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Rochester Education Foundation:  Because every child deserves a great education.
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REF News




Teachers' Choice

Jan. 5, 2018

Students in the classrooms of 41 educators will benefit from our Teachers' Choice program this year. Applicants receive up to 200 new books for creative activities involving students such as book clubs, literacy events, and more. More than 100 applications were received. We also offered magazine subscriptions this year, thanks to a generous grant from the Gannett Foundation. For a list of recipients, go to: Teachers' Choice recipients 2017-18


FAFSA Fest 2017-2018

October 26, 2017

Tell your friends, your neighbors, your children!~ FAFSA Fest 2017-18 will once again offer community events where students can receive free, trained help filling out and submitting their federal financial aid forms for college. Since launching FAFSA Fest we've seen more than a 50 percent increase in the number of Rochester students filing their financial aid forms by the end of March, when more scholarships and grants are available. This year we're encouraging students to file even earlier as deadlines have changed. Events are from Nov. 2 to March 3. For more info go to


College Info Shared at Summer School College, Career Fair

Aug. 16, 2017

Many students celebrated the last day of summer classes at Franklin HS by attending a College & Career Fair in the school auditorium. Students had the opportunity to speak with representatives from Monroe Community College, St. John Fisher College, The College at Brockport, Alfred State, University of Rochester, and Bryant & Stratton College to learn more about their schools. Various local companies and community organizations also provided information and resources for students. REF had a booth sharing information about upcoming FAFSA Fests so that students and their families can get all the help they need applying for financial aid. Thanks to organizer Justin Morris of Pathways to Peace, participating colleges, businesses, and organizations, and students who made this event a success!  


Tenth Year of M&T Bank, REF and the Jazz Fest

June 29, 2017

We're celebrating 10 years of a great partnership with M&T Bank. The bank, a major sponsor of the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival, generously allows REF to collect musical instruments at the Jazz Fest  Our volunteers include many M&T Bank employees, RCSD music teachers and REF board members. Thank you M&T Bank and all of our terrific volunteers!


Toast Honorees Named

June 1, 2017

Several educators and volunteers will be honored at this year’s “A Toast to REF- And Our Partners” event. REF will be recognizing the work of Principal Sharon Jackson at School No. 9; Andrea Garfield, a teacher at School No. 4; volunteer Mary Zadorozny at School No. 22 and volunteer coordinators Sharon and Dr. Larry Nazarian at School No. 25. Each honoree has worked tirelessly to serve city students, contributing hard work and lots of love for students. Join us in celebrating these terrific partners of Rochester city students at our “Toast” event on October 18, 2017, at La Luna. For information about sponsoring and attending the event please go to:

"A Toast to REF - And Our Partners"



New Trumpet Presented to Keoni Smith at Jazz It Up

April 28, 2017

A full house at Bernunzio Uptown Music enjoyed a terrific concert by Jimmie Highsmith, Jr., Tony Hiler and "The Department" during our "Jazz It Up" concert and fundraiser. A highlight was the presentation of the REF Musical Instrument Award. Talented SOTA senior Keoni Smith received a trumpet. Also performing was Aliciana LoTemple, who received a bassoon from REF last year. Special thanks to Nannette Nocon and Karl Wessendorf and Julie and John Bernunzio. For photos and more details please go to:

Jazz It Up 2017


WXXI Music in Our Schools Yields 30 Instrument Donations!

April 18, 2017

A campaign by WXXI-FM Classical91.5 was a great success! We received 30 beautiful musical instrument donations, including two bassoons.

Thank you, WXXI Classical 91.5!

Classical 91.5


"Toast" Event Set for October 18, 2017

Feb. 24, 2017

We've been honoring partners of city students since the launch of REF. It is always wonderful to see what great friends of Rochester city students exist in our community. Please help us nominate educators, businesses, volunteers and others who help our Rochester city students succeed. Partners are honored at a cocktail party event with hot and cold hors-d'eouvres at the scenic La Luna Banquet Center overlooking the Genesee River Gorge. To nominate someone, please go to this link:


To purchase a sponsorship, buy a ticket, or an advertisement in our program, please go to:


"A Toast" sponsorships, tickets


Sponsorships are available from $900 to $5,000. Tickets are $90. This is our major fundraiser. Please join us for a great time!


Congratulations 2016-2017 Teachers’ Choice Recipients!

December 5, 2016

This school year, 36 educators at 14 Rochester schools will receive books for their students through Teachers’ Choice. The books will be used in a variety of creative literacy projects. From stories told by Humphrey, the class hamster, to a collection of novels by Deaf authors, educators will use the books to introduce students to topics like friendship, community, and different cultures. This year, in particular, with support from the Ames Amzalak Memorial Trust and the Wilson Foundation, educators are receiving books that tackle civic engagement issues. Once the books have been used in the classroom, the educators will send them home with their students. For a list of educators who will receive books this year, click here.

Dec. 1 FAFSA Fest at REOC.

Sept. 26, 2016

Get a jump on submitting your federal finanical aid form (FAFSA) for college! Early submission gives you the greatest opportunity for financial aid and scholarships. We're kicking off the FAFSA season early this year because the law has changed, making it easier to fill out financial aid forms for college earlier in a student's senior year. This is the first of numerous FAFSA Fest events in the community, others will be in the winter months. High school seniors, and college students in need of help filling out the form, are welcome. You'll get trained, professional help. The event is 5:30 to 7:30 at REOC, 161 Chestnut St. Limited parking spaces but street parking available. Bring a parent or legal guardian, 2015 FederalNYS tax returns, seocial security for parents and students. Pizza and refreshments available free of charge. Co-sponsored by Rochester College Access Network of REF, Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection, and REOC. More info? Call us at 271-5790, or

What a month -- 93 Musical Instruments Collected!

July 19, 2016

We collected a record-breaking 93 musical instruments at the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival and Parkleigh this year! These instruments will go to Rochester city school kids who are being given the gift of music. Thank you to everyone who generously donated an instrument, to the great volunteers from M&T Bank, the REF Board of Directors and friends, AmeriCorps, and RSCD music teachers who helped us collect them, to M&T Bank for the use of their Jazz Fest space and to Parkleigh and its staff for providing a convenient and friendly instrument drop-off location. Thank you all.

Jazzy June for students @ Jazz Fest, Parkleigh

June 7, 2016

This is our biggest month of the year for collecting musical instruments for Rochester city students! Please consider making this the year for dropping off that used musical instrument. We'll once again have a booth (thanks to M&T Bank) at the Jazz Fest where you can drop off an instrument and say hello to the REF crew of staffers and volunteers. Or you can drop off your instrument this month at Parkleigh, 215 Park Ave., all month.

Dennis Monroe's Legacy

May 26, 2016

Thanks to friends of the late musician Dennis Monroe, hundreds of city students received musical mentoring through the program "Music Through the Ages." The program engaged local musicians in musical programs with city students. Rochester Education Foundation was proud to be involved with the program with as a partner for many years. Now that it has been disbanded, we are honored to have received a generous contribution of $682 from the group that supported the program. Funds are earmarked for our Spring for Music Opportunity program. Thank you! To read more, please go to: Dennis Monroe


Great Turnout for FAFSA Fest 2016

April 29, 2016

Thanks to all who supported FAFSA Fest 2016 as sponsors, volunteers, students and family members! Nearly 350 people attended the six events of FAFSA Fest. Students came from 34 different schools, though a majority were from Rochester city schools. Monroe High School had the largest number of attendees, followed by East High School. The events in February and March encourage early submission of the federal financial aid form so students will be eligible for scholarships and grants, which are most often distributed to early submitters of the FAFSA. This year we saw a 15 percent increase in Rochester city and charter school students submitting the FAFSA by the end of March compared to the year before. We also noted that all but one city high school had an increased percentage of student submitters by the end of March. This will increase opportunities for students to pay for college. Thanks to all who helped make this possible!

Honor for website

March 21, 2016

Our college information website has been named a finalist in the "Best of the Web" contest sponsored by the Rochester Business Journal! We are honored that our information-packed website

has been named a finalist in the Education category. More than 10,000 page views have been recorded over the past 12 months on the website.

