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News Release: International Institute of Buffalo Announces New Executive Director

By April 12, 2022No Comments


Interim Executive Director Promoted to Permanent Position

Jennifer Rizzo-Choi, who has been serving as interim Executive Director, has now been promoted to permanent ED.


Buffalo, N.Y. – The International Institute of Buffalo (IIB), a community based nonprofit that delivers impactful services to support the safety, integration and success of refugees, immigrants and survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking, has announced Jennifer Rizzo-Choi will be its new Executive Director.


Rizzo-Choi has been serving as Executive Director in an interim role since September and had previously served on the IIB’s Board of Directors since 2016.


“Jenny was at the top of the list when we considered who would be an ideal leader to steer the IIB into the future,” said Katie Schneider, President of IIB’s Board of Directors. “She possesses all of the traits we’re seeking: deep-seated knowledge of Western New York’s immigrant and refugee community, a level-headed management style and passion for exploring new ideas and relationships. We offered her the role of serving as an interim ED with hopes that she would consider applying for the position permanently.”


Schneider explained that Rizzo-Choi was enthusiastic about accepting the interim role, but couldn’t commit to anything long term due to the potential of her family relocating outside of WNY for her husband’s job. When Rizzo-Choi found out her husband’s position was to stay remote-based, they decided to stay in Buffalo and she applied for the permanent ED position.


“Over the past six years I fell in love with the IIB’s board, staff, partners and of course clients,” said Rizzo-Choi. “It was heartbreaking to think I’d have to leave, which is why when we learned it was possible for our family to put down permanent roots here, I jumped at the chance to remain a part of the IIB community for the foreseeable future.”


The IIB collaborated with Career Partners International of Williamsville to conduct a search for candidates.


“We interviewed five excellent prospects, all of whom were very impressive and capable of taking on the helm at IIB,” said Schneider. “Jenny rose to the top because of her proven ability in the role and the opportunity for the IIB to begin strategic planning as soon as possible without any learning curve.”


Rizzo-Choi has served in a multitude of roles and oversaw a variety of projects during her tenure with the IIB’s Board. She was most recently the Chair of the Development Committee and was responsible for the organization’s Centennial Fundraiser exceeding its fundraising goal. Rizzo-Choi also led several efforts to increase the IIB’s revenue base and advocacy profile.


Prior to her role at IIB, Rizzo-Choi had worked in both local and national legal and humanitarian protection circles. She was the Legal Director for Journey’s End Refugee Services in Buffalo where she founded its legal aid program. She served on the Board of Directors for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of WNY. She led The Pro Bono Project in New Orleans, the largest pro bono organization in Louisiana as its Executive Director, and she served as National Pro Bono Promotion Counsel at Human Rights First, a national refugee and asylum-focused organization headquartered in Washington, D.C. and New York City. Rizzo-Choi began her career as a television journalist in the Buffalo, Fort Myers and Burlington, VT markets. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Broadcast Journalism from Ithaca College, a Juris Doctorate from the University at Buffalo Law School and an MBA from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is admitted to practice law in New York State and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.



Media Contact:

Todd Brooks

Director of Philanthropy and Community Engagement

O: 716-883-1900 Ext. 361

C: 716-868-5611