which represent 161 parishes within the eight counties of the diocese. Gannon is the chief sales officer of Azeros Health Plans and has 35 years of experience as a benefits broker. He is a member of the St. Vincent de Paul Society and serves as a committee member at OLV Homes of Charity. Gannon and his wife reside in Hamburg.

Corporate Division Chairs Brayer and Mecca return for the second year to direct the team of volunteer business leaders and develop strategies for seeking contributions from the area’s corporations and small businesses.

A volunteer with the corporate team for more than five years, Brayer is retired executive director of the St. Bonaventure Buffalo Center, overseeing all its graduate programs at the site. Brayer is a long-standing parishioner of St. Louis Church where he currently serves as the business manager and as usher, eucharistic minister, sacristan and parish council member. He is a former president of the parish council. Brayer also serves on the Bishop’s Council of the Laity, the Foundation for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, and the board of directors for the Ronald McDonald House, also heading its marketing committee. A founding member of First Night Buffalo, Brayer has also been very involved in events with Catholic education and St. Bonaventure University and served on the diocesan Upon this Rock campaign. He resides with his family in Buffalo.

Mecca is president and managing creative director for Abbey Mecca, a Buffalo-based branding, advertising and digital marketing firm. He currently serves as chairman of the board for Buffalo Hearing & Speech Center, is a member of the board of directors of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, a director of the Buffalo Renaissance Foundation, and a director of the Regional Traffic Alliance. Mecca first become involved with the appeal corporate team nearly 20 years ago. A resident of Williamsville, he is a member of the St. Joseph University Parish community.

Brown-Croyts-Alford returns as community division chair for the second year in a row, working with Catholic schools, parish societies and other local organizations throughout the appeal. A member of St. Martin de Porres Catholic Church, she serves on the women’s guild and the compassion ministry. Brown-Croyts-Alford is a nurse practitioner and has a research background in pharmacology. She lives with her family in Buffalo.

Funds raised during Appeal 2022 will support Catholic Charities’ 57 programs across 80 sites in the eight counties of Western New York, along with several ministries that benefit all parishes through the Fund for the Faith. More than 125,000 people of all faiths were served by Catholic Charities last year. For more information or to donate to Appeal 2022, visit ccwny.org/donate.

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