Nominations for Partnership Awards through May 2

March 21, 2016

     REF is accepting nominations for our partnership awards through May 2 to be presented to special partners of Rochester city students. Nominees can fit into any of the following categories: Volunteer, educators, business, making a difference and - for the first time - city school alums 30 and under. Please send us a brief written description of why the nominee deserves the award. We will guarantee they have a special evening in the spotlight at our annual Toast to REF - Partnership Awards event October 19th at the Memorial Art Gallery. Submit nominations to

Announcing FAFSA Fest 2016

January 5, 2016

   REF and our Rochester College Access Network are again offering FAFSA Fest, a series of public, free events held in February and March. The events for students and their families provide help filling out and submitting federal financial aid forms for college.

   Please help us spread the word to 12th-grade students interested in
college. The events are open to all.

   Please contact REF if you are interested in being either a general
volunteer (offering registration, hospitality, hosting help); or a volunteer providing direct help filling out the FAFSA (training is required; we will be offering it for free prior to FAFSA fest). We are seeking volunteers for the following events:

Sully Branch Library, Feb 13, noon to 3 pm
Maplewood Library, Feb 23, 5 to 8 pm
Phillis Wheatley Library, March 9, 5 to 8 pm
MCC Damon City Campus, March 24, 3 to 6 pm

   Plus two additional events are part of FAFSA Fest: College Goal Sunday, Jan 31, 1 to 3 pm, and SUNY Financial Aid Day, Feb 20, 9 am to noon.

   FAFSA Fest sponsors are: the City of Rochester, Daisy Marquis Jones Foundation, College Goal NY, ESL Charitable Foundation, Glover-Crask Charitable Trust, NYS Financial Aid Administrators Assoc., Oppenheimer Funds, Paychex, Rochester Chamber of Commerce, Rochester Education Foundation, The Community Foundation, and WROC-TV.

Congratulations 2015-2016 Teachers’ Choice Recipients!

December 17, 2015

Forty-eight educators at 21 RCSD schools will receive books for their students through REF’s Teachers’ Choice program this school year. From The Magic Tree House series to Shakespeare’s Macbeth and Othello, educators will use the books to introduce students to subjects like science, art, literature, and politics. This year, in particular, with support from the Greater Rochester Health Foundation, educators will receive books that tackle health-related topics like feelings, taking care of one’s general and dental health, cancer, and anger management. Once the books have been used in the classroom, the educators will then send them home with their students.

For a list of the 2015-2016 Recipients, click here.


Piper, France and Harris Corp Honorees in October

August 20, 2015

REF will honor three terrific partners of Rochester city students at our October 28th "A Toast to REF - And Our Partners" event. Jay Piper is the long-time principal of The Chidren's School of Rochester No. 15. Cheri' France is the dynamic music teacher at the same school. Harris Corp. is a generous supporter and partner of Rochester City School District students. This event marks the 10th anniversary of REF. For more information about the event, including sponsorships, ticket purchases, and advertisements in the program, please go to:

"A Toast to REF 2015"

For more information about our honorees, please go to:

"A Toast to REF" Honorees 2015

Record-Smashing 63 Musical Instruments Collected in June

July 2, 2015

We had a wonderful June, with a tremendous flood of musical instrument donations. An REF record-breaking 63 musical instruments were donated for use by Rochester city students during the month of June, with a vast majority donated at our Rochester International Jazz Festival booth donated by M&T Bank, and at Parkleigh, which generously hosts our drive throughout the month of June. Instruments donated include a tuba,

eight trumpets, five clarinets, a french horn, a banjo, an electric guitar,
and many many more. We thank our very generous Rochester community including our instrument donors and the Rochester International Jazz Festival, M&T Bank and Parkleigh. We also thank our volunteers, including those from M&T Bank, music educators from Rochester City School District,

DHS Cares, the REF board, and friends of REF. This would not have been possible without you!

A Musical Summer for City Kids

July 1, 2015

This will be a tuneful summer for 40 Rochester city school students thanks to music scholarships provided by REF. They will be taking music lessons at Hochstein School of Music and Dance and the Eastman School of Music. This is the second year this program has been made possible through contributions! This year's funds come from the proceeds of concerts by Rochester City School District music teachers, a grant from the Ames-Amzalak Memorial Trust, individual donors, the teachers at School 34, and Rochester Education Foundation. Student applicants told us they "love" music. One said she wanted lessons so "I can learn new notes." Thanks for enabling this exciting experience for our students.

Beautiful Setting, Beautiful Music

May 12, 2015

More than 550 Rochester City School students performed last night at stunning Kodak Hall in the All-City Concert of Rochester City School District. In the past, it has not been possible to showcase these talented young musicians in one locale due to limited seating capacity in city school auditoriums. This year, through a partnership with the Eastman School of Music and REF, students and their families packed the Eastman Theatre for this wonderful evening. REF paid for dinners for all the students. For photos, please go to:

REF All-City Concert

Deadline is May 15th to Nominate a City School Partner

May 7, 2015

Our deadline is fast approaching to nominate an outstanding city school partner for this year's Rochester Education Foundation Partnership Awards. If you know a terrific city educator, city school volunteer, or great business partner, please submit a nomination to REF at 2015 Partnership Awards by May 15. We ask that you send us information about the nominee and why they deserve this award in one to two pages. In 2015, the awards will include the "Inspire Award" for city school teachers, with a $200 prize, and additional awards drawn from the categories of business, volunteers and making a difference -- all focused on support for city students. Awards will be presented at "A Toast to REF - and Our Partners" October 28, 2015, at the Memorial Art Gallery. In addition to the Awards presentation, REF will be celebrating its 10th year anniversary at the event. If you would like to help sponsor this event, please contact us at

College Access the Focus in RCAN Training at WXXI
April 29, 2015
Fifty youth workers, educators, counselors and student advocates gathered for “Training the Trainers.” The program and lunch was co-sponsored by Rochester College Access Network (RCAN) and WXXI. Trainers were all from local colleges. They talked about the long-range return on investment of a college education, different types and sources of financial assistance, and the need for athletes to focus primarily on academics. Football coach Paul Vosburgh of St John Fisher College said “only in the dictionary does athletics come before education." Ian Mortimer of Nazareth College noted that our students must have a “VISION that goes beyond the current reaiity. Thanks toWXXI for co-hosting the event with RCAN with grants from “Thinking Money”, a program aimed at understanding emotional economics, and “American Graduate Let's Make it Happen."

Thanks to Scotland Yard Pub, Guest Bartenders!

April 21, 2015

Friends of REF enjoyed a lively event with a constantly-changing cast of bartenders last week! Thanks to all who contributed their time, and thanks to Nancy Gerasi of Scotland Yard Pub and the regular bartenders for making it happen. For pics, please go to:

Guest Bartender Pics

Rochester City Students Ahead of 2014 in FAFSA Filing.

April 7, 2015

Rochester City School students are ahead of last year's pace in their filing of Federal financial aid forms to apply to college. The percentage of students filing the forms increased 9.4 percent between March 2014 and March 2015, with a total of 394 Rochester city students submitting the forms. REF and Rochester College Access network offered three new events in February with volunteers assisting families in the completion of the form and the on-line filing. We also provided publicity for a pre-existing event, College Goal Sunday. Students have until June 30 to file the forms for the 2015-2016 school year.


Families, Volunteers Support FAFSAFest 2015

Feb. 23, 2015

Our FAFSAFest is proof once again that bad weather does not prevent Rochesterians from getting out and about. About 200 FAFSA applications were submitted during the four FAFSAFest evens this montht. Families with students braved sub-zero temperatures, blustery winds and blizzard conditions to submit their federal financial aid forms with free, expert assistance. Thanks to all who attended these events! For more info:

FAFSA Fest Photos

Thanks to City of Rochester, Other Partners for FAFSA Fest 2015

Jan. 30, 2015

We are thrilled to have many valuable partners for FAFSA Fest 2015: Excellus, WXXI, The Community Foundation, Monroe Community College Foundation, Oppenheimer Funds, WDKX and WROC-TV. A special thanks to our partner the City of Rochester and Mayor Lovely Warren for creating posters, fliers and helping to spread the word about FAFSA Fest. Mayor Warren recorded public service announcements to spread the word:

PSA for FAFSA Fest Website Launch

Jan. 5, 2015

We're launching a new year with an exciting new website providing local-based information for Rochester students on getting into college. The website is offered by Rochester College Access Network, a program of REF which is a community collaborative involving local colleges and universities, not-for-profit groups, philanthropic groups, the Rochester City School District and local businesses. There's a local calendar of key events, local contacts for area colleges, information about paying for college and much more. Go to: RochesterCAN


Church Women United Donate More than 500 Books!

