NextGen Rochester, a giving circle of young professionals and an initiative of Rochester Area Community Foundation, has awarded $13,780 in grants to eight local organizations and programs.

Grant amounts range from $750 to $2,500 for a variety of programs.

The purpose of NextGen is to create an educated, engaged generation of young professionals committed to improving the greater Rochester community. To do so, NextGen introduces philanthropy to individuals at the beginning or middle of their careers and provides them with opportunities to initiate positive changes in the community by pooling financial contributions and then awarding grants to nonprofit organizations.

Each member makes an annual donation of at least $100 and has the opportunity to participate in the grantmaking process. The dollar-in/dollar-out philosophy of the giving circle means that donations in any one year are available for distribution that year via grants.  NextGen raised just under $9,000 from its membership and received additional support from community donors, including the Community Foundation.

After reviewing 124 initial grant applications, NextGen’s Grants Committee invited a number of nonprofit organizations to present their grant proposals at the group’s annual meeting.  The Nov. 8 meeting at Geva Theatre Center, which was open to the public, served as a mini-nonprofit fair, with information tables and one-on-one networking opportunities with nonprofit representatives.  The meeting culminated with dues-paying members of NextGen voting on which organizations would receive grants from the group.

The following grants were approved by the NextGen Rochester membership:

  • ArtPeace: A year-long program uses an original musical drama production as an engagement and development tool for 40 diverse youth. ($2,500)
  • Cameron Community Ministries: This daily, after-school arts program for 40 elementary children at School 30 will involve two activities per month. This program will run from January to June. ($2,500)
  • Garth Fagan Dance: A collaboration with Urban Choice Charter School in Rochester, this program will provide access to high-quality dance for 50 city youth. The dance troupe will provide two, hour-long dance instruction sessions each week. ($2,500)
  • Heritage Christian Services: “Arts for All” is a series of art exhibits that will provides access to arts for people of all ages and abilities. The program also will include an outdoor concert. ($1,150)
  • Junior Achievement of Rochester: Junior Achievement will provide hands-on activities in elementary schools to promote financial literacy and provide role models and connections to educational opportunities. ($2,000)
  • Melissa’s Living Legacy Teen Cancer Foundation:Teens Living with Cancer is a support, mentoring and empowerment program for youth dealing with cancer at a young age.  Dharma Rama is a wellness retreat designed to empower participants. The program will serve15 to 18 youth between the ages of 13 and 22. ($1,000)
  • R Community Bikes: This all-volunteer group provides free bicycles to children and promotes physical activity and healthy living. The group actively engages the community, in addition to youth and volunteers. ($750)
  • Writers and Books: This project is a partnership with Generation News in which the two organizations will focus on literacy efforts for young people ages 10 to15. This program will have two sessions in the 2010-11 school year. ($1,380)

NextGen Rochester was formed in January 2009 by a group of young professionals who wanted to make giving back a part of their lives through leadership, friendship, and philanthropy. In 2009, 28 members granted a total of $9,700 to six different local nonprofits. In 2010 the membership grew to 60 voting members, with several members already committed to joining for 2011.

For more information on NextGen Rochester, contact Cynthia Pacia at (585) 341-4331 or cpacia@racf.org or become a fan on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/NextGenROC.