BATAVIA – Fifty-two organizations from Genesee, Wyoming and Livingston counties will benefit from $400,000 in impact grants from the United Way of Greater Rochester and the Finger Lakes.
“This includes more than $100,000 for 19 summer camp and after-school programs, providing children and youth with a safe place to socialize and learn new skills in leadership, literacy, arts, job readiness and more. Plus, working parents can rest assured that their children are in a safe space…” United Way of Greater Rochester and Finger Lakes President and CEO Jaime Saunders told GLOW YMCA on Tuesday.
More than $50,000 is being donated to seven food pantries and meals-on-wheels, helping seniors eat well and ensuring families have enough food to put a balanced meal on the table.
“Additional grants help people with disabilities access vaccinations and other efforts to prevent domestic violence,” she said. “It’s local. It’s here. It’s meaningful.
In making the announcement, Saunders marked the one-year anniversary of the merger of six local United Way groups to form United Way of Greater Rochester and the Finger Lakes.
“We had a vision of the strength and power of a region to increase the impact on local communities. And yet, it was a difficult year,” she said. “With rising costs, many families in our area are struggling to put food on the table. There is a severe lack of affordable, quality housing and mental health issues, especially among our children, have increased dramatically.
Saunders said a recent survey in the area found four in 10 families have lost income during the pandemic and five in 10 families report a loss of academic learning for their children.
Five in 10 families are concerned about the mental health of at least one child in their household.
“Before the pandemic, we know that one in five of our neighbors had to access personal support services to make ends meet,” Saunders said.
Some businesses closed, some had layoffs and furloughs, and labor shortages. Despite the challenges employees may face, they have “digged deep” to support the community by organizing workplace campaigns, Saunders said.
“There are 97 workplace partners working with United Way in Genesee, Livingston and Wyoming (counties), paving the way for good in these difficult times,” she said.
The GLOW YMCA is one of the recipients of the impact grants, noted Greg Reed, district executive director of the GLOW YMCA.
“Our two main programs funded by this fund are our before and after school enrichment programs, also known as BASE, and our Liberty Center for Youth (in St. Anthony’s)…partnership with the city and also City Church. ,” he said.
Reed talked about BASE and what it does.
“We serve 10 school districts in Genesee and Livingston counties. For this next school year, we already plan to impact 166 families…” he said. “Our before and after school program also allows programs to operate for scholarships. One thing the Y is proud of is that we never refuse service due to an inability to pay. United Way funding really plays an insurmountable role in that regard.
Child care costs continue to rise, like everything else, Reed said.
“As minimum wage increases continue, we want to treat our workers well, because what their job is is not easy every day. There is a lot going on within families, and our staff are on the front line to provide stability and care for children in these situations,” he said. “Because of this, we are able to have low staff-to-child ratios. We can truly serve each child in their own way, provide academic support. »
The Liberty Center for Youth has been an incredible partnership for the Y, Reed said. He told the story of an anonymous young man and his family whom the program helped.
“John Doe… is also one of our daily participants. John’s involvement began at camp, with our camp now taking place, as well as our after-school programs. Once he got older, he started going to the Liberty Center for Youth,” Reed said.
His mother found the Y after escaping domestic abuse, changing her name, and starting a new life. John Doe’s mother, Jane, needed a childcare program so she could make ends meet by cleaning houses.
“Thanks to financial assistance, Jane (Doe) was able to pay for John’s child care at little cost to her and thanks to the Liberty Center and summer recreation, she no longer pays anything for that care,” said said Reed. “John has a learning disability, ADHD (Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) as well as an IEP (Individualized Educational Plan) through school. Daily life can be difficult without the right supports in We have been working with John for over a year now and see a world of difference with his social skills and also his group dynamics.
Canandaigua National Bank and Trust vice president and chief financial officer Vince Yacuzzo, a managing partner of the United Way 2022 campaign, said CNB was inspired to create a $500,000 challenge grant in six counties this year. CNB will match each new and increased donation to the Community Impact Fund, up to a maximum of $500,000.
“The campaign year isn’t over, so we’re looking to maximize that…” Yacuzzo said. “We would really like to provide that $500,000. It would be a huge success. The entire CNB team is extremely proud to make such an important investment in Centraide and in our region.