Community Initiatives

When we play a key role

The Rochester Area Foundation regularly works with community leaders, members of the community and nonprofits of all types. In our community initiative work, we act in multiple roles, as funder, catalyst, partner, nonpartisan convener and or knowledge broker.

Community initiatives are programs of work that focus on a particular community issue for an extended period of time, bringing to bear the diverse resources of RAF. Each community initiative is unique in its inception, design, funding, and duration. The foundation’s Board of Trustees affirms that the initiative aligns with our mission; is important and value-added; and will be implemented in ways that benefit the community.

The majority of our community initiatives exist to build a certain level of community leadership in the greater Rochester area. Sometimes the result is an extended initiative in which we take a lead or supportive role. Many of our donors choose to join us in these strategic efforts.


This section highlights five of them:

  • First Homes - providing workforce housing in healthy, sustainable neighborhoods through collaborative efforts in the greater Rochester area.
  • First Steps - In 2005 we launched RAF First Steps to act as convener, communicator, collaborator and fundraiser in order to have all children kindergarten ready by 2010.
  • Community Ventures Fund - Established in 2005 to focus on enhancing the quality of life for all residents in the greater Rochester area.
  • CROPS - a network of nonprofit community gardens.
  • weGIVE365 - an innovative $1 a day philanthropy program that encourages new philanthropists and teaches individuals how to evaluate nonprofits before investing.