Nov. 24, 2014

City students will benefit from the generous gift of more than 500 books from eight churches, thanks to a drive by Church Women United. Thank you to all! Students will receive the books through REF's Teachers' Choice project, through which teachers select special books to support in-class literacy events. Following the events, students receive the books to keep for home libraries.


Get ready for FAFSAFest 2015

Nov. 19, 2014

Rochester College Access Network will be offering three events to help Rochester students and their families complete the federal financial aid form Feb. 18, 19 and 21, and supporting the long-time College Goal New York Event Feb. 8.. Filling out these forms is an essential step on the road to college for any student in need of financial help at college. We're looking for volunteers in many categories: people who know how to fill out FAFSA forms, people to help with registration, and individuals to help with refreshments and provide translation support. Interested? Please check out the flier, below, and call Stuart Hencke here at REF - 271-5790.

FAFSAFest 2015

Concert Supports Summer Music Lessons

Nov. 13, 2014

City music teachers will join nationally-renowned singer Amanda Lee Peers, who competed on the television show "The Voice," for a fundraising concert Nov. 15 from 8 to 11 p.m. at Boulder Coffee, at 100 Alexander St. There is no cover charge - but contributions will all go to REF's Spring for Music Opportunities Fund to support summer music lessons for RCSD students at either Eastman School of Music or the Hochstein School. Last year, teachers worked hard to enable 16 RCSD students to attend summer music lessons. This year, teachers and REF are hoping to expand that number considerably. For more information about the Fund, please go to:

Spring for Music Opportunities


"A Toast to REF - And Our Partners"

Nov. 13, 2014

  More than 250 people helped to celebrate REF and four partners of city students Oct. 29 at the Cutler Union of the Memorial Art Gallery. Partners were Mariana Barry (Advantage Federal Credit Union Inspire Award), Karen Marquardt (Making a Difference Award), Youth Apprenticeship Program at Rochester General Hospital (Making a Difference Award) and Ed Cavalier (Lifetime Commitment to Children and Education). For photos and more information, please go to:

"A Toast 2014"


Dr. Everett Williams Supports Dr. Walter Cooper Academy, with gift Matched by RCSD for Summer Reading

October 2, 2014

   Dr. Everett Williams, a retired educator from Buffalo, will be providing $20,000 per year in a multi-year gift to REF's Dr. Walter Cooper Fund. This gift – intended to support innovative literacy initiatives at the Dr. Walter Cooper Academy School No. 10 – is from the Dr. Everett S. and Goldie Williams Educational Endowment Fund. Dr. Williams’ support stems from his deep commitment to literacy and education. Dr. Williams will support a summer reading program at School No. 10 to prevent summer reading loss as well as other literacy initiatives at the school.

  Dr. Bolgen Vargas, Superintendent, announced today that the gift will be matched by the Rochester City School District in order to serve more students and grade levels in the summer.

  Dr. Williams and Dr. Cooper were childhood friends who grew up together in Clairton, Pa. They have been friends for more than 70 years.
For more information about the Cooper Fund, please go to:

REF Cooper Fund

New Fund Launched for World of Inquiry School

August 27, 2014

  A new fund has been launched to support the World of Inquiry School. The initial focus of the fund will be to support the World of Inquiry School Outdoors Club, and a trip to Camp Pathfinder in Canada. To donate online, go to our Network for Good link (see below), and donate to REF, indicating WOIS on the "designation" line. To donate via check, send the check to REF, again designating WOIS. We look forward to supporting the students at World of Inquiry School, a school we already support through a special M&T Bank-Teachers' Choice initiative. To give through Network for Good, please go to the "donate now" button on our home page:

REF home page with Network for Good button

STEM Scholarship Available to Some Seniors

July 16, 2014

  Help spread the word about a great opportunity announced recently

  by New York State to recently-graduated high school seniors interested  

  in studying a science, technology, engineering or math-related

  field in a New York State public college. You may be eligible for

  a new scholarship. For more information, please go to:

  NY State STEM Scholarship

Victor High Music Honors Group, Guitar Center Support City Students

July 16, 2014

  Thanks to Victor's Tri-M Music Society for its many gifts to expand music   

  opportunities for city students this year. The group held a successful

  instrument drive, donating seven beautiful instruments to REF's Spring

  for Music Opportunities program. It also requested support of our

  program to The Guitar Center - which responded with a new trumpet,

  a digital piano and a dozen music stands. And, what's more, the

  Music Society gave REF a generous contribution to support music

  opportunities for city students in Rochester. Thank you!!

Success at Jazz Fest, Parkleigh: 28 Musical Instruments Donated

July 1, 2014

  Three violins. A saxophone. Even a clavichord (yes, now we know   

  what that is!). All of these instruments and 22 more were

  donated to REF for city school students at the M&T Booth at the Jazz

  Fest, or at Parkleigh during the month of June. Thanks to our 38

  volunteers, who included M&T staffers, RCSD music teachers, AmeriCorps

  members, REF board members and friends! We also surveyed festival-

  goers to find Rochester's "Not Top Ten" - songs we never want to hear

  again - in a fun survey. For photos, go to:

  Jazz Fest Photos

  For the "Not Top Ten" please go:

  Songs We Don't Want to Hear Again

City Music Teachers, REF Support Summer Music Lessons

June 17, 2014

  Thanks to a dynamic group of city music educators, 18 city students

  will receive summer music lessons at Hochstein and Eastman

  Community Music School! The music teachers held concerts and other

  events to support this fundraising effort in partnership with REF's

  Spring for Music Opportunity Fund. A total of 30 students applied for

  the lessons; 18 were chosen from very strong applications including

  student, parent or guardian and music teacher comments. As one

  student said: "I love music and I think this would not only be a great

  experience but will help me in my future quest in music." Hochstein

  and Eastman Community Music School also are helping to support this

  terrific summer opportunity for our musically passionate students.

Parkleigh Supports REF, Instrumental Music for City Kids

June 17, 2014

  Have you seen the musical instruments in the window at Parkleigh?

  Thanks to Parkleigh for helping to spread the word about our Spring

  for Music Opportunities program -- and for collecting musical instruments

  all month to support our city young people! This month REF will be

  collecting used musical instruments and musical materials at Parkleigh.

  Thank yoiu to the generous and enthusiastic Parkleigh crew for

  supporting music opportunities for Rochester city kids. All instruments,

  sheet music, music stands and other musical materials will be given to

  the Rochester city school district to be used by city students.

Honorees Named for October Partnership Event

June 2, 2014

  Mariana Barry will receive the first Advantage Federal Credit Union

  "Inspire Award" at REF's "A Toast to REF - And Our Partners" event

   Oct. 29. 2014. Cheers to Mariana, a teacher at School Without Walls,

   and the other three honorees who will receive awards at the festive

   event from 5:30 to 7:30 at the Cutler Union of the Memorial Art

   Gallery featuring hot and cold hors-doeuvres, drinks, a Wine Pull 

   drawing, music and more. Other award-winners are Karen

   Marquardt of Altrusa (Making a Difference), the Rochester

   General Hospital Youth Apprenticeship Program (also a Making

   a Difference Award), and Ed Cavalier, former principal of

   East High School, and outgoing REF board chair, receiving the

   Lifetime Commitment to Children and Education Award. For more

   info, sponsorships and tickets please go to:

   A Toast to REF

Rochester College Access Network Turns 1!

June 2, 2014

  Rochester College Access Network was launched in April 2013.

  Take a look at what we've been up to in the attached report!

  RCAN Turns 1!

New RCAN Report on Rochester college access and success

sheds light on challenges

May 4, 2014

  Rochester College Access Network has worked with Rochester City

  School district to create a report on city student college access and

  success. Rochester City School District has joined a national registry

  which tracks where students go to college and whether they graduate.

