RMAPI lands $750,000 in new state funding

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The Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative has been awarded $750,000 in funds from New York State. 

The new funding will aid RMAPI in its Unity Agenda, a comprehensive effort and roadmap toward eliminating systemic poverty in Rochester and Monroe County. RMAPI’s 2024 policy agenda includes further commitments on affordable housing, minimum wage increases, child care, mental health services, and fighting predatory legal fees. 

The funds also will allow RMAPI to expand operations, integrate more thoroughly with areas of desired impact, and implement concrete steps to lift people out of poverty, officials say.

Assembly members Harry Bronson, Demond Meeks and Jennifer Lunsford made the announcement with RMAPI Wednesday. 

“RMAPI’s work has made a critical impact in uplifting marginalized communities, and represents a robust, achievable framework for transforming opportunity into a path forward so that all families and individuals have the resources to succeed,” Bronson says. 

A community-focused collective impact effort, RMAPI began in 2015 with a focus on centering racial equity, collective trauma, and a revitalization of Rochester neighborhoods. The organization was instrumental in the fight for a minimum wage increase with the Level Up Champions initiative committing more than 110 employers and 12,000 employees to a $15 minimum wage before the state had enforced a statewide increase.

“This represents a significant investment for the future of our community as we work to break the cycle of poverty by shifting power to enable upward mobility for individuals and families,” says Aqua Porter, executive director of RMAPI since December 2020. “The state of New York has been a steadfast partner since RMAPI’s inception close to a decade ago, and we continue to work closely with our local delegation to advocate for higher wages, for investments in families, for a more affordable and accessible housing system, and an end of policies that make it a crime to be poor.”

State Sen. Samra Brouk notes that three of the top five poorest ZIP codes in New York are in Rochester, with nearly one in two children growing up in poverty.

“Today’s state budget funding announcement will support the critical work Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative does to improve access to housing, mental health services, child care, and workforce opportunities,” Brouk said.

She is among other members of the local Albany delegation who plan to continue their support for RMAPI.

“Thanks to the leadership and advocacy of organizations like RMAPI, we have been able to take critical steps towards comprehensive solutions that will dismantle the cycle of poverty for our children and families,” Meeks says. “We remain committed to delivering essential resources and investments that directly provide for the betterment of our community.”

Narm Nathan is a Rochester Beacon intern, a senior at the University of Rochester and a member of the Beacon Oasis Project’s inaugural cohort. The Beacon welcomes comments and letters from readers who adhere to our comment policy including use of their full, real name. Submissions to the Letters page should be sent to [email protected]

5 thoughts on “RMAPI lands $750,000 in new state funding

    • The only way you get a living wage job is to complete high school and get some certificate education, technical college or university. That living wage job because of that education allows one to live where they want and live how they want on their dime, not the publics/government dime. It’s really that basic, that simple. Bring back the vocational high school and do even better in that effort.

  1. You know what the solution to poverty is? Now please don’t be surprised. It’s EDUCATION. If you have an education, you have careers and professions. If you don’t provide or can’t seem to teach the way kids learn…..you get poverty. The foundational item, the antidote to poverty is a relevant education. I would recommend that those who are tuned into the poverty in Rochester start paying attention to, and urging the RCSD/RCSB to get that mission accomplished. Focus on the education!!! Semper Fi.

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