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ESL donates $5 million to United Way of Greater Rochester

ESL Federal Credit Union says that its charitable foundation will provide a $5 million grant to United Way of Greater Rochester to support people in the Rochester community in addressing barriers related to poverty and improving quality of life.

The grant will be separated into two categories, one of which is called “Project Uplift.”  According to Jaime Saunders, who is the President and CEO of the local United Way chapter, $4 million  of the grant will be used to help provide  support for people who need anything ranging  from car repairs to childcare expenses and medical bills.

“An example, is that for many of us a flat tire is a nuisance, and for others it means that I can no longer get to a job, it may make challenges for me in terms of helping my kids, it may put me in debt that I can’t get out of,” Saunders said.

And $1 million of the grant will help support affordable housing efforts in the region, including providing money for things like a security deposit or other critical housing challenges.

ESL President & CEO Faheem Masood says that “what impacts the community affects all of us,” and the credit union thinks the United Way is an “outstanding steward” for these kinds of funds that will be distributed in the region.

“We see a lot of need out there that we work on. We continue to try and equip people to succeed. But there are some significant challenges that financial services can’t solve; cash flow challenges that people have, basic income challenges,” Masood said.

The United Way says this new ‘Innovation Grant’ is a strategy to offer direct, consumer-driven interventions and support.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.