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African Americans, Race / Ethnicity, Poverty

Funding Opportunity

African American Giving Initiative


The focus of the African American Giving Initiative is to build on the assets and address the challenges experienced most strongly within the African American community. Through its annual grantmaking, the Giving Initiative supports projects and programs that positively impact or directly reduce an identified disparity in the African American community and lead to systemic change. Collaboration with partners and/or the ability to replicate program achievements are also key components of a successful application. 

Typical Grant Size

Each year, the Giving Initiative members will determine how many grants and the size of the grants awarded based on the number and quality of the applications. Only grant proposals of $2,500 or more will be considered.

Here is a history of grants awarded:

2018: Three grants totaling $10,000 were awarded to support:

  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Rochester: Supports the "Beyond School Walls" mentoring program that targets 70 at-risk Rochester youth ages 6 to 18, involves African American mentors, and one-on-one sessions to take place at the mentors' places of work. $5,000
  • Quad A for Kids: To strengthen the successful after-school programs offered at four city schools by focusing on academic, project-based learning, leadership development, and community service. $2,500
  • Wilson Alliance: Supports the Rochester City School District Wilson Pearls step team's college prep program that serves high school girls ages 14 to 20 four days a week and provides workshops, tutoring, team building, and community service. $2,500


Three grants totaling $7,100 were awarded to support:

  • Gateways Music Festival 2017: Professional musicians of African descent from across the nation come to Rochester to perform and, in conjunction with local volunteer supporters, change the face of classical music. $2,500
  • Cameron Community Ministries: Supports the Respect & Responsibility for Boys Group, a special weekly component of its youth program. $2,100
  • University of Rochester: For a two-year, paid youth apprenticeship program that will provide hands-on work experience for under-represented junior and senior high school students in Rochester with an expressed interest in healthcare. $2,500

2016: The Judicial Process Commission received a $5,000 grant to assist African American ex-offenders as they re-enter the community by providing a mentor and job training opportunities.

2015: Three grants of $3,333.34 each were awarded to support:

  • Cameron Community Ministries: Strengthen the after-school program for 40 youth in the Lyell-Otis neighborhood.
  • Gateways Music Festival: This biennial festival, held in Rochester since 1995, celebrates the contributions of classical instrumentalists of African descent.
  • Group 14621 Community Association: Supports the Conkey Cruisers bicycling program that is changing the negative perception of exercise in that neighborhood.

2014: Group 14621 Community Association received $2,500 to support the Conkey Cruisers bicycling program.

2013: Gateways Music Festival received $5,200, the first-ever grant fro

Eligibility Criteria

Organizations in Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, Wayne, and Yates counties with 501(c)(3) status that are actively working to reduce disparities that affect the African American community. Consideration also be given to initiatives that receive fiscal sponsorship from a 501(c)(3) organization.

Application Due Date(s)

The most recent deadline was April 12, 2019. Future opportunities will be announced in our quarterly e-newsletter, Grant Opportunities. (Click to subscribe.)


Note: The Rochester Area Community Foundation has moved to a new online grant system in June, 2018. First time users to the new online portal will need to register their organization's information to create an account before applying. See the tutorial video on the login screen for registration tips. For additional assistance, contact a Program Administrator at the email listed below.


Simeon Banister
Rochester Area Community Foundation
500 East Avenue
Rochester, NY 14607

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PHONE 585.271.4100 | FAX 585.271.4292 |
500 East Avenue, Rochester, NY 14607

PHONE 585.271.4100 | FAX 585.271.4292 |
500 East Avenue, Rochester, NY 14607


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