In just a few years, 540WMain Communiversity has become one of the city’s leading contributors to discussing social justice issues and how they affect the Rochester region.
Founder Calvin Eaton opened the nonprofit “communiversity” at 540 W. Main St., in the Susan B. Anthony Preservation District, in May 2016 and has worked to expand its offerings since then.
The flagship location offers classes and programs focused on antiracism, diversity and inclusion; historic preservation; workforce development; and sustainability.
The organization’s goal is to create a safe, accessible and inclusive place for minorities and other people in marginalized communities.
540WMain also operates the Douglass Auditorium at 36 King St., an 80-person auditorium, theater and event space.
This year 540WMain teamed up with The Yards Collective for a satellite location called 540 at The Yards, which offers low-cost, single-session classes in the arts and wellness at the Rochester Public Market.
This summer, 540WMain received a Green Cities Grant of $15,000 via the Rochester Area Community Foundation that will provide funding for The Nutrition & Teaching Community Courtyard Garden, which will be located in the courtyard at 540 W. Main St.
This new space will allow 540WMain to hold classes outside as well as inside; curate year-round programs centered on urban sustainability, food preservation and more; work with teens and youth to plant raised beds filled with produce as part of the Seneca Park Zoo’s Urban Ecology Program; cultivate a Pollinator Garden in conjunction with Seneca Park Zoo; and more.