Megan McNally is co-founder and Executive Director of The Foundry, an organization on the east side of Buffalo that supports business creation, education and creativity. Located in a historic 25,000 square foot building, The Foundry offers workshop space for start-up businesses, artisans and tradespeople, as well as a multi-function community space to support arts performances, DIY education and public gatherings. It has become a recognized place for the encouragement of new ideas and productive action. In the last year, The Foundry has hosted workshops for over 400 participants and introduced new individuals into the east side community.
Additionally, The Foundry and the WAY Program at Baker Victory Services jointly created a specialized program that teaches both soft and hard job skills to high-risk youth. Young people learn the basics of construction through building studio spaces, and once they pass a tool use certification, they move into leadership/teaching positions, job shadowing and apprenticeships opportunities.
Megan is fueled by her passion for women’s empowerment and equal access to educational opportunities. While completing her studies in Environmental Policy at Barnard College in NYC, she purchased a home in the City of Buffalo at a foreclosure auction. Over seven months, she facilitated 35 workshops for community members on basic home repairs and realized the importance of equal access to education for women in the trades. This challenged Megan to increase her skills at Yestermorrow Design/Build School and to open a woodworking business, Rusted Grain, located at The Foundry. Rusted Grain works closely with the Green Demolition Team of ReUse Action to utilize salvaged wood from deconstructed Buffalo area homes to teach others how to build products and furniture.
Megan is a volunteer Big Sister mentor through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Erie County and has been matched with her Little Sister Riya since May of 2012. The two have done everything from visiting local museums, skating at Canalside, sledding at Chestnut Ridge and making gifts in Megan’s woodshop. Megan has been a consistent mentor for Riya and is committed to empowering her to find her way in life, education and career.
Megan and her husband, Michael Zak, reside with their cat and dog in the City of Buffalo.
To celebrate all of our Women Who Move the City Honorees, join BBBSEC and our emcee, Janet Snyder of Kiss 98.5, for an evening of cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and shopping on Thursday, April 30th at the Hotel at The Lafayette. Click here to learn more.