Change Agents for Racial Equity

Across the country, concentrated poverty, gaps in educational achievement and opportunity, and disparities in health are bound in decades of structural racism. The Rochester region has experienced more than its share of trauma from harmful policies — like punitive law enforcement and redlining — that put Black and Brown lives and livelihoods at risk.

Black Lives Matter demonstrator in Rochester. Photo by Cocoa Rae David

When America’s racial justice movement surged in 2020, the Community Foundation committed to new ways to listen, learn, and act. From this endeavor came funding for our first two Social Innovation Grants of $50,000 each for projects that create change in nontraditional ways. This grant opportunity drew proposals from 25 nonprofits and community groups requesting a total of $2.8 million — a strong sign that a huge need remains unmet.

If you agree that our future depends on the ability of people of all races and ethnicities to realize their fullest potential, we are committed to standing with you in the fight for racial justice. Here are some meaningful ways to take charge of change.

The Foundation’s Racial Equity and Social Justice Fund allows us to use our expertise to fund the organizations, people, and projects that will have the greatest impact on racial equity across our region. Because the fund is endowed, contributors can be assured their donations will have impact today and in the future.

Your gift doubled! To encourage more donations to this fund, Judy and Erik von Bucher will match gifts up to a total of $25,000 for endowment to support future grantmaking and $25,000 for current use.

Hear from Judy von Bucher.

If you want to learn more about setting up your own fund to support racial equity, click here.

Here are some key grants and initiatives from our recent work in racial equity that would benefit from your direct support:

  • Commission on Racial and Structural Equity (RASE): The purpose of this collaborative effort is to examine local laws and recommend new policies to dismantle systemic inequities. The RASE Report has prompted the City of Rochester to respond with an implementation plan and Monroe County to address the report’s findings.
  • Global Citizenship Conference at Nazareth: We provide ongoing support for this annual event, designed to give high school students tools to respond to intolerance and improve religious literacy.
  • Greyston: A $75,000 grant in 2020 helped create the Greyston Center for Open Hiring of Rochester. The Open Hiring model provides employment opportunities to people ready, willing, and able to work without requiring background checks, resumes, or interviews.
  • North Star Coalition: This collaboration exists to promote inclusive recovery in the wake of the pandemic, harnessing the opportunity of the federal stimulus to make sure that historically marginalized people share in economic prosperity.

Connect with us on social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter) for news that will inform and inspire you. You’ll learn about our region’s pressing issues and the power of community-driven philanthropy to tackle them.

You can also sign up for our e-news and invitations. We host a range of virtual and in-person events, from webinars on racial and environmental justice to our annual celebration of philanthropy.

We’d love to start a conversation about turning your vision into real-world change. Email us at giving@racf.org.