  This provides essential information for tackling the challenges involved in

  increasing student access to - and success in -- college. For more

  information, please go to:

  Rochester College Access and Success Report May 2014


Nominate an Outstanding City School Partner!

March 11, 2014

   Do you know a terrific city educator? Or volunteer? Please submit

   a nomination to us for our 2014 Partnership Awards. This year, we are

   launching the new "Inspire Award" for city school teachers, with a first-

   ever $200 prize. We also encourage submissions for three other awards

   which will be drawn from the categories of business, volunteers and

   making a difference -- all focused on support for city students.

   Please send nominations by April 18, 2014. We ask that you

   send us information about the nominee and why they deserve the

   award. Please email to email address through link below:

   Nominations for Partnership Awards


A Toast to REF - And Our Partners - October 29

March 11, 2014

   REF welcomes all to help us celebrate REF and partners of city schools

   at the Cutler Union of the Memorial Art Gallery on October 29, 2014.

   Help us celebrate all the good work being done supporting city students.

   This year, REF is changing the event from dinner to a two-hour party

   with delicious hot and cold hors d'oeuvres, wine, signature cocktails

   and more. We will be posting information about tickets and

   sponsorships. If you are interested in a sponsorship, please contact

   Pat Braus at 271-5790 or Pat Braus, and please save the date!

WXXI, Eastman School of Music, REF Partner on Instrument Drive

  before "From the Top" Radio Program March 19

March 6, 2014

   We are pleased to be partnering with WXXI and the Eastman School of  

   Music on a musical instrument drive to benefit our Spring for Music

   Opportunities program March 19. The collection will take place from 2 to 

   7 p.m. in the Wolk Atrium at the Eastman Theatre. It will take place

    prior to the live presentation of the national NPR program "From

    the Top with Host Christopher O'Riley" featuring performances by

    talented young musicians from Rochester and beyond. We will be   

    collecting donated musical instruments, as well as musical materials   

    such as music stands, basic musical instruction books and metronomes.

    Please consider donating an instrument or musical materials, and

    attending this exciting event. For more information please go to:

     Spring for Music Opportunities

     WXXI From the Top


City Announces March College Madness With REF, RCAN Partnering

March 6, 2014

   Students in Rochester will get support completing their financial aid

   forms during the March College Madness initiative announced today

   by Mayor Lovely Warren. The city-organized event will take place on

   Saturday March 22 and Saturday March 29 (details at link below).

   Multiple area colleges and universities are partnering on the initiative,

   along with the  Rochester College Access Network, a program of REF.

   The Network will be helping to spread the word about the event,

   and also coordinating membership support of students during the


   Schedule of Events

Fairport Collecting Musical Instruments for City Students This Month

   March 3, 2014

   Thanks to Fairport and our partner - Fairport Area Community Education

   Trust (FACET) for offering a musical instrument drive to benefit our

   Spring for Music Opportunities program. Musical instruments and musical

   supplies will be donated to REF to support city students. Collection

   boxes will be at a wealth of Fairport Middle and High School events

   this month. Thank you, FACET!

   Fairport Collection Information

   Spring for Music Opportunities


Lunch and Learn Event About College Access

   March 3, 2014

   REF and the Rochester College Access Network is helping to present a

   "Lunch and Learn" event for youth workers interested in supporting

    college access for our city youth. Thanks to Nazareth College and

    Metro Council for Teen Potential for partnering on this terrific, free

    event March 11. The event is full at this time, but we can add names

    to a waiting list. Please go to:

    Lunch and Learn

Endowment for REF Established at The Community Foundation

   February 18, 2014

   REF is happy to report that we have launched an Endowment Fund for

   Rochester Education Foundation at the Rochester Area Community

   Foundation. We hope this fund will help REF build a bright future for

   our efforts to support city students. Donors can donate to the fund

   through our well-respected Rochester Area Community Foundation.

   Of course REF continues to appreciate your contributions directly to our

   organization as well! For more information, please call us or go to:

   REF Endowment

Faith Community Supports College Access Information

   February 18, 2014

   The Rochester College Access Network, coordinated by REF, enlisted

   urban faith leaders to help spread the word about getting help to fill out

   financial aid application forms this winter. More than 220 faith leaders

   were informed about the RCAN's efforts to get more Rochester students

   to submit these essential forms. Free support is available at local

   college campuses, through high school guidance center offices, and

   in January through College Goal Sunday, a special event at East High

   School. Numerous students told organizers of College Goal Sunday

   that they heard about the event at church! This is a great connection

   to make. For more info about RCAN, please go to:

    Rochester College Access Network

College-Bound Student Receives Flute Through Music Fund      

Dec. 20, 2013
When RCSD Senior Jamichael Frazier made plans to audition at colleges as a prospective music major, his music teacher at Eastman Pathways was distressed.She said his borrowed instrument would not give him the tone he needed to truly compete with other students. Enter the REF Music Fund. In November, Mr. Frazier received a new flute from the Fund.

He told us: “I am extremely thankful for this opportunity because now I will be able to excel in my music auditions next month.” For a photo, and more information, please go to:

New Flute

Teachers' Choice

Dec. 20, 2013
An exciting array of projects involving the use of exciting -- and engaging -- new books will be supported this year through the Teachers' Choice program. Thirty-four educators will receive up to 200 new books apiece to support the program. At the end of the school year, most of the books will go home with students to build their home libraries. For a list of teachers whose projects will be supported, please go to:

Teachers' Choice Recipients 2013-2014


New REF Music Fund Launched

Nov 5, 2013
REF has created a music fund to expand opportunities for city students.

Thanks to a generous grant to start the fund from the Ruth M. Knight Foundation, the Fund has already purchased 17 digital keyboards for the extended-day program at School 9, and will be providing food and transportation for city students performing at the local RPO Holiday Chorale Concert. We also are working with music teachers to raise funds for talented RCSD high-school students who need quality musical instruments to audition for college music programs - and working to support present and future student needs. For more information, please go to:

Spring for Music - Music Fund


Teachers' Choice Kicks Off: Apply from Nov 1 to Nov 22

Nov 1, 2013
Educators can apply for up to 200 new books through REF's Teachers' Choice program. Rochester City School District educators can apply for the books through our competitive process. We are pleased to report that we'll be giving away thousands of books once again to support creative literacy projects. For more information, please go to

Monroe Class of 1963 Supports Current Grads

October 25, 2013
Thanks to the Monroe High School Class of 1963 for joining together to create a tremendous gift to current students! The Monroe Class of 1963 joins the Monroe Class of 1960 in supporting Last-Dollar Grants for Monroe graduates during their college years. The Class of 1960 kicked it off -- and the Class of 1963 is adding to the fund. Thank you to these generous RCSD graduates.


Recognition Dinner Honors City School Partners

October 10 2013
Thanks to the nearly 400 people who supported REF by attending our Partnership Recognition Dinner on Oct 9, 2013. Keynoter Roland Williams, who received the Alumni Award, joined other honorees Laura Delehanty, Kevin Doran, Third Presbyterian Church, John Fetter and Denise Rainey. Kudos to all! For photos and story please go to:

We did it! 1,000 Instruments for City Students

July 1, 2013
REF surpassed its goal of collecting 1,000 instruments on the final night of the 2013 Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival! And, instruments continue to come into its offices. As of today, the total has reached 1,006. Since 2008, REF has been collecting instruments at the Jazz Fest thanks to M&T Bank's generous donation of its booth. Volunteers from M&T Bank, REF's Board of Directors, Rochester AmeriCorps, and the community collected instruments at the booth every evening of the Festival. REF will be donating the instruments for city school's instrumental music classes, and this year, for the first time, for extended-day programming at city schools.

Penfield Drive: 22 Instruments Donated

June 6, 2013
Kudos to the community of Penfield and the Music Club of the Penfield High School! A total of 22 musical instruments were donated this past weekend to REF to benefit our Spring for Music program. The drive was the second drive offered by the Music Club of Penfield High School. Thanks to the club, and to student Eliott Rosenberg and Music Department chair James Doser for their tremendous work on the drive.

