Grant from Chase Bank to Support Financial Capabilities

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NeighborWorks® Rochester is pleased to announce that they are the recipient of a $20,000 grant from Chase in support of its Financial Capabilities Program. The grant is part of the firm’s commitment to support innovative new products and services that leverage technology and insights from design and behavioral science to help consumers increase savings, improve credit and build assets. This investment will support NeighborWorks® Rochester in assisting low- and middle-income individuals within the Greater Rochester area, assisting them in improving their financial situations through structured education and strategic coaching. The program will help clients to increase savings account balances, improve credit scores and decrease debt load. Currently, more than 40% of NeighborWorks® Rochester’s clients are single female head of households.

“Through the use of improved technology, also funded by Chase, we’ve been able to identify those individuals who need coaching and have expressed the interest to succeed with their financial goals, but could use additional support in taking the next step toward changing their lives,” said Joanne Panarisi-Bottone, Executive Director of NeighborWorks® Rochester. “We’re extremely pleased to partner with Chase, utilizing an innovative approach to provide those in need with the tools and resources necessary for achieving personal financial success. In turn, this will also help to build strong neighborhoods in the Rochester community by providing educated, financially-stable, long-term homeowners.”

“The more we can do to increase the number of financially healthy people in our communities, the more we’ll see our communities thrive,” said Matthew Tipple, Market Executive, Middle Market Banking at JPMorgan Chase & Co. “We are proud to partner with NeighborWorks Rochester and support their essential work to help improve consumer financial health in Rochester.”

The support of community partners like Chase allows NeighborWorks® Rochester to continue to provide financial education services and more. Thank you to our friends at Chase Bank.

Celebration of Rochester Neighbors Winners!

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NeighborWorks® Rochester is thrilled to announce the winners of it’s Celebration of Rochester Neighbors Awards. The awards will be distributed on Monday,  June 6th from 5:00PM to 7:00PM at the Rochester Public Market. Like a city-wide block party, the event will feature live music, food and a chance to have fun with neighbors from throughout the city.

SouthWest Quadrant Community Champion 

Ms. Bessie Clifton, a founding member of the Cottage Street Block Club, is the Rochester Neighbors Community Champion Award winner for the Southwest Quadrant. Bessie Clifton croppedAt 88 years old, she remains an active advocate and participant in her neighborhood. Ms. Clifton has been a member of the Plymouth Exchange Neighborhood Association for 25 years and is also a member of the South Plymouth Avenue Business Association. In addition, she walks her neighborhood as a member of PAC-TAC and is often seen cleaning up litter on area streets. Two projects with which Ms. Clifton is closely involved are the Legacy Garden and the Legacy Park Station, sponsored by the Cottage St. Block Club. She helps plant and maintain the community garden that provides fresh vegetables for neighbors, and she provided input and historical information and continues to fundraise for the Legacy Park Station. On the “Street Voices” program on Rochester Free Radio 106.3 fm, Ms. Clifton provided listeners with more history and memories about life in Rochester. Described as resilient with a “youthful spirit,” she continues to inspire her southwest neighbors.

NorthEast Quadrant Community Champion

Vera Crumpler, organizer of the Citywide Youth Crusade, is the Rochester Neighbors Community Champion Award winner for the Northeast Quadrant. Carlos Santana of Action for a Better Community nominated Mrs. Crumpler calling her “a highly committed advocate for the less fortunate” in Rochester’s northeast through efforts that span nearly 50 years. She has tackled community issues of housing, injustice, public safety, employment and youth while sitting on the boards of various associations: Coalition of the North East Area (CONEA,) North East Block Club Alliance (NEBCA,) Sector 10, and North East Neighbors Association (NENA.) In addition, she gives her time to other local events when asked. Her 30-year involvement with the Citywide Youth Crusade includes organizing rallies in which public officials, police officers, clergy, lecturers and neighbors with positive messages are invited to speak. In an effort to keep the dialogue moving forward, Mrs. Crumpler continues to hold the events at her own expense and without compensation. Santana adds that Mrs. Crumpler displays “a caring, loving heart toward everybody she meets, without distinction,” treating everyone with respect and compassion regardless of age or ethnic background, making her a true role model and champion.

NorthWest Quadrant Community Champion

Described as a “quiet champion” for Charlotte, Pamela Postgate is the Rochester Neighbors Community Champion Award winner for the Northwest Quadrant. After moving to Stutson Street eight years ago, Ms. Postgate organized the Stutson Street Block Club and Charlotte Beach Clean-ups. Her most recent community project has been spearheading the Lakeside Farmers Market. Ms. Postgate organized the group of neighbors to put it together, then hosted meetings, sought out sponsors and vendors, and locally publicized it. After a successful first year in 2015, the market will open this month for a second year.

