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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