Parkleigh Partnering with REF for Jazz Fest - Join Us There June 1!

May 29, 2013
Parkleigh, at 215 Park Avenue, is helping REF support opportunities for Rochester city youth! We are happy to announce that Parkleigh will highlight our "Reach for a Thousand" campaign this year to collect our 1000th musical instrument through our Spring for Music campaign. We have collected 910 to date, since the program started in 2005. Parkleigh has a window featuring our program from the end of May through the month of June. Parkleigh also will be collecting musical instruments for the program throughout the month of June. REF gives donors a tax receipt if they fill out the required form at Parkleigh. On June 1, we encourage you to stop in at Parkleigh from noon to 4 p.m. as we kick off our "Reach for a Thousand" campaign. To see the Parkleigh window, please go to:
Parkleigh Spring for Music Window

Penfield High School Offers Instrument Drive with REF

May 22, 2013
REF is pleased to partner with Penfield High School this Spring to support our Spring for Music program. The High School is offering an instrument drive May 31 and June 1. Instruments, musical equipment and musical instruction books will be collected at the high school Friday May 31. Then the drive moves to the Penfield Town Hall Amphitheatre from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday and 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday. All instruments and materials will be given to Rochester Education Foundation. REF will send tax receipts to instrument donors.

Thanks to Gretchen's Kids

May 16, 2013
Thank you to Gretchen's Kids, a foundation created in memory of Rochester native Gretchen Stephan. Ms. Stephan was a professional educator who died while waiting for an organ transplant. The foundation supports literacy and recently provided generous support to REF for our Give Back, Give Books program. The foundation also encourages everyone to consider organ transplantation, and we are happy to help spread the word! Go to:
Gretchen's Kids

Farash Foundation Grant Supports Summer Internships Program

May 16, 2013
Thanks to the Farash Foundation for its generous support of Rochester Education Foundation and the work we do supporting paid summer internships for city students. A grant from the Farash Foundation will provide support for a coordinator to work with employers, educators and students in city schools during the 2013-2014 school year. REF is a partner with the National Academy Foundation program and its local business advisory boards. We will use this support to provide more opportunities to city students through this program. This summer students will be working with a range of excellent Rochester businesses, including the Rochester Red Wings, Advantage and ESL Federal Credit Unions and M/E Engineering. For more information about the program, go to:
Summer Internships

Math Club Thrives at School 10 Thanks to REF Support

May 9, 2013
Through rain, snow, sleet and hail the third, fourth and fifth graders at Dr. Walter Cooper School 10 have been enjoying math club this year. But by mid-winter, students were having trouble getting to the club, which starts 45 minutes before the official start of the school day. Enter the Dr. Walter Cooper Fund! Thanks to a generous donor's gift, REF has been able to provide buses for students to get to the math club. Problem solved! For a story and photo about the math club, please go to:
Fun at Math Club

Parkleigh Teams with REF to Promote "Reach for 1000"

May 6, 2013
Two events at Parkleigh, 215 Park Ave., will highlight REF's Spring for Music and our "Reach for 1000" campaign to receive our 1000th musical instrument donation this year. We have collected more than 900 musical instruments since launching this program in 2005 to expand musical opportunities for city students. Parkleigh will help spread the word about REF and our drive on Wed. May 8 from 6 to 8 p.m. with an event featuring the percussion group Nexus and musician Gary Kvistad, creator of the melodious Woodstock Chimes. Then on June 1 Parkleigh will have a special event honoring the debut of a Parkleigh window focused on Spring for Music! We are thrilled that Parkleigh will also collect instruments on our behalf donated on that day at Parkleigh. Of course all instrument donors receive a tax receipt - and the pleasure of knowing the instrument will be used and enjoyed by a city student.

REF College Readiness Report Release

May 1, 2013
What would it take to get more Rochester city students into college? And why do many other communities do a better job than Rochester of guiding students to a brighter future after high school graduation? REF spent 8 months examining the in-school and out-of-school support for city students considering college to complete a report for The Rochester Area Community Foundation. The report also looked at national examples of college support at a community level. The report offers recommendations and a listing of community programs in Rochester offering support to students. We hope this will be a valuable resource for the community, and help spur change in this area. The bottom line? There are many good programs, but the approach to providing help is fragmented and much more help is needed. Many other communities are joining together to support urban students - and seeing a larger number of students succeed.

To see the report, please go to:
Making a College Education Attainable for Rochester City Students

Roland Williams Keynoter At Annual Dinner Oct. 9

April 9, 2013
Mark your calendars!

REF's is proud to announce the keynote speaker at our Fall Dinner: Roland Williams, an East High School and Syracuse University graduate who enjoyed a stellar career as a pro-football player. Mr. Williams received 1998 Offensive Rookie of the Year honors. During his career, he was a member of the Super Bowl-winning St. Louis Rams, and played for the Oakland Raiders when the team won the American Football Conference championship.

Mr. Williams has received many awards for his charitable efforts, including the NFL Unsung Hero Award and the Press Radio Club Pro Athlete of the Year. Mr. Williams has been a sports analyst for more than a decade. He has appeared on media including CBS Sports Network, ESPN and other networks. He currently is a speaker, trainer and author. He has written three books, including 365 Happy: The Simple and Funny Playbook for Happiness You Should Read ASAP.

How do you get from East High School to the NFL? And how do you build a successful career after the NFL? We look forward to hearing all about it from Mr. Williams.

Other honorees at this annual partnership awards dinner will be announced over the next few weeks. For information about our VIP reception with Mr. Williams, sponsorship opportunities and more, please go to:
Partnership Awards Dinner

Book Bash April 10

March 22, 2013
Help us kick off Spring and support city students at our Book Bash April 10 from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Wintonaire, 628 Winton Road North. Delicious snacks, raffle and great company. Happy Hour drink specials. Event to benefit literacy programs of REF and the children of School 28. Cost? $20 per person or $15 with a new book which we will donate to the children at School 28. Admission includes one raffle ticket. For more info and to register, please go to:
Book Bash

Summer Work Internships Pave Way To Success

Feb. 21, 2013
For many Rochester students, receiving a paid summer internship is a key step on the road to career success. Nihada Rizvanovic -- an internship alum and Franklin HS graduate -- now manages the Advantage Federal Credit Union branch at RIT. She suggests that other students also seek internships through the program: "I did an internship at Advantage and I'm still here seven years later."

The story of Ms. Rizvanovic and many others can be found in the Winter NAF Rochester newsletter, available below. Please read the newsletter and consider whether your business, not-for-profit, or organization might be able to support a paid internship for a city student this summer. This is a great way to support urban youth, fill in for vacationing employees, and invest in the future of our community. Stuart Hencke, at 271-5790, is happy to go to your workplace to talk about the program. To read the newsletter, please go to:
NAF Winter 2013 Newsletter

Creativity Marks Teachers' Choice Projects

Feb. 19, 2013
Students at School 43 will be making wire sculptures and learning about Alexander Calder through the book "Sandy's Circus." At the All-City High School, students will be reading books about World War Ii designed specially for the needs of new English speakers. And at School 50, there will be "March Madness" - focused on reading Dr. Seuss books!

With winter in full swing, nearly all the new books have been distributed to the 29 educator winners of our Teachers' Choice awards. Most books are given to students at the end of the year for their home libraries. REF will be striving to support more applicants next year to this popular program. For more information, go to:
Teachers' Choice

Franklin Graduate Gives $25,000 to Support RocRead, REF

Group Asks Community for Matching Funds

January 31, 2013
There will be a lot more city students reading books over school vacations this year thanks to a generous grant of $25,000 from the William Levine and Mildred Levine Foundation to REF. Mr. Levine is a Franklin graduate. RocRead is a community collaboration providing books to kids and a variety of great incentives to readers: Wegmans meals, Razorsharks and Red Wings tickets and more. As a partner in this effort, REF oversees funds for the program and uses our buying power to purchase books at the best price possible - so as many students as possible can receive a book! "The RocRead program supports the district's goals of getting 90 percent of children to read at grade level by third grade," said Superintendent Dr. Bolgen Vargas. To support the program, go to:

Winter Tunes Concert Feb 10

January 23, 2013
Enjoy some great music on a winter day! A concert to benefit Music Through the Ages, a collaborative program with Rochester Education Foundation, will be held at 2 p.m. Feb 10 at Visual Studies Workshop, 31 Prince St. The White Hots and the Nate Rawls Band with the String Song Orchestra will be featured at the concert. Suggested donation is $10. All donations are tax-deductible. Music Through the Ages offers musical programs to students at School 19. For more information about the program, go to:

Music Through the Ages

Books On Tape Available

December 10, 2012
Thanks to a generous gift from Scholastic Books, REF is offering a variety of audiobooks to educators in RCSD to use with students for educational purposes. There are 68 titles and 2000 copies overall, most for students 8 to 13 years old. Audiobooks are available on a first-come, first-served basis for educational projects. Educators can request up to 100 audiotapes, with a minimum of 20. Interested teachers should contact Stuart Hencke of REF with a list of desired books, plan for the audiobooks, quantity, their job title and school. The audiobooks will be available for pick-up from the REF office. We will contact applicants by January 10.

