ReNU Niagara Director, Two Young NU Alumnae Recognized by Business First

August 21, 2014  |  by Michael Freedman

30 Under Thirty

Kathleen Heim, '07, Tom Lowe, director of ReNU Niagara, and Shannon Patch, '07, received Business First's '30 Under Thirty' award during a reception held Aug. 20, 2014.

Tom Lowe, director of ReNU Niagara, and Kathleen Heim and Shannon (Bloomquist) Patch, both 2007 graduates of Niagara University, were honored by Business First during the newspaper’s 30 Under Thirty awards program held last night at The Atrium @ Rich’s.

The award recognizes 30 Western New Yorkers in the early stages of their careers who are achieving at high levels at work and in the community.

Among the factors considered are career achievements, leadership and initiative, community engagement and each nominee’s potential to become a community leader on a grand scale.

Heim serves as the Opportunity Corps program manager at The Service Collaborative of WNY Inc., a position she has held since May 2012. She is also the founder and co-chair of Project Homeless Connect Buffalo, which endeavors to fuse political and civic will in an annual event that focuses on immediacy, hospitality and results for homeless neighbors.

Heim graduated from NU in 2007 with a bachelor’s degree in political science, and was the recipient of the Father Joseph Levesque President’s Award for outstanding community service and academic achievement. She later earned a master of social work from the University at Buffalo.

Patch has been the chief of staff for New York Sen. Timothy Kennedy since January 2011. She is an advocate of small business development in the 58th District and also specializes in relationship building, project management, sales, organizational leadership, and constituent relations. Prior to working in politics, Patch was a project manager for Junior Achievement of Western New York and a human resources manager for the Sears Holdings Corporation. Her undergraduate degree is in communications.

Lowe is active in numerous community-building programs through his role with ReNU Niagara, an outreach office established by Niagara University in 2006. He manages the GreenRoots Leadership Development Program, projects in the Highland Community and the Vacant Lot Coalition. He also assists with the City of Niagara Falls’ LiveNF program, and sits on the boards of Greenprint Niagara, the Main Street Business and Professional Association, the Niagara Beautification Commission, the City of Niagara Falls Youth Board and the Hyde Park Babe Ruth Baseball Association.

A Youngstown native, Lowe graduated from Lewiston-Porter High School in 2004 and earned a bachelor of arts in English with a minor in arts administration from SUNY Fredonia in 2009, before returning to Niagara County to serve as an AmeriCorps VISTA with ReNU Niagara. He became director of the program in June 2013.

Lowe has received additional training from the Grantsmanship Center, Concept Systems and the Clean Air Coalition’s Lois Gibbs Fellowship program.

ReNU Niagara, a branch of the Rev. Joseph L. Levesque, C.M. Institute for Civic Engagement at Niagara University, engages, empowers and educates diverse community stakeholders to mobilize their collective capacity and resources to improve Niagara Falls and the surrounding areas.

“Tom Lowe is one of the primary reasons that the economic and social redevelopment of Niagara Falls has gained some really positive momentum in recent years,” noted Dr. David Taylor, director of the Levesque Institute. “Tom is the kind of person who prefers to keep his nose to the grindstone – he certainly doesn’t seek out accolades – so it’s nice to see his great work in the community celebrated with this award.”

For more information on ReNU Niagara, please visit

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