Area philanthropists to receive Community Foundation awards

Five hundred guests will help celebrate several area individuals and nonprofits Thursday at Rochester Area Community Foundation’s 2018 Philanthropy Awards and Annual Report to the Community Luncheon.

The event, to be held Sept. 20 at the Joseph A. Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center, honors local philanthropists who make a difference in the region.

Kathy Nixon
Kathy Nixon

“As a public charitable foundation, we feel it’s critical to be accountable and to report on our financial and programmatic work to the public every year,” RACF President Jennifer Leonard said.

In addition to its annual report to the community, the foundation this year also will release a more detailed biannual report. RACF said the assets it holds on behalf of the community have reached an all-time high of $492 million, up $48 million from last year. In four of the last five years, assets experienced double-digit increases, said RACF board member Elizabeth Thorley.

“The continued growth of these assets means that the Community Foundation can provide more grant support to effective programs and projects that nonprofit organizations offer to communities throughout the Greater Rochester-Finger Lakes region,” Thorley said.

Nearly 6,600 grants and scholarships totaling $29.4 million were awarded during the last fiscal year, the second highest in the foundation’s history.

Leonard said the luncheon is an opportunity for RACF to give philanthropy awards that recognize outstanding individuals, and in some cases organizations, that have made a difference in the community.

“The individuals and families are recognized for creative and effective giving that also inspires others. They typically have worked with us. And many of the people who work with us have philanthropic funds in the Community Foundation, which then also support the community,” Leonard said. “All of the people we’re recognizing are supporters of community philanthropy. Some are focused on children or the needs of women; others are broadly interested in a range of charitable organizations.”

Kathy Nixon, a former Community Foundation board chairwoman and retired executive director of the former Rundel Library Foundation, will receive the Joe U. Posner Founders Award. The award is named in memory of the organization’s founding chairman and recognizes an individual who has shown significant commitment to the foundation and its mission.

Bud and Peggy Frame
Bud and Peggy Frame

Nixon and her husband, Ted, in 1987 opened RACF’s Early Childhood Education Fund. The couple also opened the Fund for Self-Esteem, which supports projects that increase an individual’s self-worth.

Although retired from the Community Foundation’s board of directors, Nixon remains active in the organization and in the community.

Other 2018 Philanthropy Award recipients include:
• Bud and Peggy Frame and family—The Frame family has had a fund at RACF since 1991 and their endowed donor advised fund has been used to support projects in the community, particular the Harley School and the summerLEAP programs;
• Randy and Marion Henderson—The owners of Henderson Ford in 2010 set up the Henderson Family Legacy Fund to support education and address issues affecting families and the elderly. The Webster couple focuses their giving on youth and faith-based programs; and
• St. Joseph’s Neighborhood Center—The agency, founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph 25 years ago, has been awarded the Ames-Amzalak Award for Nonprofit Excellence, which comes with an unrestricted grant of $10,000. St. Joseph’s Neighborhood Center a few years ago took on the issue of structural racism and organized in-depth training and reflection over a two-year period that

Marion and Randy Henderson
Marion and Randy Henderson

involved 29 local agencies and more than 200 employees.

Each year since 1991, Philanthropy Award recipients have been recognized for their creative and effective giving that inspires others while strengthening the communities in eight counties in the Greater Rochester region. Known as the steward of charitable funds and endowments, the Community Foundation connects donors with the region’s current and evolving needs, with the goals of creating an equitable community and strengthening the region’s vitality.

Rochester City Council this week approved legislation to memorialize a portion of East Avenue from Alexander Street to Goodman Street as Joe U. Posner Way. The vote took place 46 years to the day that Posner founded the organization.

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Pilot program gives kids safe place to play

Kids from Treyer Street and Greeley Street took part in a new program to give children and families a safe place to be active and have fun. (photo provided)
Kids from Treyer Street and Greeley Street took part in a new program to give children and families a safe place to be active and have fun. (Photo provided)

Fewer than 15 percent of kids in Greater Rochester and the Finger Lakes are active an hour or more a day, the amount recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

So for the second consecutive summer, local organizations teamed to provide a space for children and families to play, contribute to children’s physical and social-emotional development and support community development.

Play Streets is a community-driven program that emphasizes the importance of play. The event was hosted by Healthi Kids Coalition and Ibero-American Development Corp., and was coordinated by FLRT Block Club and Beechwood Neighbors Association.

Residents at Treyer Street and Greeley Street hosted Play Streets throughout August. Both neighborhoods were shut down for a few hours a day and featured active games, dancing, art, summer meals, skateboarding demonstrations, playful sidewalk painting and more.

