ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Some of the most hurt by the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis are non-for-profits in Rochester.
Inspired by the partnership between United Way of Greater Rochester and the Rochester Area Community foundation, News 8 is producing a series of stories showing what a different non-profit does, how the crisis affects them, and how people can help.
The United Way has launched the “Community Crisis Fund,” to allow rapid deployment of resources to help non-profits impacted by the virus outbreak.
Rochester Museum and Science Center — which has been in Rochester for over 100 years — is doing their best to uphold their mission by providing as many online learning and discovery resources online as possible.
The museum started as a community museum, and it still over a million collection pieces.
They’re providing weekly Planetarium shows in addition to special content every day on their Youtube channel:
We spoke with Allison Shultes, the Director of the Education Department.
What do you do?
Our mission is to inspire curiosity in our community through sciences, and participation in the natural world.
We’re where the community looks in these special times, and communicating all the really cool things that happen around us, from space, to the nature center, to the hands-on inquiry-based exploration that we do in the museum.
What makes RMSC so special and so unique is we tell the science and the history of over community. Rochester is a really fascinating place:
We’re close to the Great Lakes, we have a really interesting geological history, and we have a powerful social and cultural history.
We try to inspire the next generation, and we’re open to life-long learners.
Whether it’s an online video or anything else, if it sparks that moment of wanting to know more… There’s always something that makes you wonder. I think this has been a really special time when people can slow down and observe the world, around them, and maybe start asking those questions more.
Maybe you don’t find the answer, you still asked the question.
How has the crisis affected you?
Looking at this crisis, it’s hard to be prepared for, and it ‘s hard to know what you need to change.
Our doors are closed to the public right now, which means the public can’t come and learn from us, but that also means that we can’t go out into the community through our outreach efforts, we means we can’t share our educational programs.
It’s pushed our educational content online. Our website is full of information form pages about our exhibits, to our traveling exhibits.
Even though our doors are closed, we’re “still open for curiosity.” We want to support people in their curiosity through “Open for Curiosity.” I’m reading from my children’s books, there’s the Planetarium stuff, kitchen chemistry…
We’re having our team meetings online, but the work we do is so connected with people. We work in a community, and we have so many partners and friends out there, and we’re missing seeing them face to face.
What can people do to help?
We do receive funding from the county, but most of our funding and support comes from the community. The visitors that comes through the door keep our doors open, and keep up operating.
We also can apply for federal, state, and local grants, to support specific projects, or overall use.
We also have a community of donors who have taken initiative to give back to us because they believe in the mission. We’re so thankful for them.
We did start a COVID-19 emergency time. If you can’t donate now, visiting us when we come back is appreciated too.b