Click here to see the list of available audiobooks:
REF 2012 Audiobooks (Excel Spreadsheet)

Thousands of Books Awarded to Educators

December 7, 2012
REF announced the recipients of its Teachers' Choice book awards today, and city students will benefit from the rich array of thousands of new books in their classrooms. Books will fuel a wide range of wonderful activities for city students, including a Literacy Tea Party with parents, book clubs, a personal finance fair created by students, and much more.

A total of 29 educators will receive up to 200 new books apiece through the competitive application process.

Fewer educators received books this year, because REF now enables educators to request special-order books, which are more expensive. Last year, all book recipients selected books from REF's supply of new books. Due to educator requests, REF now offers special-order books in addition to books from our general book supply.

Books are given to educators to support literacy. Most of the books are used during the school year, then sent home for students to keep for home libraries. Due to teacher request, this year educators can also keep a class set so their projects can be offered in the future.

A total of 55 applications were received. Click here to read the list of award winners:
Teachers' Choice Book Award Winners 2012

Dr. Walter Cooper Featured with REF Project

September 8, 2012
We were proud to see the Democrat and Chronicle story about Dr. Walter Cooper -- deemed a superhero by columnist Erica Bryant. Dr. Cooper's commitment to young people makes him a worthy recipient of the title. After all, REF awarded Dr. Cooper its Lifetime Commitment to Children and Education Award in 2006!

REF is also proud that the major activity profiled -- Dr. Cooper's personal distribution of book shelves and books to children at home this summer -- is an REF project which brought great joy -- and, we hope, enhanced reading skill -- to the recipients.

Dr. Cooper wanted to focus this reading support on children in special need of reading help. REF worked with Dr. Cooper to have book shelves made by adults in RCSD's OACES program, to order age-appropriate books, and to accompany Dr. Cooper on the book deliveries.

Each child who received a bookshelf and book collection was told that Dr. Cooper would talk to them about their summer reading on the first day of school. Sure enough, Dr. Cooper was there, greeting the students, and reminding them that reading is essential for success.

Click here to read the article, as published in the Democrat and Chronicle.

Summer Reading Boost from Dr. Cooper to Students at Home

August 16, 2012
This summer Dr. Walter Cooper and REF are personally delivering books and hand-made bookshelves to students in need of reading support. They all are students at the Dr. Walter Cooper School. "I want you to read all of these books by the start of school," Dr. Cooper tells each child. "I will talk to you about them on the first day." Dr. Walter Cooper is one of the few living Rochesterians to have a city school named after him. One of the reasons he is so honored is his long-time commitment to the youth of Rochester as a retired Kodak scientist, a youth advocate and a member emeritus of the NY State Board of Regents. Each of 15 children is receiving 8 to 10 books and a wooden book shelf, provided through REF's Dr. Walter Cooper Fund. For photos of the book distribution and more information, go to:
Dr. Cooper Books and Bookshelf to Students

Donation from Gretchen's Kids Honors Teacher Gretchen Stephan

July 13, 2012
We are thankful to Gretchen's Kids, Inc., for a generous gift of $1,500 to support our Give Back, Give Books program. Gretchen's Kids is a charitable group created in memory of Gretchen Stephan, a Rochester native who was a professional educator in the Rochester area for many years, before relocating to Atlanta. Ms. Stephan died when she 39 years old, waiting for a lung transplant. Gretchen's Kids supports a variety of worthy programs, and works to spread the word about the need for organ transplation. Thank you for this generous support! For more information, go to:
Gretchen's Kids

Jazz Fest Success: Collected Instruments Double!

July 3, 2012
Trumpets, trombones, saxophones and so much more were contributed at the REF-M&T Bank booth at the Rochester Jazz Fest, which concluded June 30th. We are thrilled to report that we have received 24 musical instruments -- double the number received last year! Thanks to M&T Bank for contributing the booth to REF. Thanks also to our generous donors and the wonderful volunteer crew which kept the booth open nightly from 5 to 8 p.m. Thanks to all for helping to share the wonderful gift of instrumental music with our city school students!

Lord Voldemort and School of the Arts Win Fun Polls at Jazz Fest

July 3, 2012
Lord Voldemort -- a villain also known as he who must not be named -- was the favorite children's book villain among hundreds of Jazz Fest goers polled at the REF booth by volunteers. Because he was the favorite, additional Harry Potter books will be purchased for city school students through REF's Give Back, Give Books program. REF has donated more than 30,000 new books to city students through this program.

School of the Arts was the winner in our first "Favorite City School" pool conducted during the Jazz Fest. REF will give SOTA a collection of books for its library in honor of this victory.

REF Gives Monroe High Library 42 Books

June 19, 2012
Thanks to generous donors at the REF Book Bash, Monroe High School students will have more pleasure-reading books at the school. REF delivered 42 new books to the school library today. While students are currently in the midst of final exams, the new books will be waiting for them to read in the Fall at the library!

REF's Book Bash was a friend-raising and fund-raising event held on June 12, 2012. Guests joined REF board members and staff at La Luna, 60 Browns Race, overlooking High Falls to celebrate literacy and gather resources for the Monroe High School library.

Spotlight on REF Honoree Burnice Green, Sr. in D and C

June 18, 2012
The glowing portrait of Burnice Green, Sr. and his boys program at School 9 in the Democrat and Chronicle this week comes as no surprise to friends who attended the our 5th Annual Partnership Dinner in 2010, when Mr. Green was honored with REF's Making a Difference award. At that time, Mr. Green was runnning the boys' group at School 9. The young men Mr. Green brought to the dinner showed great manners and were visibly delighted to be there. Mark your calendars for our 7th Partnership Awards Dinner, to be held on October 16, 2012.

Click here to read the first installment of the D&C's story about the expansion of Mr. Green's program to an all-day academic program.
Click here to read the second installment.
Click here to read the third installment.

Monroe Class of 1960, REF Present College Grants to Three

May 21, 2012
It is truly a gift that keeps on giving - and building success for our young people! The gift is the establishment of the Monroe High School Class of 1960/REF grant awards. The young people are the three outstanding students who have been selected to launch the awards.

Paul Goldberg, a member of the Class of 1960, engaged a group of his fellow class members - including current Monroe teacher Ruth Cohen - to support present students in honor of the 50th anniversary of the class. Each student will receive $500 per year for up to four years to help them to succeed in college. The students are Madeline Wearen, Luis Miguel Rivera-Cruz, and Jasmina Heganovic (left to right in the accompanying photo). Three additional students will be chosen next year. In their applications, students noted that they have been seeking ways to fill the gaps between scholarship, work and whatever funds their families can contribute. As Mr. Rivera-Cruz noted: "This grant will financially help me with some expenses required to become a great student."

Click here for all the details.

Book Bash Fundraiser at La Luna June 12

May 21, 2012
Help us celebrate June with hot hors-doevres, good company, door prizes from Ward's Scientific and other friends -- and support REF! The event is from 5 to 7 p.m. at La Luna, 60 Browns Race, overlooking High Falls. The first 10 people to register will get two free tickets to the Red Wings, thanks to our friends at Advantage Federal Credit Union. We ask that you bring a new book at a high school reading level. At this Book Bash, all new books will go to the Monroe High School library. The cost is $20, which includes a raffle ticket, delicious hors-doevres and a fantastic view. If you bring a new children's book, the cost goes down to $15. Please sign up by June 8.