“One of the biggest obstacles Rochester children face when playing is safety hazards, whether it be from traffic, distracted drivers or other unsafe activities,” said Joe DiFiore of the Beechwood Neighborhood Coalition. “Thanks to the Healthi Kids Coalition and its amazing collaboration with city residents, we’re able to overcome these obstacles and give our kids the chance to get outside and play. To see these kids smile and have fun is all the proof we need to know we’re making a difference.”

A 2017 report from the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation and Rochester Area Community Foundation noted that interviews with neighbors have indicated that a lack of neighborhood and traffic safety are key barriers to play. Healthi Kids’ early studies on playability indicated that 97 percent of play spaces do not have traffic calming features such as speed bumps, traffic lights or signage.

“A lot still needs to happen here in Rochester to give our children access to safe play spaces, but if our work in the community has taught us anything, it’s that residents are ready to work together and make it happen,” said Dina Faticone, director of community health and engagement at Common Ground Health. “Because of the efforts of the FLRT Block Club and Beechwood Neighborhood Coalition, we are currently working alongside the City of Rochester to expand this Play Streets pilot across the city to ensure all kids have opportunities to play right in their own neighborhood.”

Funding for the Play Streets pilot was made possible by the Greater Rochester Health Foundation and the Wilson Foundation “El Camino Plays” grant.

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Youth recreation programs receive Rochester Area Community Foundation grants

action-active-athletes-264312Rochester Area Community Foundation will award nearly $330,000 in grants to 20 local youth sports and recreation programs from the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Legacy Fund for Youth Sports.

The grants range from $5,500 to $25,000 and support projects that will have a direct impact on more than 6,500 youth in Monroe, Ontario, Seneca and Wayne counties. RACF received 82 proposals, including 19 from outside Monroe County, and requested a combined total of more than $1.5 million.

“The amount of interest in this first grant round for youth sports was impressive,” RACF President and CEO Jennifer Leonard said in a news release. “We are honored to further Ralph Wilson’s love of sports by introducing new and improved opportunities to as many children as possible.”

The inaugural grants were made possible by the $5 million endowed fund established in 2016 by the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation at RACF. Beginning this year, the fund will provide annual and ongoing grants to support and strengthen the quality, quantity and accessibility of regional youth sports and recreation programs.

The nonprofits to receive funding for youth sports-related programs and projects are:

