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United Way campaign tops $35 million

For all of the harm caused in 2020, one bright spot emerged rather quickly: the desire for people to help each other. The United Way of Greater Rochester Inc.’s 2020 campaign to support the building blocks of a thriving community that include health, education and economic mobility raised $35.1 million.

“No one could have ever anticipated the events of 2020. Yet our community did what our community does best. It came together once again to support the great work of our United Way. I am proud of our accomplishments and grateful to be a part of such a generous community,” said Julie Camardo, CEO of Zweigle’s and United Way’s 2020 campaign chair.

The focus on health education and economic mobility became even more critical last year when COVID-19 devastated local nonprofits and the people they serve.

The impact of the yearlong effort and contributions includes $16.5 million through the six-county region’s annual campaign, $6.9 million through the Community Crisis Fund and $11.7 million through community grants, ROC the Day and community initiatives.

United Way on Tuesday said its 2021 campaign, which will be led by LeChase Construction Services LLC CEO Bill Goodrich, will focus on constructing a promising future by building on each other’s strengths. United Way is asking people and organizations to collectively work together to refocus and rebuild.

“I know the year ahead will be a difficult one for many local nonprofits and businesses in our region. But I also know we have the ability to unite for the greater good of our community as I have seen it happen time and again,” Goodrich said.

For the 2021 campaign, all new and increased donations to United Way’s Community Impact Fund will be matched, dollar for dollar, up to $450,000 by LeChase Construction, M&T Bank, Five Star Bank, ESL Federal Credit Union and O’Connell Electric.

Community members can donate through workplace campaigns or online at

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

United Way launches 2020 campaign

United Way of Greater Rochester Inc. has launched its 2020 campaign, with Zweigles Inc. CEO Julie Camardo announced as campaign chair.

“I am thrilled to lead the United Way Mission 2020 campaign,” Camardo said. “We are celebrating 140 years in the Rochester community, 23 of which we have run a United Way campaign. I am excited to work with other local businesses to help propel United Way and our community into the future.”

The 2019 campaign, chaired by the Gallina Family—Andy, Karen, Lauren, Rob and Evan—asked for community members and businesses to come together to give generously for those who need support in Rochester. The campaign—which received contributions from more than 53,000 people—raised more than $34 million, including:

• More than $14 million in employee giving from 1,400 companies in Monroe County and six surrounding regions;
• $1 million in special events;
• $4 million in corporate and foundation giving;
• $2 million in regional county support;
• Nearly $2 million in individual giving; and
• More than $9 million from community grants, ROC the Day and other initiatives

The 2020 campaign is about launching the Rochester community into a brighter future. The United Way also recently launched a new community investment strategy and has updated its impact areas to focus on health, education and economic mobility, the three basic building blocks necessary for an individual, family and community to thrive.

United Way is asking Rochesterians to join in collective giving to build a stronger, greater Rochester for all, officials said. ESL Federal Credit Union will match all new and increased Community Impact Fund donations, up to $500,000. This is the third year of the challenge grant.

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

State assists in Zweigle’s expansion plan

Zweigle’s, Rochester’s homegrown meat manufacturer, plans to build a 29,000 square-foot expansion and create 33 new job after gaining state support of about $1 million in tax breaks and outright grants. 

The expansion, due to be completed in late 2022, will cost approximately $18.8 million in total and is expected to also receive assistance from the City of Rochester, Monroe County, and Greater Rochester Enterprise. 

“This expansion is an integral part of our strategic plans and will continue to support the growth we’ve been experiencing over the last five years,” said Zweigle’s CEO Julie Camardo. “We’re proud to not only keep our facilities in Rochester, but also to aid the poverty initiative by adding new employment opportunities for our neighbors here in the city,” A portion of the state assistance will be directed to hiring 12 people in poverty. 

“The support we’ve received from the state, county, and city will help us expand our new product offerings, like Mama Camardo’s meatballs, experiment with exciting food trends like meatless meat options, and continue to produce quality, local products as we have been doing for the last 139 years,” Camardo said. 

Empire State Development announced on Monday that it would support expansion of the Plymouth Avenue facility, helping the company meet the growing demand outside of New York for private-label and co-packing business. The company’s products include chicken sausage. classic sausage, deli meats, grilled chicken, meatballs and natural casing and skinless hot dogs.

 “Thanks to state investment, this family-owned business will ramp up operations in Rochester, continue to create jobs and opportunity for the most vulnerable in society, and strengthen the regional economy,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul.

Zweigle’s was established in 1880, and is now being run by the founder’s great-great granddaughter. The expansion will involve acquiring property, demolishing buildings, making renovations, new construction and buying machinery and equipment.  

“Zweigle’s is an incredibly important part of Rochester’s rich history and its future,” said Robert Duffy, president and CEO of the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce and co-chair of the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council. “An exciting component of today’s announcement is that the company, one of the city’s oldest employers, has committed to hiring people impacted by poverty-something that truly is at the heart of the regionally designed Finger Lakes Forward (Upstate Revitalization Initiative) strategic plan.”

[email protected]/ (585) 363-7275