Rhonda Bivins-Talley, executive director of Niagara University’s Levesque Institute for Civic Engagement-IMPACT, received the Change Maker Award from Niagara Organizing Alliance for Hope, Inc., at its Red Carpet Awards Gala and Auction on Oct. 21, 2023. The Change Maker Award is given to an individual who emulates the mission and vision of NOAH, an alliance of faith communities and allies organizing for social and racial justice in Niagara County.
In her role as executive director, Bivins-Talley leads community outreach activities for Niagara University. At the heart of her work and in alignment with the university’s mission, is her commitment to serving as a catalyst for change. In collaboration with local agencies, she creates project-based experiences for Niagara University students that equip them with the skills and passion for leadership and service as they advocate and assist the marginalized populations throughout the region.
Her dedication to creating equitable opportunity extends beyond her role as executive director. Bivins-Talley is the coordinator of Niagara University’s Lois Lyons Brennan Scholars Program, which offers talented, high-achieving students from under-resourced communities the opportunity to attend Niagara. She also serves on several university committees, including the University Planning and Resource Council, the Mission Committee, the School of Social Work Advisory Council.
Prior to Niagara, Bivins-Talley held a number of key positions within universities, colleges, high schools, community organizations, and government agencies, including grant program director at Niagara County Community College, director of after-school programs at the YWCA, assistant director of nursing workforce diversity at D’Youville College, coordinator at Erie Niagara Area Health Education Center, and case manager at Orleans Niagara BOCES.
Within the community, Bivins-Talley serves on the board of directors for Heart, Love, and Soul, and was recently appointed to the board of directors of Junior Achievement of WNY. She is also a program development consultant for the Be Cool Be in School Truancy Prevention Program.
In 2019, she was honored with the LaSalle Educational Inc. Community Service Award in recognition of her outstanding contributions to inner-city youth through her educational, workplace, and advocacy services.
Bivins-Talley holds a bachelor’s degree in social work and a master’s degree in career and technical education from Buffalo State College, and she obtained National Peer Program Professional Certification in May 2022.
A native of Niagara Falls, Bivins-Talley is married to Roger Talley. She has four children and six grandchildren.