For more information and to sign up for the event, please go to:
Book Bash June 12

Wegmans Women Support City Students

April 24, 2012

Thank you to Wegmans United Way Women’s Leadership group for its generous support of REF and its programs! At its Give Like a Girl breakfast March 26, these generous women donated 118 wonderful new children’s books and 70 blankets to REF. As a follow-up to breakfast, 17 of these professional women volunteered to visit city school classrooms and read with students. To date, Mimi Hawkins, Megan Benjamin, Christine Budgen, Ellen Campbell and April Purdie have read with 2nd graders in Georgina Konecy-Perry's classroom at Dag Hammerskjold School No. 6 while Tara Germano, Diane Lawatsch, Karen Mulcahy and Kathy Welch have read with 2nd grader in Bruce Finch’s classroom at the Early Childhood School No. 57 (along with REF volunteer Marilyn Berman). An added bonus to these visits has been an opportunity for the students to ask questions about Wegmans and the many career opportunities available there.

     Wegmans women read to students

New REF Program Offers Last-Dollar Grants to Monroe Students

March 22, 2012

What happens when students without a lot of money start college? Often they can't afford what other students take as basic requirements for living -- an occasional weekend home, bed sheets and blankets, and even books needed to excel. Thanks to generous gifts from the Monroe High School Class of 1960, REF will be donating $500 per year to three students beginning with the 2012-13 school year and continuing for up to four years of college. Next year three additional students will be selected to receive $500 per year for up to four years of college. REF also is offering a special presentation to students at the school about financial survival in college. To support the program, please go to:

Support for Last-Dollar Grants


Internship Conference March 27

March 22, 2012

What do you wear for a job interview? What should you tell an interviewer if you've never had a paid job? City high school students preparing for the REF - National Academy Foundation Summer Paid Internship program will be learning the anwers to those questions -- and all about the world of work at Rochester Institute of Technology on Tuesday March 27. Please contact us if you may be interested in hosting a trained student in a paid summer internship this summer. For more information about the program, please go to:

REF-NAF Career Training and Summer Jobs

REF Welcomes Roc City Cycling Program

March 15, 2012
A new program offering a 12-week cycling program for city students is the latest program to link to Rochester Education Foundation. The program launched this spring serving students from the Leadership Academy for Young Men and Charlotte High School. Through the activity, students will learn the sport of cycling, earn a new quality road bike with gear, and participate in a 100-mile ride for charity for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at the end of the 12 weeks. Created by longtime cyclist Dave Abercrombie and Darrick Wilson, the programs seeks to support students and their families, help students train as cyclists, and ultimately help them attain cycling scholarships. The first group of cyclists started training this month. To support the program, please see link below and designate donations to REF-Roc City Cycling Foundation.

REF-Roc City Cycling Foundation Donations

REF Donates 30,000th Book Through Give Back, Give Books Program

March 8, 2012
Students in two classes at School 16 enjoyed a reading extravaganza this afternoon to celebrate REF's donation of the 30,000th book to a city student through our Give Back, Give Books program. Students in the classes of two educators who have received books - Lisa Oliver and Paula Givens - enjoyed stories read to them by Kevin Doran of Channel 8 and Fox News, Doug Emblidge of Channel 13, and Patty Ford of the Democrat and Chronicle. Then each student received a book to bring home. Seven-year-old Mehki McCray received THE 30,000th book in recognition of his great reading progress this year. To see photos from the event, please go to:
30,000th Book Day

Nominations, Volunteers Needed for October 16 Partnership Dinner

February 29, 2012
Do you know a terrific city school volunteer, educator or business partner? Please consider nominating them by May 1 to be honored at our Partnership Awards Dinner October 16. We bring attention to the people who make a difference in students' lives. To submit a nomination, please send us information about what your nominee does for city students and why they deserve to be honored. We also are looking for creative volunteers to help make this event better than ever as we plan  and present the dinner. To volunteer, please contact us. Please send nominations or offers to volunteer to, or call us at 271-5790 for more information.

To read about past dinners, please go to:
Partnership Awards Dinner

Eastman School of Music Student Group, REF Partner for Instrument Drive

February 20, 2012
A group of caring Eastman students are making it easier this spring to donate instruments and drawing attention to the need for musical instruments for city students. The partnership between Eastman School of Music chapter of the National Association for Music Education and REF will offer five drop-off points in the city and Webster. The drive runs from February through March 31. Eastman students also are presenting two fund-raising concerts to purchase more instruments. All donors can receive a tax receipt through REF. "We're looking forward to a successful collaboration and drive to help boost the music programs for elementary and secondary students," said Emeric Viani, president of the Eastman student chapter. REF has donated more than 800 musical instruments to city students through our Spring for Music program. We are happy to collaborate on this effort with these future leaders of music education!

Click here for drop-off site, concert information

RBTL, News 10 WHEC, and Advantage Federal Credit Union Launch Children's Book Drive for REF

January 12, 2012
A New Year's toast to our community partners for encouraging great theater and reading! The Rochester Broadway Theatre League (RBTL), News 10 WHEC, and Advantage Federal Credit Union are joining REF to launch a campaign to collect new children’s books for Rochester city school students during each of the next three RBTL Broadway national touring shows. When you book your tickets at the RBTL box office for Shrek: The Musical, Jersey Boys, or South Pacific, you are encouraged to donate a book to REF. Advantage Federal Credit Union members who donate a book will be given $10 off on the price of their ticket. The RBTL Box Office, located at the Auditorium Theater, 885 East Main Street, is open Monday through Friday from 10 am to 5 pm, and Saturday from 10 am to 2 pm.

"Winter Tunes" to Benefit Music through the Ages

January 22, 2012
REF program, Music through the Ages (MTTA,) presents Winter Tunes, Sunday, January 22, beginning at 2 p.m. at the Visual Studies Workshop, 31 Prince Street. Featuring six premiere Rochester bands -- the Dady Brothers, Allen Hopkins, The White Hots, Steve Piper and Scott Regan, Kinloch Nelson, and Nate Rawls Band with the String Song Orchestra -- Winter Tunes is a musical fund raiser to support MTTA. MTTA was established to carry on the legacy of Rochester musician and teacher Dennis Monroe by providing access to the arts for underserved students in the Rochester City School District. MTTA partners with Dr. Charles T. Lunsford School No. 19 on the city’s southwest side, where it has provided an ongoing program of musical performances, classes and workshops since June 2009, under the auspices of REF. Suggested donation for attendees is $10.

Click here for more information about Music through the Ages.

Educators to Receive up to 5,000 New Books from REF

December 2, 2011
Forty-one educators will receive up to 200 new books apiece to use with students and then give to students for their home libraries, REF announced today. Students will use the books in a variety of ways, ranging from using the books to help create a "Literacy Lane," to collaborations with art teachers and many other activities focused on encouraging reading and literacy. Books will be distributed in December, January and February.

Click here for the list of recipients from the 2011-2012 Teachers' Choice process.

Wilson Outdoors Club Benefit Reception Dec. 1, Pomodoro Grill

November 18, 2011
The Wilson Outdoors Club is one of many organizations in city schools that is supported through Rochester Education Foundation. The group provides high school students with opportunities to explore the outdoors, offering everything from kayak outings to sledding and a camping trip. The group is offering a fundraising event from 6 to 8 p.m. Dec. 1 at Pomodoro Grill and Wine Bar, 1290 University Ave. There will be hors d'oevres and a cash bar for $15. RSVP by Nov. 28 to Dawn Shumway, at:

Click here for more information about the Wilson Outdoors Club.

Books Available for City Teachers Through Teachers' Choice

October 13, 2011
Educators once again have an opportunity to apply for up to 200 new books apiece through Rochester Education Foundation's Teachers' Choice application process of the Give Back, Give Books program. Up to 5,000 new books will be distributed to city school teachers this year. All books must be given to city students for their home libraries by the last day of school in June 2012. Applications will be accepted through the end of the day Nov 4, 2011. Educators are advised to read the guidelines carefully as some have changed. Last year 44 of 149 applicants received books through the competitive process. For more information and to apply please go to:

GM Recycling Collection Day Oct 5: We'll Be There!

