6 United Ways merge to become ‘United Way of Greater Rochester and the Finger Lakes’


ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Six United Ways announced on Monday their merger to become, ‘United Way of Greater Rochester and the Finger Lakes’, serving the counties of Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Wayne, and Wyoming.

Organizers say all community impact fund partner agencies will receive full funding to pre-pandemic levels. A total of $12.9 million will be invested in 190 programs region-wide starting in August.

In addition a $125,000 grant in new allocations is announced to expand the project Uplift Innovation Grants to nonprofits in surrounding five counties.

“This grant of innovation supports direct intervention for community members experiencing barriers to well-being and economic stability,” said President and CEO Jamie Saunders. “This marks the first of many multi-county funding initiatives we anticipate rolling out across the region in the coming years.”

“Non-profit agencies will have access to the full breath of services and support along with experience and insight from United Way team members who live and serve throughout the region. In other words, no matter where you are your United Way will remain local and offer increased opportunities to make a difference in your communities,” she said.

More funds, more resources and more volunteers for organizations like the Boys and Girls Club in Geneva.

As a rural nonprofit, Director Chris Lavin says often times they feel overlooked due to their small population. But they need help too.

“In a lot of ways Geneva is a small Rochester, it has all the same problems, all the same facets and needs, so having a unified United Way that understands all needs; rural, urban, suburban.”

This money will be especially helpful after a year of fundraisers set aside due to the pandemic, Lavin says.

“We do a lot of things, we aren’t just an after school program, we served during the pandemic for example we served 420 hot meals a night for about 9 months, a few hundred thousand meals since the pandemic started,” said Lavin.

As for what to do with the funds, Lavin says he’s fully prepared to share his ideas.

“The proof is in the doing, I have to ask for good things with good ideas, and good outcomes.”

One of Lavin’s new ideas includes expanding resources and nutritional programs for families with children in the 0-3 age range.

In an effort to hear and learn from the community, over the coming months, United Way’s Community Impact team will conduct a listening tour with human service agencies across the six counties.

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