About ABC

Our
Mission


Community Action Code of Ethics


We, as Community Action Professionals, dedicate ourselves to eliminating poverty in the midst of plenty in this nation by opening to everyone the opportunity for education and training; the opportunity for work; and the opportunity to live in decency and dignity; and with respect for cultural diversity, commit ourselves to:


Recognize that the chief function of the Community Action movement at all times is to serve the best interests of the poor, thereby serving the best interests of all people.


Accept as a personal duty the responsibility to keep up to date on emerging issues and to conduct ourselves with professional competence, fairness, impartiality, efficiency, and effectiveness.


Respect the structure and responsibilities of the board of directors, provide them with facts and advice as a basis for their making policy decisions, and uphold and implement policies adopted by the board of directors.


Keep the community informed about issues affecting the poor; facilitate communication by the poor with locally elected public officials and the private sector.


Conduct our organizational and operational duties with positive leadership exemplified by open communication, creativity, dedication, and compassion.


Exercise whatever discretionary authority we have under the law to promote the interests of the poor.


Lead the Community Action movement with respect, concern, courtesy, and responsiveness, recognizing that service to the poor is beyond service to oneself.


Demonstrate the highest standards of personal integrity, truthfulness, honesty, and fortitude in all our Community Action activities in order to inspire confidence and trust in the Community Action movement.


Serve in such a way that we do not realize undue personal gain from the performance of our professional duties.


Avoid any interest or activity that is in conflict with the conduct of official duties.


Respect and protect privileged information to which we have access in the course of official duties.


Strive for professional excellence and encourage the professional development of our associates, including those seeking to become certified Community Action professionals.

The Promise of Community Action


Community Action changes people's lives, embodies the spirit of hope, improves communities, and makes America a better place to live. We care about the entire community, and we are dedicated to helping people help themselves and each other.

ABC Vision Statement


Action for a Better Community is the leading community action agency creating self-sufficiency opportunities for low-income individuals and families.

ABC Values


ABC is committed to:


Providing assistance which promotes and supports self-sufficiency for our customers


Deploying staff and volunteers who are competent and caring and who discharge their duties with patience and compassion


Respecting the dignity, value and self-worth of each individually


Persevering its efforts to create institutional changes when necessary to make the opportunity a reality for all citizens


Risk-taking in our use of new concepts and approaches to attacking the problems of poverty.

Action for a Better Community is a Community Action Agency that promotes and provides opportunities for low-income individuals and families to become self-sufficient.

The Promise of Community Action

Community Action changes people's lives, embodies the spirit of hope, improves communities, and makes America a better place to live. We care about the entire community, and we are dedicated to helping people help themselves and each other

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Our Mission

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Action for a Better Community is a Community Action Agency that promotes and provides opportunities for low-income individuals and families to become self-sufficient.

The Promise of Community Action

Community Action changes people's lives, embodies the spirit of hope, improves communities, and makes America a better place to live. We care about the entire community, and we are dedicated to helping people help themselves and each other

The Promise of Community Action


Community Action changes people's lives, embodies the spirit of hope, improves communities, and makes America a better place to live. We care about the entire community, and we are dedicated to helping people help themselves and each other.

ABC Vision Statement


Action for a Better Community is the leading community action agency creating self-sufficiency opportunities for low-income individuals and families.

ABC Values


ABC is committed to:


Providing assistance which promotes and supports self-sufficiency for our customers


Deploying staff and volunteers who are competent and caring and who discharge their duties with patience and compassion


Respecting the dignity, value and self-worth of each individually


Persevering its efforts to create institutional changes when necessary to make the opportunity a reality for all citizens


Risk-taking in our use of new concepts and approaches to attacking the problems of poverty.


Community Action Code of Ethics


We, as Community Action Professionals, dedicate ourselves to eliminating poverty in the midst of plenty in this nation by opening to everyone the opportunity for education and training; the opportunity for work; and the opportunity to live in decency and dignity; and with respect for cultural diversity, commit ourselves to:


Recognize that the chief function of the Community Action movement at all times is to serve the best interests of the poor, thereby serving the best interests of all people.


