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ESL Awards $3.9 Million in Grants During Third Quarter of 2023 to Nonprofit Organizations in the Greater Rochester Region

The 82 grants will help support organizations that provide critical services and programs for individuals and families throughout the community.

Rochester, NY —In the third quarter of 2023, ESL awarded 82 grants for a total of $ 3.9 million to local organizations that provide critical services and programs to individuals and families.

“We achieve the greatest results as a community when we work together to meet the needs of organizations, individuals, and families throughout the Greater Rochester region,” said Ajamu Kitwana, vice president and director, community impact, ESL Federal Credit Union. “In partnership with these grantees, we are supporting programs and services that help our community thrive and prosper.”

The ESL Community Impact team reinvests in the community through philanthropic grants aligned with expanding individual opportunity through quality education and employment, building strong neighborhoods that are affordable and connected, and strengthening organizations. The team also works to share stories that highlight the organizations and people doing this important, benevolent work in the community.

“The ESL student emergency funding has been truly transformative for FLCC students facing financial hardship. The system we have set up allows students to discreetly apply for up to $1,000 for unexpected financial grants, allowing them to remain focused and engaged with their primary goal of obtaining their degree,” said Interim Chief Advancement Officer, Acting Executive Director, FLCC Foundation, Brie Chupalio. “With the help of ESL, we have been able to impact our retention rates, giving students the boost they need to get back on track and stay enrolled. We are immensely grateful for the generosity and profound impact these efforts are having on the lives of FLCC students in need.”

Organization: Sheen Housing/Bishop Sheen Ecumenical Housing Foundation Inc
Project Title: Making a Big Impact on Family Stability - $275,000
Sheen Housing provides safe, healthy homes for low-income households in greatest need that lack access to resources. With this funding, Sheen Housing will undertake a comprehensive program that makes safety and functional home repairs and/or home modifications to meet the needs of 42 meager means households. Among many benefits, this program will help eliminate environmental health and safety hazards found in the homes.

Organization: The Center for Youth Services
Project Title: RCSD Family Engagement $242,000
To engage with parents and families and to help meet the needs of this community, funding will be used to provide stipends, gift cards for food, children's activities, and for other family engagement opportunities to inform programmatic and organizational practices of the Rochester City School District.

These events and engagement opportunities will elevate student voices and ensure parents and families are informed and involved as key stakeholders in the Rochester City School District. This will also afford community members the time to contribute and inform the needs of the Rochester City School District and create more opportunities to support their students' academic and social-emotional needs to further create an inclusive and trusting environment for student success.

Organization: Urban League of Rochester NY, Inc.
Project Title: Black Scholars Program $111,700
Funding will support the growth and sustainability of the Black Scholars Program while enhancing the program’s technology by developing a secure and user-friendly mobile application for Apple and Android mobile devices.

The Black Scholars program was established in 1980 with the aim of promoting academic excellence among Black high school students in the Rochester area. Since then, it has expanded to encompass Rochester and the six surrounding counties. The program grants scholarships through partnerships with Black-owned businesses, local colleges, and corporate organizations.

Organization: The Center for Teen Empowerment
Project Title: Organizing Youth Stakeholders for Neighborhood Well-being - $100,000
Funding will support the Neighborhood Stakeholder Action Research Activities program where youth decide what constitutes violence, the targeted age range, and the neighborhoods that define the communities they wish to impact. The activities include youth identifying and promoting safe places to go in their neighborhoods and gathering community input.

The Center for Teen Empowerment employs neighborhood youth to identify and strategize around the community’s most pressing issues. Each year, youth organizers and their peers identify issues in their neighborhood and plan their work for the year based on those “impact areas.” For the past few years, youth violence and “safer communities” have returned as top priorities.

Organization: Finger Lakes Community College
Project Title: FLCC Student Emergency Services Grant $100,000
Funding will help provide students with the opportunity to obtain their degree and earn a livable wage in the community. Students can apply for financial support that includes funding for car registration, gas cards, bus passes, rent and utility payments, food, childcare, or medical treatment. Emergency aid to FLCC students in need will help struggling students stay enrolled, develop new scholarships that save time and money, and provide support for institutional initiatives.

Organization: The Geneva Family YMCA
Project Title: Geneva YMCA "Building What Matters" Capital Improvement Project - $75,000
Funding will support a new renovation project that will provide 9,600 square feet of new programming space that will house updated fitness equipment, a new fitness studio, new chronic disease prevention and recovery programming space, more than 2,800 square feet of new childcare programming space, social gathering spaces for seniors, teens, adults and families, and an innovations lab geared toward technologically minded middle school students. Existing spaces (gymnasium, welcome center, pool area, and locker room facilities) will be repaired and/or renovated for better functioning and safety.

Organization: Wood Library Association
Project Title: The Reading Garden at Wood Library $10,000
Wood Library will transform an unused outdoor space on library property into a public garden and outdoor programming space that can be enjoyed and used by everyone. The garden will allow for expansion and enhancement of library programs for children and adults and lead to new community partnerships, add value to the community, and contribute to better health outcomes for residents and visitors.

About ESL Federal Credit Union

With more than 100 years of locally owned history, ESL Federal Credit Union serves as a full-service financial institution to more than 411,000 members and 16,000 businesses. Founded in 1920, the company provides personal banking, business banking, mortgage services, and wealth management services through its locally based 24-branch network; telephone, mobile and online banking; and live chat center.

The Rochester-based financial institution employs approximately 900 people in the Greater Rochester area and holds more than $9 billion in assets. Since 1996, ESL has paid out 28 consecutive Owners’ Dividends to its members totaling more than $265 million. Since the creation of its Community Impact initiative in 2018, ESL has reinvested more than $100 million in grants throughout the community. The company has appeared on Great Place to Work® lists since 2010. ESL Federal Credit Union is headquartered at 225 Chestnut Street, in Rochester, and can be found online at

For more information, contact:

Rich Pulvino, APR
VP/Director, Marketing