NeighborGood Grants Program

Promoting strong and stable neighborhoods has been a longtime commitment of the Community Foundation.

In 1993, when former Rochester City Council President Ruth H. Scott was asked by a group of friends and supporters how to earmark proceeds from an honorary luncheon, she said to “send some to the Rochester Area Foundation for neighborhoods.” (Scott later served on the Foundation’s board of directors and was its first African American chair.)

The NeighborGood Fund was established with that first gift of $1,012 made in Scott’s honor. Soon after, individuals and families with funds at the Foundation made contributions to the new fund to help focus on rebuilding City of Rochester neighborhoods, promoting resident action on local issues, and engaging neighbors with neighbors.

At the time, the NeighborGood Grant program reflected a growing theory in community development — to build on the strengths or assets of individuals and neighborhoods. Rebuilding and maintaining a neighborhood could best be done by those who stand to gain the most: the residents.

Since awarding its first grants in 1998, the NeighborGood Grant program has distributed 600-plus grants totaling more than $800,000 to help stabilize and strengthen city neighborhoods.

The grants, which range from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars, have leveraged an enormous amount of volunteer effort as well as help from neighborhood businesses, schools, churches, and other organizations.

Over the years, the grants have supported community newsletters and signs, street festivals, t-shirts, porch decorating contests, beautification efforts, gardens, murals, welcome baskets, and more.

Grants are awarded every other year in city neighborhoods — those on the East side of the Genesee River in years ending with an odd number (1, 3, 5, 7, 9) and to West side groups in years ending with even numbers (0, 2, 4, 6, 8).

The grant process is overseen by an advisory committee. The current members are:

  • Barbara J. Jones
  • Daisy Rivera Algarin
  • Elizabeth Thorley
  • Joan M. Roby-Davison
  • Richard A. Schwartz

For more information on the NeighborGood Grants program and when to apply, click here.

A Companion Program

NeighborGood Design is offered by integrated creative company Partners + Napier to support small business owners of color operating in the Rochester area. This free service, offered on a first come, first served basis, is a best fit for small business owners currently in operation with an existing brand identity and marketing properties (e.g., logo, website, social channels) or entrepreneurs with a complete business plan and clear direction on their vision for the brand.

To get more details, email