Accept as a personal duty the responsibility to keep up to date on emerging issues and to conduct ourselves with professional competence, fairness, impartiality, efficiency, and effectiveness.


Respect the structure and responsibilities of the board of directors, provide them with facts and advice as a basis for their making policy decisions, and uphold and implement policies adopted by the board of directors.


Keep the community informed about issues affecting the poor; facilitate communication by the poor with locally elected public officials and the private sector.


Conduct our organizational and operational duties with positive leadership exemplified by open communication, creativity, dedication, and compassion.


Exercise whatever discretionary authority we have under the law to promote the interests of the poor.


Lead the Community Action movement with respect, concern, courtesy, and responsiveness, recognizing that service to the poor is beyond service to oneself.


Demonstrate the highest standards of personal integrity, truthfulness, honesty, and fortitude in all our Community Action activities in order to inspire confidence and trust in the Community Action movement.


Serve in such a way that we do not realize undue personal gain from the performance of our professional duties.


Avoid any interest or activity that is in conflict with the conduct of official duties.


Respect and protect privileged information to which we have access in the course of official duties.


Strive for professional excellence and encourage the professional development of our associates, including those seeking to become certified Community Action professionals.

 

2018 Highlights

  • 3,028 unduplicated individuals and 2,845 families were served, benefiting from multiple programs and services.

  • 220 individuals received training certificates and obtained pre- employment skills and competencies required for employment.

  • 196 individuals enrolled in adult basic education and high school equivalency classes.

  • 55 unemployed youth obtained employment to gain skills or income.

  • 463 families learned and exhibited improved family functioning skills.

  • 1,069 children participated in ABC’s and its partner agencies’ Early Head Start/Head Start preschool activities to develop school readiness skills.

  • 54 individuals successfully completed ABC’s alcohol and substance abuse treatment program.

  • 18 families purchased homes using individual development account (IDA) contributions through ABC’s Ontario County partner PathStone.

  • 499 individuals obtained permanent employment.

  • 14,266 individuals were helped to obtain food assistance and 106 individuals with rent payments via Ontario County and Catholic Charities of the Finger Lakes partners

  • 152 individuals received income tax preparation assistance, which resulted in tax refunds that generated $374,920 in the community.

  • 304 families benefited from weatherization, energy conservation services, and home maintenance services. 76 of these households documented a reduction in their energy costs.

  • 256 partnerships were established or maintained, mobilizing and leveraging resources to provide a wide range of much-needed services to low-income people.

  • 30 certified teachers in the program, and 16 teachers with bachelor’s degrees.

  • 399 individuals completed substance abuse screenings, and 310 received substance abuse counseling.

  • 1,050 children were up to date on all possible immunizations, medical and dental care.

  • 20 staff have Home Energy Professional certifications.

ABC
History

Action for a Better Community, Inc. is one of nearly 1,000 nationally recognized Community Action Agencies (CAA's) established under the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 to fight America’s War on Poverty.

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    January 1964

    President Lyndon B. Johnson declares “unconditional war on poverty” in speech to congress.

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    July 1964

    Rochester experiences major unrest as residents react to structural racism and limited opportunities. The community is forced to confront these inequities.

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    July 1964

    ABC’s Founders meet in Monroe County legislator Constance Mitchell’s living room to plan the new organization. Inspired by children’s building blocks, they envision an agency that assists residents with the basics of life. The “ABC’s”. Action for a Better Community reflected their desire for positive change through real action by the community.

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    August 1964

    Congress passes The Economic Opportunity Act, providing funds for community action agencies (like ABC) to begin providing services.

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    December 1964

    ABC is formally incorporated.

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    1965

    ABC begins providing services. The Office of Economic Opportunity led by R. Sargent Shriver, awarded ABC a $1.3 Million antipoverty grant. It was the largest grant awarded in the state outside of NYC. ABC supports efforts to establish The Anthony Jordan Health Center as a federally recognized community health center.

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    1965

    Otis E. Finley Jr. became Executive Director of ABC. Agency launchesclassic anti-poverty programs such as: Head Start, Neighborhood Youth Corps and Lighted Schoolhouse antipoverty programs.

