Skip to main content

Interview with Board Member of The 100 Club of Buffalo: Jennifer O’Neill

By October 19, 2023News

Jennifer O’Neill

Q: What year did you become involved as a board member of the 100 Club and why did you decide to join?

A: I have been a member of the 100 Club of Buffalo for nearly 5 years. My father, aunt, and uncle were board members, and introduced me to the organization. After attending events and learning more about the mission of the 100 Club, I loved what they stood for and how they helped first responders in the Western New York community. I was compelled to join and serve as a board member.

Q: Could you share some specific programs funded by the 100 Club of Buffalo that support WNY heroes and their families, as well as the impact of these programs on the community?

A: The 100 Club of Buffalo funds the Scholarship of Excellence program, which provides scholarships of up to $2,000 to high school seniors and full time college students who are the children of, or are themselves active law enforcement, fire or emergency service providers who plan to continue their education at a college level.

In addition, the 100 Club helps when there is a line of duty death, providing families with financial assistance as well as assistance for funeral arrangements and financial support for burial expenses. To learn more about The 100 Club of Buffalo line of duty death benefits, please click here

The 100 Club of Buffalo also makes donations to the Buffalo Police Explorers Board. The Buffalo Police Explorers is a sixteen-week program that runs between February and June. In this program, Buffalo Police Officers provide young people opportunities that promote leadership, confidence, self discipline, and community service all while developing an awareness of the purpose, mission and objectives of law enforcement and the Buffalo Police Department. To learn more about Buffalo Police Explorers, visit their website here.  

Q: In what other ways does the 100 Club of Buffalo provide assistance and support to first responder service providers in the Western New York (WNY) region?

A: The 100 Club helps provide legal assistance to first responders. Past President of The 100 Club of Buffalo, Arthur Musarra, is an attorney and currently serves as a board member for the club. He provides pro bono legal services on Public Safety Officers Benefits Act claims for first responders injured or killed in the line of duty.

Q: The annual Hero Awards Dinner is a significant event for the 100 Club of Buffalo. Why is the event important for WNY first responders and their families?

A: The 100 Club of Buffalo Hero Awards Dinner is a special event. This past year, the dinner was held at Samuel’s Grande Manor and it was a great turnout. The Buffalo Bills medical staff was honored, along with several outstanding first responders and civilians who exemplified bravery and a heroic act in the community. A special story shared was of a civilian, Jay Withey, who saved several lives of people stranded in the Buffalo Christmas Blizzard. Jay brought these individuals to a school nearby to seek warmth and shelter.

As a board member, I help with asking local police and fire stations to submit their hero award nomination stories. The board then reads through nominations and selects who we believe is deserving of an award.

Q: Shifting gears to your work – can you tell us about your professional life as an enrolled agent?

A: As an enrolled agent I help people who owe the IRS and the state. I work with them to come up with solutions to rectify the problem as well as help people manage their finances, so they do not find themselves in the same situation again in the future and work with them to keep them compliant. Lately, I have been doing a lot of work regarding the Employee Retention Credit and helping taxpayers to see if they qualify. I also work with distressed businesses to get them restructured and turned around.

Q: What is Buffalo FilmWorks and how did you get involved in the film industry?

A: Buffalo FilmWorks is a full-service film production sound-stage complex in Buffalo, NY. I started actively doing movies in 2018. We hosted our first movie in that summer by the name of Bashira. Since then, I have worked with my partners to rehab a former warehouse and turn it into a movie studio.

Source: Buffalo FilmWorks Facebook Page

As we ventured deeper into the film industry, filmmakers started to take notice of Buffalo as a viable location. The lower costs and the ease of navigating the area compared to the bustling landscape of Los Angeles was especially appealing to them. The positive feedback and interest in filming here made us realize there was a unique business opportunity to take advantage of.

So, we rolled up our sleeves and got to work, constructing movie sets and stages to accommodate filmmakers. Our first major project was assembling a 70-foot green screen. Then, the arrival of “A Quiet Place 2” in town propelled us to further expand our operations. Despite the slowdown caused by the pandemic and its restrictions, we utilized that time productively, channeling our efforts into building a tower used in the film.

We currently have two 20,000 sq ft stages, a 4,000sq ft stage, and a 80,000 sq ft stage. To learn more about BuffaloFilmWorks and their impressive film production facility, you can visit their website here.

Q: Can you provide more details on some of your responsibilities at Buffalo FilmWorks?

A: I handle the financial end of the business as well as the relationships with the production companies that come to town. I assist them in finding locations to shoot, arranging dinners and craft services to help them find houses to rent and hotel rooms for the talent when they come to town.

Q: If you have any spare time, what are some of your hobbies and interests?

A: In my free time, I enjoy getting dinner with my friends and traveling when I can. I also really enjoy Jet skiing and was able to get out on the water this October in Buffalo on an 80 degree day, which is pretty unheard of here!