• AutismUp: $5,500; A “Youth Sports Series” will provide 60 youth with autism and related disabilities a chance to learn the language, rules and skills of a variety of sports (basketball, soccer, swimming) at their own pace and with individualized support. Coaches will be trained to support the unique learning and behavior needs of participants.
• Boys & Girls Clubs of Rochester Inc.: $24,850; The “Weekend Free Play Zone” program on Saturdays will provide youth the chance to participate in alternative sports and activities to that are oftentimes inaccessible due to fee-based restrictions. Activities will include dance instruction, golf lessons, bowling, fencing, tennis and others. The Genesee Street clubs also will allow non-members to access Saturday programming to encourage them to join.
• Center for Disability Rights: $15,356; Support for the Rochester Rookies, a wheelchair and ambulatory track and field sports program for disabled athletes (5 to 23 years old) that provides a customized approach focusing on each athlete’s interests.
• Coordinated Child Development Program Inc.: $7,698; A “Partnership for Play” program allows sharing of the CCDP school-age program in Canandaigua, Ontario County, and the Salvation Army school-age program less than a mile away. During 42 weeks of the school year, nine different sports will be offered at both locations to introduce sport sampling and free play to 68 children.
• EquiCenter Inc.: $24,500; The “Horseplay” program will provide a non-traditional recreation program to 117 youth ages 5-14 years old at the Mendon ranch, combining life lessons and skills using interactive play and learning with horses. This approach combines equine-assisted learning with the exploration of nature, along with structured and free play.
• Girl Scouts of Western NY Inc.: $25,000; Offers 550 girls the chance to experience and participate in archery and a ropes course, with certified instructors, during their time at Camp Piperwood in Perinton. Also includes archery and ropes training for Girl Scout leaders to address a shortage of trained instructors.
• HOPE Academy: $9,910; Based out of the City of Rochester’s Flint Street Recreation Center, this program will provide at least 10 scholarships for athletes ages 8 to 16 from low-income households in the city to participate in Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) basketball for 12 months, and cover the necessary expenses to participate.
• Ibero-American Development Corp.: $14,720; Providing play activities in the El Camino neighborhood, including six weeks of supervised play (three hours a day, five days each week) at Conkey Corner Park and pop-up play at several pre-identified streets and sites. A neighborhood survey will provide data on interests and utilization by area youth and families.
• NYSARC, Inc. Wayne County Chapter: $25,000; Based on the “Rec on the Move” model used by the City of Rochester’s Department of Recreation and Youth Services, the Free Activities and Sports Trailer Program (FAST) will be a trailer fully stocked with equipment to create an inclusive mobile sports and activities center to serve 2,400 high-needs youth, ages 7 to 15, across Wayne County. Recreation opportunities would include collaboration with 12 partner agencies.
• Pop Warner Little Scholars Inc.: $25,000; Refurbish 530 football helmets to increase youth safety for the Rochester Rams from Rochester’s School 33. Also includes coaching football certification costs and transportation for youth to games.
• ROC E6 Inc.: $8,975; In partnership with the Rochester Knighthawks and several other lacrosse groups, the community youth sports program will provide 200 youth ages 6-18 in the City of Rochester with the opportunity to play lacrosse through four different sessions throughout the year, while also providing mentoring and educational tools.
• Rochester Area Fencing Foundation Inc.: $25,000; The program, in collaboration with the Rochester Fencing Club, will provide 24 weeks of after-school fencing instruction to 40 students from Canandaigua Academy and Middle School during the 2018-19 school year. Also includes purchase of equipment and substantial discount for entry to two tournaments.
• ROCovery Fitness Inc.: $15,040; Provides addiction recovery support through development of a youth fitness program for 25 to 50 youth, ages 13 to 21, in collaboration with Villa of Hope. The activities will include hikes, bike riding, group running, basketball, soccer, baseball and yoga.
• St. John Bosco Schools: $14,749; Enhance the athletic program at the East Rochester-based Catholic school so that students can participate in Section Five sports and adults can receive coaching, first aid, CPR and injury prevention training. The project also includes the purchase of sports equipment and materials needed for competitive play.
• St. John Fisher College: $21,650; Introduce a “Teaching to Initiate Play” pilot program to empower youth to develop skills for engaging in independent play and for organizing team play with peers through the college’s summer basketball camp and in fifth- and sixth-grade physical education classes in the Gates Chili Central School district. Roughly 830 youth will participate. Scholarships will be provided for youth from low-income households to participate in the college’s summer program, including support for transportation.
• St. Paul’s Lutheran School: $20,000; Encourage sport sampling with opportunities for free play for 100 to 140 youth ages 4-14 in North Greece, Hilton and Hamlin areas in partnership with the local town recreation departments.
• Seneca Falls Development Corp.: $5,840; The “Team Active8 Youth Program” will provide a series of non-traditional sports, games and activities for up to 80 youth in third through fifth grades in Seneca Falls, Seneca County, over an eight-week span in Fall 2018 and again in Spring 2019. Activities will be overseen by the recreation and community center staff.
• Seneca Sailing Academy Inc.: $6,524; Supports 13 scholarships for youth sailing lessons on Seneca Lake, including transportation and lunch. Plan also includes launching a community outreach campaign to promote the opportunities.
• South East Area Coalition: $8,690; Work with Rochester neighborhood groups to paint playful sidewalks around two parks, which will act as a natural way to lead area youth to play spaces. At the park will be a toy library with balls, bases, Frisbees, jump ropes and other toys for youth and families to engage in play together.
• Village of Phelps: $25,000; Supports building a safe and innovative playground for 1,375 youth, ages 2 to 13, to experience free play by replacing the deteriorating and outdated playground equipment on the grounds of the community center and library.

RACF, collaborates with philanthropists and community partners to improve the quality of life for people who live in the eight-county Rochester/Finger Lakes region through its leadership and strategic grant-making. RACF has distributed more than $440 million in grants and scholarships since its founding in 1972.

The Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation is a grant-making organization dedicated primarily to sustained investment in the quality of life of the people of Southeast Michigan and Western New York. Prior to Ralph Wilson’s passing in 2014, he requested that a significant share of his estate be used to continue a lifelong generosity of spirit by funding the foundation.

The foundation has a grant-making capacity of $1.2 billion over a 20-year period.

“This first round of grants will be a game-changer for programs that do great work with small budgets,” said Simeon Banister, interim vice president of community programs at the Community Foundation. “We expect to distribute more than $400,000 next year with hopes that more programs will be offered, more youth will be able to participate and that the benefits of training coaches will pay off.”

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