SouthEast Quadrant Community Champion

Aaron and Kelly Metras, winners of the Rochester Neighbors Community Champion Award for the Southeast Quadrant, are parents, entrepreneurs and community advocates. Their restaurants, Selena’s Mexican Restaurant and Nox Cocktail Lounge, are located in Village Gate Square. Aaron has served as the president of the Neighborhood of the Arts Business Association (NOTABA) for the past five years. According to the Southeast Quadrant Team, who nominated the couple for this award, they have volunteered much time and energy into building NOTABA into “one of the most successful and influential business associations in the City of Rochester.” Their popular Mexican restaurant, Selena’s, reaches out to causes beyond the southeast and sponsors the Monarch Butterfly Display at the Seneca Park Zoo, an important program to the growth and migration of monarch butterflies. Selena’s also sends a team to the annual Polar Bear Plunge which benefits the Special Olympics of Western New York. Last year the team raised $8,000. The latest project for the Metras is the Rochester Youth Culinary Experience, or RYCE. They are endeavoring to start a third restaurant, this one built around an immersion experience for youth interested in the restaurant business. Students will participate in all aspects of creating and operating a working restaurant with guidance from a management team. Their vision is to assist youth in acquiring skills and experience that will assist them in gaining employment or continuing their culinary education. The Southeast Quadrant Team notes that the couple is always “thinking outside of the box” for ways to move the neighborhood forward.

 

Community Leader Award

Ericka Jones, a Systems Advocate at the Center for Disability Rights, has been selected to receive the Community Leader Award for her work in improving accessibility. Ms. Jones has been instrumental in two city issues that have been vital to people with disabilities. As the leader of the Center’s Transportation Action Group (TAG,) she organized and empowered group members to contest the closing of several inner-city bus stops used by people with disabilities. She coordinated the campaign and utilized the media to voice concerns. The group’s efforts resulted in many of the stops remaining on the routes. Ms. Jones also worked on another issue important to all city dwellers: the amendment of a City of Rochester ordinance to keep the sidewalks clear during the winter. She attended neighborhood association meetings and organized a group of people with disabilities to make their voices heard at City Council meetings. The new ordinance passed, and city sidewalks will be more accessible for all residents during the winter from now on. She is an advocate in other areas, also, as a member of the Gay Alliance of the Genesee Valley and participant in the Rochester-Monroe County Anti-Poverty Initiative.  A group of 15 people with disabilities that she gathered participated in Rochester’s Clean Sweep program. Stephanie Woodward, Director of Advocacy at CDR, nominated Ms. Jones for this award, saying she has “inspired others to get involved,” that she sets an “incredible xample” for people with disabilities, and has motivated more people with disabilities “to become active and involved in our city.”

Celebration of Rochester Neighbors

LOGO RectangleCome join us as we celebrate the great people that make our neighborhoods strong, on Monday,  June 6th from 5:00PM to 7:00PM at the Rochester Public Market. The event is called Celebration of Rochester Neighbors and will recognize volunteers who are making a difference at the neighborhood level, as well as leaders in the Rochester community. Like a city-wide block party, the event will feature live music, food and a chance to have fun with neighbors from throughout the city.

Rochester is a great place to live because of the caring, invested people who live in it. We want to celebrate those individuals and the neighborhoods that make up our city and kick off NeighborWorks® Week here in Rochester.

Celebration of Rochester Neighbors is supported by contributions from JP Morgan Chase, First Niagara Bank, Lamar Advertising, Greater Rochester Association of Realtors, Your Care Health Plan and Northwest Bank. Participants include food trucks from Marty’s Meats, Hot Rosita’s and The Daily Refresher, with live music provided by the Bureau Cats. Neighborhood Association and Block Clubs will also be there to share what it is that makes their part of #ROC a great place to live.

Tickets are $10 each (children under 13 are free) and available at NeighborWorks® Rochester or online at https://celebrationofrocneighbors.eventbrite.com. All proceeds from the event will allow NeighborWorks® Rochester to continue to build strong neighborhoods by educating and counseling new homeowners, providing resources to homeowners turned away by traditional lenders, energy-savings programs and targeted neighborhood revitalization through the Healthy Blocks Neighborhood Initiative.

Ceremony to Kickoff Earth Day Celebration

11884952_465122370314642_1826571326288146815_oCollaboration Helps to Build Healthy Neighborhood 

NeighborWorks® Rochester is pleased to announce that, along with St. Mark’s and St. John’s Episcopal Church and Broccolo Tree and Lawn Care, a ribbon cutting ceremony to kick off Earth Day will be held at the Merchants Road Community Garden. The event will be held on Friday, April 22nd at 10:00AM at the Garden, also known as the Garden of E.D.E.N. II, 622 Merchants Road, Rochester, NY.

