Action for a Better Community


The CEO of a Rochester nonprofit group taking on the city’s poverty challenges said Monday that he hopes to get some national support for those efforts this week.

Jerome Underwood said Action for a Better Community’s funding is at risk if the mechanism that distributes it is not reauthorized soon by Congress.

It’s a risk “not just for ABC, but for all the other community action agencies across the country,” Underwood said.

The money -- more than $700 million annually -- comes in what are called community services block grants.


Brett Dahlberg / WXXI News

The city of Rochester has installed more than 60 miles of bike lanes since 2011.

But there’s a problem: Those bike lanes are often filled with parked cars. And the city has no way to track where or when it’s happening.

Jerome Underwood was named the new president and CEO of Action for a Better Community in January 2018. Prior to leading the organization, he served on its board for nearly a decade.

Underwood has been an outspoken advocate for underrepresented groups in the Rochester community. He joins us in studio for the hour to discuss the future of ABC, how the current discourse regarding race may impact his work, and how he hopes his organization can counteract poverty in our area.

James Norman is retiring after 25 years of leading Action for a Better Community in Rochester.

He discusses his career and the most pressing issues as he leaves his post.

It is time to pass the baton. That’s according to James Norman the President and CEO of Rochester’s Action for a Better Community. For 25 years Norman has continued the organization’s work to provide support and opportunities to low income residents in an effort to help families achieve and maintain self-sufficiency. As of December 31, that work will be in someone else’s hands. But before he officially steps down Norman joins this edition of Need to Know to talk breakthroughs, challenges and what you need to know, but likely don’t about the Rochester region’s poverty crisis. 

On this edition of Need to Know Rochester:

▪ A look at the work of Teen Empowerment and other community stakeholders to combat youth and gang violence in Rochester

▪ A discussion on the challenges for African American baseball players in the late 1800s and early 20th Century as a new exhibit focusing on those experiences comes to Rochester

▪ The Business Section with Matt Daneman

On Friday's show we examine the work of The Center for Teen Empowerment. The non-profit is in its 10th year in Rochester working with at-risk youth in the community. Rochester Police Chief James Sheppard and Paul McFadden, Youth & Gang Specialist with Action for A Better Community, will talk more about Teen Empowerment and current efforts to tackle youth gang violence in Rochester.

Also, former Rochester Mayor Bill Johnson will stop by the station to discuss a traveling exhibit making a stop in the city. It's called Pride & Passion: The African American Baseball Experience. We'll discuss the continued impact of the Negro Leagues on the game of baseball.

Tune in this Friday at 8:30pm and Sunday at 12:30pm on WXXI-TV.