ESL Charitable Foundation provides $5M grant to United Way of Greater Rochester


ESL FCU’s foundation, the ESL Charitable Foundation, is providing an innovative $5 million grant to United Way of Greater Rochester to support community members in addressing barriers related to poverty and improving quality of life. This new Innovation Grant will offer immediate, direct, consumer-driven interventions and support that will be implemented now through the end of July 2020.

The grant will be separated into two categories: launching Project Uplift and enhancing the Housing Stability initiative with United Way and its current program partners.

Four million dollars will be directed toward Project Uplift to support and administer direct, discretionary interventions for community members in Monroe County experiencing barriers to well-being and economic stability, including but not limited to help with car repairs, school and childcare expenses, medical bills, and other needed support.

One million dollars will be used to enhance a current, successful Housing Stability initiative that directly supports community members with housing needs, such as lease down payments, rent assistance, foreclosure prevention and more. Approximately half of this grant will be deployed throughout Monroe County, with the additional half implemented through regional United Way partners in Genesee, Livingston, Ontario, Orleans and Wayne counties.

“ESL is supporting United Way’s initiative of empowering people to be their own best advocates for what they need to thrive,” said Jaime Saunders, president & CEO of United Way of Greater Rochester. “We are proud to partner with ESL and our current Community Impact Fund program providers to bring this needed support directly to individuals throughout our region. Together we believe in listening to those we serve, and addressing needs using innovative strategies with longstanding partners.”

All funds will be administered through United Way’s current network of program partners and subsequently provided directly to point-of-payment based on clients’ identified need. Clients must ensure documentation is provided to the appropriate program partner.

Learning and listening is a key element of the project. Participating community partner organizations will track what individuals choose as the most important priorities for themselves. This information will ultimately help inform future strategies to ensure that local people have the tools and resources they need to thrive.

“We at ESL believe that what impacts the community affects all of us,” said Faheem Masood, president & CEO of ESL FCU. “United Way of Greater Rochester has proven time and again to be an outstanding steward and distributor of funds for our community because of the high-quality network of partners it has built. With this new Innovation Grant, we will not only help lift up many in our community, but will also provide vital learnings that will help in developing future initiatives.”

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