Two organizations to share $100,000 Community Foundation grant

The Rochester Area Community Foundation is providing two $50,000 grants to two Black, Indigenous and Other People of Color-led organizations for social innovation projects that seek to make positive and meaningful change in the communities they serve.

The Father Laurence Tracy Advocacy Center will receive one of the grants for its Outreach Zone Program in Northeast Rochester, while Hope Initiatives CDC Inc. will receive the other grant for its HOPE Works project.

The social innovation grant offered up to $100,000 for the chosen project. The goal was to draw various proposals that would bring residents and communities together to solve issues that address academic achievement, racial equity or poverty.

Projects could be new or expansions of already successful programs. Collaboration with other groups was essential. This competitive grant opportunity drew 25 applications from nonprofits or community groups that collectively requested $2.8 million.

“Social innovations are focused on tackling community needs in ways that veer from typical, existing solutions, many of which were born out of systemic injustice. We wanted to invest in out-of-the-box thinking by nonprofits to solve problems they see every day in their work,” said Maya Crane, program officer for equity at the Community Foundation.

All of the applications were reviewed by a panel of community members from various organizations and businesses. The six proposals that received the top scores were discussed by the entire panel and then ranked based on how well they met the funding requirements and the potential for impact. In the end, the two projects were chosen to split the available funding from the Foundation’s Racial Equity Growth Fund.

The Father Tracy Advocacy Center plans to expand its on-the-street outreach efforts in the North Clinton Avenue neighborhood where it is located.

“We are grateful for Rochester Area Community Foundation’s reinvestment in neighborhoods. We look forward to using these funds to improve the quality of life for the residents of the La Avenida community,” said Rudy Rivera, CEO of the center named for a beloved Catholic priest who served the Latino community in the neighborhood for several decades.

With its grant, Hope Initiatives will enhance its Job Readiness and Retention program to proactively help men and women returning to the community after time in jail.

“I know that in the Black and Brown communities it’s tough sometimes for recent inmates to find housing, jobs and the right skillsets to be productive. I think it is really important that within the first 30 to 60 days they have the right resources so they don’t end up going back to jail or prison because of the struggles to figure out life as we know it,” said Tashanda Thomas, a member of the community review panel and chief human resources officer at WXXI Public Broadcasting System.

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Coalition formed to help strengthen North Clinton neighborhood

Three area nonprofits have partnered in an effort to strengthen and clean up the North Clinton neighborhood.

The Father Laurence (Larry) Tracy Advocacy Center, Ibero-American Action League and Trillium Health have formed C.A.R.E. Rochester, which stands for Community, Action, Resources and Education. The partnership was established in consultation with the North Clinton neighborhood block clubs, Rochester City Councilmember Michael Patterson, County Legislator Vince Felder and others in the community.

Trillium Health has hired two full-time employees who will be dedicated to cleaning up used syringes in the North Clinton neighborhood. Residents will be able to see where cleanups are schedule and can suggest locations that need attention at the partnership’s website. The website is offered in English and Spanish and the C.A.R.E. team will respond to inquiries within a day or two.

“Ibero looks forward to co-creating a new vision for this neighborhood with all our partners, one of investment and opportunity,” said Angelica Perez-Delgado, president and CEO of Ibero-American Action League. “I am proud that this collaboration has honored and lifted the voice of a once victimized neighborhood.”

The C.A.R.E. partnership was established earlier this year and represents months of work to strengthen the North Clinton neighborhood. It comes amid excitement for the opening of La Marketa International Plaza, which is planned for later this fall, and the groundbreaking for new housing in the El Camino neighborhood.

“¡No Más! Change has arrived; we will not go back. ¡No Más!” said Rudy Rivera, executive director of the Father Laurence (Larry) Tracy Advocacy Center.

Another neighborhood initiative, Project HOPE, recently was a catalyst for Rochester receiving the distinction as a 2020 “All-America City,” officials noted.

“Trillium Health has been fighting the opioid epidemic since 1994, and the HIV epidemic since we first opened our doors to the community in the 1980s,” said Trillium President and CEO Andrea DeMeo. “We are so proud to work with the Father Laurence (Larry) Tracy Advocacy Center, Ibero-America Action League, Rochester City Council and the residents of the North Clinton neighborhood to help ensure the revitalization of a vibrant community rooted in rich history and culture.”

Trillium is a Federally Qualified Health Center whose mission is to promote health equity by providing affordable primary and specialty health care to all. The agency serves the nine-county Rochester region.

“Getting to this point of collaboration hasn’t always been easy. We all have felt the frustration and as residents, it’s sometimes easier just to give up,” said Ida Perez, chair of the Scrantom Street Block Club. “Yet the persistence in all of us has helped us find our common goal, which is the improvement of quality of life for all involved. Today we are working together towards that common goal.”

The Father Tracy Advocacy Center is an advocate for the community of North Clinton Avenue and helps residents access addiction treatment and offers other supports.

Ibero-American Action League was established in 1968 and is a dual-language human services agency that serves individuals and families of all ethnic backgrounds through educational programs, health and social support and more.

[email protected] / 585-653-4021
Follow Velvet Spicer on Twitter: @Velvet_Spicer