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ESL Charitable Foundation

Our History

Established in 2002, the ESL Charitable Foundation (Foundation) can trace its roots back to 1920, when George Eastman founded Eastman Savings & Loan, now ESL Federal Credit Union. Eastman believed the best way his employees could invest in the future of their community was through home ownership. But he also believed that a community’s prosperity depends on the prosperity of its institutions as well as their contributions and goodwill. The establishment of the ESL Charitable Foundation is a direct outgrowth of this belief.

Our Mission

To be a catalyst for transformation of systems, organizations, and places that uplift the Greater Rochester area for all who live and work within it.

We hope to achieve this by supporting collaboration for community transformation. We will participate and invest in practicing a collective impact approach to addressing complex social challenges in our community.

Our Core Values

Like ESL Federal Credit Union, our core values are at the heart of everything we do — integrity, initiative, accountability, collaboration, and caring about people. We play a critical part in ESL’s commitment to deliver a superior experience to the Rochester community. These values inspire and guide our thoughts and actions every day.

What We Fund

Today, the Foundation supports not-for-profit organizations to help them be effective and deliver on best practice models of their work. The Foundation focuses on five areas of impact:

Expanding Individual Opportunity

We support programs and efforts to expand professional and educational opportunity for all residents of greater Rochester.

  • Education prepares students for college and careers.
  • Employment is attainable and assures self-sufficiency.

Building Strong Neighborhoods

We invest in neighborhoods across greater Rochester to ensure they are prosperous, well-connected, and inclusive.

  • Housing is affordable.
  • Connected Neighborhoods are prosperous, engaged, and linked.

Strengthening Organizations & Systems

Rochester has multiple organizations and initiatives already working together to create a healthy and resilient Rochester. We support these organizations and initiatives by investing in the necessary yet less visible systems, capacities, and policies that ensure they are successful.

  • Collaboration between organizations is strong and effective.
  • Data is accessible and shared.
  • Human Capital in the local nonprofit sector is world-class.

Lifting Up Stories

We share and learn from our work to continually improve our practices and celebrate successes in the Rochester region to inspire further action.

Community Basic Needs

(Ex. arts and culture infrastructure, community health, food security).

How to Apply

To apply for funding, please submit your application.

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Funding decisions will be made within 6 to 12 weeks after submission.

Contact Us

To learn more about the ESL Charitable Foundation, please call us at 585.339.4411 or email us at