Better Communities Fund


The Rochester Area Foundation is the caretaker of the community endowment, called the Better Communities Fund, that harnesses the collective generosity of thousands of community members.   

We believe in leaving a legacy.

By giving to a community endowment, your investment grows over time and leaves a legacy instead of being a one-time gift to a specific organization.

We are flexible.

Investments in the Better Communities Fund are highly flexible and available to meet the breadth of community needs - including future needs that may not yet be imagined. These unrestricted gifts empower us to make strategic grants where the need and opportunity are greatest.

We are rooted in permanence and growth.

We have a strong belief in the power of endowments to maximize gifts and sustain communities in the long-term. Supporting the Better Communities Fund helps the Rochester Area Foundation continue its programming and grows our endowment.

How does a community endowment work?

Endowments are permanent funds in which the principal is preserved and invested, with a portion of the earnings distributed annually for charitable purposes. 
Endowments carry an inherent power to provide for community needs in perpetuity through continued growth. Over time, distributions exceed the original gift, while the fund balance continues to grow, thanks to responsible management. 

Why now?

Unfortunately, the increase in community needs has outpaced the growth of our endowment. We are making a concerted effort to grow the Better Communities Fund so we can continue to meet the ever-growing needs of the community now and in the future.

Right now, the Better Communities Fund has a balance of about $4.5 million. That sounds like a lot of money, but because the Rochester Area Foundation can only use 5% of that a year for grants and programming, it's not as much as you think. Other communities of similar size have significantly larger endowments to help them address more community needs every year.

How can I give?

Donate Today!

Anybody can give a gift of any size to the Better Communities Fund! Because the fund is invested and always growing, even your $5 gift could become a grant for thousands of dollars someday! Click below to give one-time or a recurring donation.

Named Fund for Better Communities

When you create a fund, it carries a unique name, often for you, your family or to memorialize a loved one. Grants or scholarships are issued in the name of the fund, unless you desire anonymity.

Grants are awarded from these funds to a wide range of needs, now and in the future. These gifts also empower the Rochester Area Foundation to respond to emergencies, which require flexible funding.     

Click here to learn more about starting a fund