Three Rochester Settlement Houses Create Joint Foundation

Three settlement houses in Rochester have created a foundation to pursue new sources of shared funding to support and expand their programs and services. Called the Settlement Houses of Rochester Foundation, this effort includes Baden Street Settlement, Charles Settlement House and The Community Place of Greater Rochester Inc.

In Rochester since the early 1900s, these three nonprofit organizations provide workforce development, afterschool programs, senior centers, health services, emergency assistance and other programs in their respective neighborhoods. Originally founded to support the city’s growing immigrant populations in the early 20th century, the settlement houses today continue to focus on building individual and family sustainability.

“The Settlement Houses of Rochester Foundation is intended not only to bolster our neighborhoods, but also to be part of the community-wide effort to address poverty in Rochester,” says Ron Thomas, executive director of Baden Street Settlement.

Baden Street Settlement House and the Community Place serve neighborhoods in northeast Rochester, and Charles Settlement House serves northwest Rochester. These sectors of the city have among the highest concentrations of poverty in Rochester.

“We share a common philosophy and approach to building community, and by working together, we will be able to strengthen our efforts and our neighborhoods,” says Sue Davin, president and CEO of The Community Place.

Although the settlement houses have a long history of collaborating, the foundation is their first long-term joint effort. It grew out of conversations about ways they could work together as funding for community services nationwide has become more difficult to obtain.

The foundation will form a board of directors and hire a joint development director. Later this year, the foundation plans to launch fundraising and volunteer-recruitment campaigns.

In early 2014, the settlement houses began working with the Ad Council of Rochester to clarify and develop their ideas. At the end of January 2015, each settlement house’s board of directors approved the formation of the foundation.

“We are excited about what our neighborhoods can accomplish with the Settlement Houses of Rochester Foundation and look forward to working with other organizations in our community to strengthen our city,” says Scott Benjamin, president & CEO of Charles Settlement House.