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With Community at Heart, Charles Settlement House and Community Place Come Together

by Tyronda James
tyrondajames@minorityreporter.net

Charles Settlement House and The Community Place of Greater Rochester (TCPGR) have both concertedly worked together and will become permanently affiliated beginning Oct. 1.

The collaboration allows the agencies to strengthen and expand existing provided programs and services, while still maintaining their identities. All administrative functions will be shared, and there will be no cutbacks or reductions in staffing.

“We share many of the same programs for youth, families, and seniors and will be able to leverage expertise across both agencies,” said Scott Benjamin, shared CEO of Charles Settlement House and The Community Place since 2018 said. 

“At the same time, the savings of a combined administration and governance will be reinvested into our programs and employees — providing opportunities to grow and serve more people.”

Combined, the agencies have provided nearly 400 years of service to the northwest and northeast Rochester neighborhoods.

The affiliation is through support of the United Way of Greater Rochester and the Fingers Lakes through a Synergy grant from its Community Impact Fund. 

Benjamin said the three year collaboration between agencies made it clear that by making their affiliation permanent, they could improve services and become stronger.  

Since 2018, Charles Settlement House and The Community Place have operated with a shared chief executive officer, and they have shared some administrative services, such as finance and human resources. 

The agencies will continue operating as separate organizations, but under the governance of a joint board of directors that includes members of each agency’s original boards. While not a merger, this affiliation will be permanent and renewed annually by both agencies’ boards.

The combined board of directors will initially be led by co-chairs John Olsan, currently board chair at The Community Place, and Lydia Fernandez, currently board chair at Charles Settlement House.

Olsan said he is excited and proud about the new affiliation with Charles Settlement House and it was the next logical step. “Both organizations will be stronger by having combined governance. We will be able to address the service needs in our respective areas with more resources,” he said. “Additionally, our organizations will maintain their identities, which reflect years of service to the Rochester community.”

“We are excited to extend our collaboration with The Community Place,” Fernandez said. “Working together has allowed us both to remain strong, trusted resources in our neighborhoods, and this affiliation will provide the agility necessary for our organizations to continue meeting the changing needs of our community.” 

The Community Place, established in 2001 serves residents in northeast Rochester. Programs and services have been utilized by more than 10,000 community members.

Charles Settlement House, established in 1917, serves Rochester’s northwest neighborhoods, including JOSANA, Edgerton, Dutchtown, Brown Square, Lyell-Otis, Maplewood and Charlotte. They have provided more than 3,000 individuals with its programs and services.

The agencies both provide a variety of services encouraging individual and family sustainability. Offering programs and services including emergency assistance, after-school youth development programs, senior centers, substance abuse prevention, early childhood services, intellectual and developmental disabilities services, workforce development and affordable housing.

“Working together has allowed us both to remain strong, trusted resources in our neighborhoods, and this affiliation will provide the agility necessary for our organizations to continue meeting the changing needs of our community,” Fernandez said.

“We are excited to extend our collaboration with The Community Place. The combined experience of these organizations represents nearly 400 years of service to Rochester.”