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Volunteer for FASFA Fest

FAFSA Fest logo

The College Access Network is recruiting volunteers for FAFSA Fest training on Monday, September 25th from 5pm to 7 pm at the MCC Downtown campus. Pre-registration is required. Volunteers will receive training to help students and families complete the FAFSA form. Convener and CAN members are encouraged to participate. Registration forms will be available soon.

If any college financial aid groups would like to adopt an event, please contact Stuart Hencke at shencke@gmail.com.

Message from Outgoing Chair


Monroe Community College President Anne Kress launched ROC the Future six years ago with initial support from SUNY, United Way, and the MetLife Foundation. Rochester Area Community Foundation joined ROC the Future in 2012 and I was honored to follow Anne as chair of the conveners’ table for the past 3 1/2 years.

Today, more than 60 institutions support ROC the Future by aligning their strategy, programs, people and money to meet kids’ needs as identified on our annual Report Card. Conveners volunteer personally and recruit others to knock on doors of chronically absent children and to help families complete federal financial aid forms.  Our new parent workgroup is attacking the dilemma of low attendance in Rochester’s world-quality pre-kindergartens, while launching Ready Rosie videos on mobile phones to showcase parenting techniques. Continue reading

Register for the Strive Convening

Strive Convening

Register now for the 2017 Cradle to Career Network Convening using access code: StriveC2C2017.

The theme this year is Be the Change: Getting Results for Every Child. Join Cradle to Career Network communities from across the country that are working to improve educational outcomes to create systems change in their communities. You will have the opportunity to learn, share and network with others doing like work and facing similar challenges. Leave with concrete ideas and tools on how to move this work further faster in your community. The team at Strive is planning to make this event their most innovative and advanced Convening to date. They’re committed to featuring relevant content aimed at the adaptive challenges we face around improving outcomes, changing systems and eliminating disparities. A diverse team including partnership staff, Conveners, community partners and funders should attend. Continue reading

URI Funding a Huge Victory for Kids


The Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative (RMAPI) has secured $4.75M in two-year funding from the NYS Upstate Revitalization Initiative for expansion of early childhood supports with existing programs in the focus neighborhoods. The funding will cover an additional 115 parents and children in the trilogy of evidence-based home visitation programs, an additional 300-400 children in early learning summer programs, and 300 additional child care slots for children of low-income working families. Continue reading

ROC the Future Awarded for Excellence in Communications

Excellence in Comm Award

ROC the Future recently received an Excellence in Communications Award from The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading for our work with the Every Minute Matters initiative and the Cold Can’t Stop Us Winter Attendance Challenge in conjunction with the Rochester City School District. ROC the Future thanks the team at Causewave Community Partners for their outstanding work and leadership on these projects. Continue reading

Community Schools for Rochester’s Children

Community Schools Photo

On May 18th ROC the Future co-sponsored a Convener conversation with Kirsten Barclay of the Farash Foundation on community schools, to increase awareness and understanding of how community schools work, and what Rochester’s recent experience has been with them.  The meeting, held at CCSI, was well attended by Conveners, and community members. Continue reading

Collective Impact vs. Collaboration: Do You Know the Differences?

What distinguishes collective impact from collaboration? Collaboration is a common strategy used to work together, with a shared interest in accomplishing a shared goal. Collective impact is intentional, individual actions that we (and our organizations) make to transform our organizations and community cultures. It is a deeper, retrospective approach to effect change. Continue reading

Every Student Succeeds Act

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is an opportunity to advance equity by defining what it means to be a successful school, setting clear expectations that schools must raise achievement for all of their students – not just some, and helping schools and school districts by targeting attention, resources, and support to the places where students are struggling. This is a critical moment for the future of accountability and school support and improvement in New York.

NYSED is in the process of sharing their draft plan for review around the state.  If you didn’t get a chance to participate in the Public Hearing (May 30th for Rochester), check out what the Education Trust–New York has to say about it, in their just-released score card and initial review of New York State’s Draft ESSA Plan. See their presentation here.

This month we’re shining a spotlight on Convener Mario Urso


Mario Urso is a Partner and co-leader of The Bonadio Group’s statewide Healthcare/Tax-exempt Division.  He joined The Bonadio Group in 1990 after several years at a big eight firm as a senior audit manager specializing in serving healthcare and tax-exempt organizations.

Mario’s experience has included providing professional services to a wide range of tax-exempt organizations including those funded by OCFS, OPWDD, NYSED, hospitals, other community service organizations, foundations, physician practices, nursing homes, home healthcare, clinics and other healthcare service providers.  In addition to traditional financial statement audits, this experience has included a wide array of consulting services including merger and acquisition consulting, due diligence procedure performance, full scope financial feasibility studies, business valuations and tax planning. Continue reading

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