The garden is a project initiated and maintained by the St. Mark’s and St. John’s Episcopal Church community with support from FoodLink. Recently, NeighborWorks® Rochester secured a grant from the Rochester Area Community Foundation for the Merchants Road Community Garden for enhancements, including a shed and garden tools as part of their Healthy Blocks Neighborhood Initiative.

The garden is located within Rochester’s Triangle Neighborhood of North Winton Village. This community is the focus of the Healthy Blocks program, which seeks to stimulate changes that restore and sustain neighborhood pride and confidence by working together with residents, businesses, and landlords.

In addition, NeighborWorks® Rochester coordinated with the City of Rochester to remove and replace existing features like the entryway pillars, signs, and fencing. Broccolo Tree & Lawn Care has provided technical assistance and additional resources to create landscaping at the garden that promotes the plant and animal life while making the space more inviting.

Maureen Murphy, Executive Director of NeighborWorks® Rochester stated, “This garden is a perfect example of a cooperative effort of residents, merchants, businesses and the city to enhance a neighborhood that is in transition. The collaboration of all the parts will work to strengthen civic involvement, pride in the community and encourage reinvestment. We were especially thankful to St. Mark’s and St. John’s and Broccolo for partnering with us to make this garden a successful neighborhood project, which provides benefits beyond the growing season.“

“It was our pleasure to be involved with the Garden of E.D.E.N,” said Laurie Broccolo, President of Broccolo Tree and Lawn Care. “We want to help educate the community about growing food, including the plants that attract pollinators, which are necessary for success. Connecting people to nature is a personal passion and goal for me. Helping our community to enjoy the benefits of gardening and growing plants is near and dear to my heart.”

Last year, close to 850 pounds of produce was harvested from The Merchants Road Community Garden, with a portion of the harvest going to a local food bank. Local residents who volunteered received a $5 voucher each time they volunteered at the garden, to be used at any local farmer’s market.

 

Our Neighbor’s Story

Mary Lovejoy, Rochester
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In 2003 Mary Lovejoy decided it was time to realize her dream of becoming a homeowner. She came to NeighborWorks® Rochester to learn about the home buying process and to help her make good decisions in choosing where she and her daughter would make a lifetime of happy memories. Armed with information, she found a home in Rochester’s historic 19th Ward community that met her needs. Housing stock in the city of Rochester is an average of 73 years old, and Mary’s neighborhood is one of the oldest in the city. Unfortunately, Mary’s was one of those beautiful older homes where lead paint was used on the interior and exterior of the home. Studies have shown that children who are exposed to lead poisoning face serious problems such as decreased IQ levels; higher likelihood of learning disabilities, behavioral problems and/or juvenile delinquency and higher high school dropout rates.

By having gone through the NeighborWorks® Rochester home ownership program, Mary was aware that help was available for home repair to assist her and her young daughter. As part of the NeighborWorks® Rochester’s loan program, lead testing identified the issues. In addition to remediating the lead issues in her home, NeighborWorks® Rochester replaced siding on the house and unattached garage, rebuilt the front porch, replaced windows and did electrical work. Energy work was also a big part of the work on Mary’s home. NeighborWorks® Rochester insulated the house and made repairs to her heating system, which improved safety and comfort and saved the family money in utility bills. “From the beginning, everyone was so friendly and helpful, especially in communicating what was going on to me” Mary commented. “I have recommended many people to them.”

New Executive Director Starts at NeighborWorks® Rochester

Maureen Murphy

NeighborWorks® Rochester is excited to announce the appointment of Maureen Murphy, M.P.A, as Executive Director. Ms. Murphy has a history of community service in the Rochester area and currently serves as Board President of the Friends of the Public Market and was a long-standing board member of the South East Area Coalition (SEAC) in Rochester. She previously served as Executive Director of the Habitat for Humanity of Ontario County.

“Maureen has significant non-profit leadership experience and brings knowledge and experience in housing programs, and experience managing staff, but as important, she brings a high level of passion, commitment, and heart for the work that we do,” stated Kim Brumber, President and CEO of the NeighborWorks® Western NY Affiliation. “Maureen knows our programs first-hand; she bought her first home through our Homebuyer Education and Counseling program and also lived in Swillburg during our first Healthy Blocks initiative, seeing up close and personal the impact and potential of Healthy Blocks.”

Maureen, who currently lives in the Park Avenue area of Rochester, is a graduate of SUNY Brockport and Nazareth College. She enjoys running and can be found most Saturdays at the Rochester Public Market.

