United Way program helps nonprofits upgrade their spaces

Jun 9, 2021

(LtoR) Bill Goodrich, Jaime Saunders, and Elaine Spaull at the Center for Youth's newest location.
Credit April Franklin


 Eleven non-profits will get help with necessary maintenance and renovations this summer with volunteers and resources from Built United, a program that is a partnership between the United Way of Greater Rochester and LeChase Construction. 

Unity Way President and CEO Jamie Saunders said the goal is to bring support to agencies that provide critical services to the community.

“Our network of human service providers saw their demands for services triple throughout our region as families and individuals sought more and more help and our neighbors in need, Saunders said.

The idea, according to Saunders, came from LeChase President and CEO Bill Goodrich, who is the 2021 United Way campaign chair. Goodrich said the program is similar to United Way’s annual Day of Caring, except volunteer subcontractors provide services to various agencies over two months. He said the improvements will benefit the community.

“Ultimately if these organizations are doing better and they have the ability to serve the community better then we can all win,” said Goodrich. “The community wins.”

The Center for Youth was the first organization to receive assistance, with volunteers transforming its new location at the former YMCA on Monroe Avenue.

Center for Youth Executive Director Elaine Spaull said they were able to fill in the swimming pool and renovate a social justice room in three days.

“We would have struggled probably for months and months and months trying to get volunteers and trying to figure out how to outsource, trying to find some money, '' said Spaull.

The newley filled pool located in the basement of the former YMCA will serve as a dance studio for the Center for Youth.
Credit April Franklin

She says the new location will be a safe space for young people.

Built United will provide 3,400 hours of volunteer time and almost $250,000 to complete projects at these organizations: Boys and Girls Club of Geneva, Boys and Girls Club of Rochester, The Center for Youth, Charles Settlement House, Community Place of Greater Rochester, Family Promise of Ontario County, Geneva Lakefront Childcare, Salvation Army, Southwest Area Neighborhood Association, Volunteers of America and the YMCA of Greater Rochester.