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    1966

    Reflecting turmoil in the national anti-poverty effort, ABC experiences a period of instability and leadership change.

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    1968

    James “Mamba” McCuller, at the age of 27, assumes leadership of ABC. He would lead the agency for nearly 25 years, making it an indispensable advocate and service provider in the Rochester community.
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    1968

    Thomas Cray works with ABC to establish The Veteran’s Outreach Center.

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    1968

    ABC Employee Tom Ferraro develops a program to distribute surplus food to residents. The program grows and becomes Foodlink, one of the nation’s premiere food distributers for non-profits.

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    1982

    ABC developed the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) – ABC administered $3.7 million in Federal aid to help 22,000 households in Monroe County to cope with Rochester winter

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    1983

    ABC was awarded $267,270 from the federal government through a NY State grant to weatherize 204 low-income homes.

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    1983

    James McCuller was honored the recipient of the Urban League of Rochester’s Sixth Annual Charles Terrell Lunsford Distinguished Community Award.

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    1992

    James McCuller died at the age of 52. “Life has changed, not ended”.

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    1996

    James H. Norman became the Executive Director. Mr. Norman was recruited as part of a national search effort.

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    1996

    ABC moved to a large professional building on 550 East Main Street and renewed logo.

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    1996

    ABC partnered with National PTA and four City of Rochester Schools with Head Start initiative.

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    1999

    New program initiated – CATAPULTS (Community Alliance to Assist People Up the Ladder to Success) – designed to address the needs of people moving from welfare to work.

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    2000

    The Federal Government instituted The Workforce Investment Act in 2000. ABC begin working closely with the local workforce Investment Board’s One- stop agency: Rochester Works!

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    2001

    Four new programs were initiated – Project Link, Volunteer Tax Assistance Program (VITA), Individual Development Accounts and Strengthening Families through Better Housing.

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    2003

    ABC became the lead agency for aneight-country initiative sponsored by the New York State Energy Research Development Authority (NYSERDA).

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    2003

    ABC was awarded a $500,000 grant for the Job Opportunities for Low- Income Individuals.

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    2004

    ABC hosted its first group work camp through a partnership with the Group Workcamps Foundation.

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    2005

    James Norman leads a national planning team that provides The “Rooting Out Poverty” report. It recommends several proactive strategies for communities, in areas of education, employment and community development. Norman strongly believes “with the resource in this country and this community, poverty can be eradicated and ultimately prevented.”

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    2009

    ABC awarded funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Funds supported multiple youth and adult employment initiatives to counter impact of The “Great Recession.”

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    2015

    A community coalition led by ABC awarded the Federal Health Professions Opportunities Grant. Several partner educational intentions and service providers worked to assist residents obtain careers in the health field.

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    2018

    Jerome Underwood named President and CEO of ABC.

Board
&
 Staff

Text

President & CEO
In February of 2018, Mr. Jerome Underwood joined ABC as the agency’s newest leader.

In preparation prior, he spent his time in a wide spectrum of positions all while keeping cultural responsiveness, empowerment of the African American community, education, and youth development as keen foci.

Mr. Underwood’s life’s mission of the eradication of poverty and the ultimate goal of societal self-sufficiency continues to be a fueling force in all that he does, thus merging his personal and professional life into one.

Learn More About Mr. Underwood

Board
&
 Staff

Text

President & CEO

In February of 2018, Mr. Jerome Underwood joined ABC as the agency’s newest leader.

In preparation prior, he spent his time in a wide spectrum of positions all while keeping cultural responsiveness, empowerment of the African American community, education, and youth development as keen foci.

Mr. Underwood’s life’s mission of the eradication of poverty and the ultimate goal of societal self-sufficiency continues to be a fueling force in all that he does, thus merging his personal and professional life into one.

Learn More About Mr. Underwood

Annual
Events

Year after year, ABC brings the community together by hosting events to educate and inspire the importance of compassionately helping underprivileged individuals and families in the Greater Rochester Area.

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