Dedication of NeighborWorks® Rochester’s Education Center in Memory of Karen DiNardo

Dinardo Karen 600dpiWe were honored to dedicate our newly-renovated Education Center to volunteer and friend, Karen DiNardo, at our recent Annual Meeting. The following are remarks made by Kim Brumber, President and CEO of NeighborWorks® Community Partners, during the dedication.

Karen was one of those people that even though I didn’t know her really well, I was able to draw strength from her; that was just the type of person she was.

Karen was a real estate attorney with the local firm Phillips Lytle whom NeighborWorks® Rochester worked closely with at the time. I think we may all likely have an image that comes to our mind when we say real estate attorney – but I will venture to say that at least in my mind, she wasn’t your “typical attorney” – whatever that is! 

Karen served as a volunteer in our homebuyer education classes. For those of you that don’t know, we bring in experts for various sections of the class – a home inspector, a realtor, and an attorney. Karen was our go to person for the “Choosing and working with an attorney” section of the class.

As a volunteer she gave a lot of time to NeighborWorks® Rochester and to our customers. She would often present at the class and then hang around long after her presentation time to assure that she had met with every participant that wanted to ask her a question one-on-one. Her care for our customers and commitment to their success as homebuyers was palpable. I quickly learned through various circumstances that she was very protective of the first time home buyers that she worked with through here – that, I believe was representative of the person she was.  Caring, dedicated, committed and unwavering.

This quiet, gentle strength. She had a patience and calm with people that instantly put people at ease.

Karen left us too soon. She fought a long, difficult battle with cancer – but even through that, she remained positive and still gave of herself endlessly, for as long as she was able. She never gave up. In the years since her passing, when I remember Karen, I recall a very passionate person who cared deeply about those she helped and her work – I think of her as being “all in” when she did something; there was no half way with Karen. For me, she was one of those people that touches our life for a brief time but leaves an impression that goes on forever.  If I had to pick one word that comes to mind when I remember her, it is exceptional. 

It is my honor to dedicate this room, our education center in memory of someone who cared so deeply about our first time homebuyers that are educated here – this will assure that Karen’s life will be remembered through our work.

Home Sweet Home Puts Rochester’s Most Delicious Cakes All In One Place!

SOCIAL-MEDIA-hshWhere else can you find delicious desserts from all around Rochester under one roof? Dozens of area bakeries and bakers will be participating in the Home Sweet Home Cake Auction at the High Falls Interpretive Center and Museum in Rochester on Thurs., Nov. 6th. The event will feature an auction of cakes and other confections, along with food, live music from the Erik Stabnau Jazz Combo, champagne cocktails, a coffee bar and great networking, starting at 5:00PM. What a sweet way to support programs which benefit homeowners and healthy neighborhoods in our community! Check out all of our sweet friends!
Tickets are only $5.oo and will provide entre to an evening of yummy fun while helping to change lives. Each year, approximately 42% of the people who start their journey down the path to homeownership are single women, usually the head of their households. This event will help them create a better life for themselves and their children, while supporting strong city neighborhoods.
Thanks to our sponsors:

Fairport Savings Bank
Woods Oviatt Gilman
Heveron & Co., CPAs
Vincent Associates Real Estate – Vince Pace & Greg Stefl
Harter Secrest & Emery, LLPEmpire Realty
Innovative Solutions
Santariello, AKL & Associates, PLLC
Stewart Title Insurance Co.
Tompkins Bank of Castile
The City of Rochester
The Central Library of Rochester
The Office of the City Historian Rochester

To get in on the fun, purchase tickets online now at https://homesweethomecakeauction.eventbrite.com Or contact NeighborWorks® Rochester at 585.325.4170.

Volunteer Spotlight – Ann Donato

AnnDonato_picNeighborWorks® Rochester is thrilled to have had the talents of student intern Ann Donato this summer. As a Graphic Design student at RIT, Ann has assisted with updating materials, producing graphics for social media platforms, events and programs and branding-related projects. She helped produce our snazzy new logo! CEO Kim Brumber stated, “It was such a tremendous boost to have a talented young artist on our team, increasing the bandwidth of our staff and providing a fresh look to many projects. She did an outstanding job and we were pleased to have her here. ”
As a resident of Henrietta, Anne enjoys being outdoors hiking and biking and is also a talented baker. She hopes to obtain a career in web design or other graphic-arts related field, once she graduates this winter.

Would you be interested in making a difference in your community? Maybe you need to build your network or add specific skills to your resume. Volunteers are needed to help with event planning and on event days, on strategic planning committees, with copying and coalating materials for our classes and outreach events and more. Visit our website for more information on how you can get involved and give back. Or call us at 585.325.4170.