Sept. 13, 2011
Yet another chance to give new life to that flute! REF will be collecting musical instruments to be donated for use by city students from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 5. at a terrific Recycling Collection Day sponsored by GM Components Holdings, 1000 Lexington Ave. in Rochester. You can drop off instruments for REF. A range of other companies and organizations will also be there collecting computers, television sets and other electronics, cell phones, eyeglasses, bicycles and clothing. All will be reused or recycled. Participants must verify that all electronics are generated by households - this is not for business recycling. GM Components Holdings will also have a Community Open House that day from 10 am. to 8 pm.

Honorees Announced for REF Oct. 12 Dinner

Aug. 24, 2011
REF has announced the honorees at the Sixth Annual Partnership Awards Dinner to be held Oct. 12, 2011. They are Rob and Priscilla Brown, Dr. Larry Ellison, principal of School 33, Dr. Naomi Erdmann, director of Graduate Literacy Programs at Nazareth College, ESL Federal Credit Union, and teachers Merrill Mey and Elizabeth Schindler.

Click here to learn more about our award winners.
Click here for the details about our Partnership Awards Dinner.

Fall Application Process for REF's New Books for City Students

July 28, 2011
Educators in Rochester City School District will be encouraged once again to apply for up to 200 new books apiece this Fall, through REF's Give Back, Give Books program. Educators apply through the competitive Teachers' Choice application process for new pleasure-reading books to

be used for creative literacy activities, then donated to students to keep for their home libraries. Last year, 44 of 149 applicants were selected. Educators who are interested in applying should send us their e-mail addresses so you will receive our e-mail newsletter. We will inform you through the newsletter when the applications are available on-line -- most likely in October. Also, check our website, and news reports here for when to apply!

Our program received a positive evaluation from Wendy Fritz, Ed.D this year! To read a review of the report, click here.

Generous Donors Support REF and City Students at Jazz Fest

June 20, 2011
Instruments large and small were dropped off at the REF booth at the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival, with a total of 14 musical instruments donated, as well as two music stands. Thank you to donors of beautiful instruments, including two trumpets, two electric guitars, an alto saxophone and a viola. Several would-be donors said they would be dropping musical instruments off at our office after the festival. All instruments will be used to expand musical opportunities for city students. Thanks also to M&T Bank for giving us the booth!

The promoters of the Jazz Festival reported on REF's success, too. Click here to read their report.

Big Win for Bear, Cat and Monkey in REF Book Poll

June 20, 2011
Winnie the Pooh is the favorite children's book character among the 953 people interviewed at the Rochester Jazz Festival by volunteers at the REF booth. Winnie the Pooh took a commanding lead from Day 1, and kept his lead throughout the festival. REF will purchase copies of the top ten books and donate them to city students as part of our Give Back, Give Books program, through which city students receive thousands of new books each year. The Cat from Cat in the Hat is second, with Curious George finishing third.

Top Finishers in Poll

Penfield High Drive Successful

June 6, 2011
An outpouring of support from the Penfield community resulted in donations of 18 musical instruments for city students through a Penfield High School instrument drive June 3 and 4. Instruments donated include two trumpets, a bassoon, three flutes and an electric guitar. All instruments will be given to the city school district for student use. Thanks to the generous support of Penfield students and the community!

Jazzed Up About Books Comes to World of Inquiry School

June 1, 2011
Just how many ways can you play Row, Row, Row Your Boat? World of Inquiry students heard a tuneful few during a special Jazzed Up About Books event this morning. Thanks to the support of M&T Bank, students enjoyed a performance and talk with professional musician Herb Smith and Rochester International Jazz Festival Exec. Director Marc Iacona. Each student also received a book about jazz thanks to M&T Bank's collaboration with REF.

Book Bash June 29

May 23, 2011
Celebrate the end of school with REF! Come join us for hot hors-d'oeuvres and fun door prizes from Ward's Natural Science as REF hosts a fundraising Book Bash June 29 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at Pomodoro Grill and Wine Bar, 1290 University Ave. Thanks to event sponsors Advantage Federal Credit Union and Ward's! The cost is $20, or $15 if you bring a new book for a city student.

Click here to read the invitation.

REF Will Have a Jazz Fest Booth Again

May 23, 2011
Thanks to M&T Bank, REF will once again be collecting musical instruments for city students and meeting jazz fans at the Rochester International Jazz Festival June 10 - 18. M&T Bank is generously allowing REF to use this booth space for the fourth year in a row. We look forward to seeing friends, meeting new friends and helping find new homes for musical instruments.

Penfield High School Collects Musical instruments for City Students

May 23, 2011
Penfield High School students are collecting musical instruments through our Spring for Music Program June 3 and 4, 2011 in Penfield. Instruments will be collected at Penfield High School during the school day Friday June 3, and at the Amphitheatre at Penfield Town Hall from 5 to 8 p.m. June 3 and 12 - 6 p.m. June 4. We salute the Penfield students for reaching out to support Rochester city students.

Click here for the whole story.

Thanks to MCC

May 4, 2011
REF thanks Monroe Community College faculty and staff for their generous contribution of $304.48 from the "Community Fridays for a Cause" program. We appreciate your support!

Support from Brighter Days Foundation

May 1, 2011
We are happy to report that we have received a $5,000 grant from the Brighter Days Foundation. The foundation reported that it "values your organization as well as the programs that REF fosters for Rochester's schoolchildren and their teachers." Thank you!

United Way and REF - Donor Designation 2529

April 30, 2011
Supporters of REF have a new way to contribute to our organization with the addtion of REF as a donor designation eligible agency. Donors who choose to designate should use the United Way Designation form and indicate REF, donor designation 2529, as a recipient of their gift. Donors may give to more than one organization through this process.

Click here to make a United Way gift to REF.

Random House Donates 369 Books on Tape to REF

March 21, 2011
REF has receieved a generous gift of 369 books on tape from Random House Listening Library to encourage student literacy in Rochester. High-quality, new books on tape include well-known novels by prominent children's authors such as Phyllis Reynolds Naylor and Stephenie Meyer, and many others. Educators teaching at city schools can apply for the high-quality books on tape for their classrooms.

Click here for the whole story.

John F. Wegman Fund Grant Supports Summer Jobs for Students

March 18, 2011
Three city high school students will be employed in paid internships this summer, thanks to a generous grant from the John F. Wegman Fund of The Community Foundation. The grant also supports some of the training needed for students as they apply for internships this Spring. The jobs are made available by employers and donors through REF's collaboration with the National Academy Foundation program and the Rochester City School District. All students who receive the jobs must succeed in classes in school in their chosen career area, then participate in special job-training activities. We hope to offer 30 quality, paid student jobs through the program this summer.

Click here for the whole story.

Biographer Visits City Students Through REF Program

March 18, 2011
Biographer Carole Boston Weatherford will be visiting Rochester April 4-6 through the Give Back, Give Books program of REF thanks to a grant from the Leon Levy Foundation. Ms. Weatherford will visit students at Nathaniel Rochester School, talk about biographies and share with students her experience writing books about figures ranging from Harriet Tubman to Arctic explorer Matthew Henson and musician John Coltrane.

Students who meet Ms. Weatherford will also receive one of her biographies to keep, thanks to REF's collaboration with Rochester City School District. Ms. Weatherford will also visit Nazareth College education students through an additional collaboration. We look forward to the visit!

Click here for the whole story.

Teachers' Choice Book Distribution Supports Student Reading

November 15, 2010
Almost 150 teachers applied to receive new books through REF's ongoing Teachers' Choice application process, part of our successful Give Back, Give Books program. Forty-four applicants were chosen to receive books for a wide variety of great projects that will benefit city students at all grade levels.

Click here for the whole story.

Honorees Announced for 2010 Partnership Awards Dinner

September 1, 2010
If an RCSD teacher ever feels alone in his or her good work, he or she need only attend REF's Partnership Awards Dinner to understand the depth and breadth of the partnerships supporting city school students. On October 20, 2010, we will present an impressive slate of awards at our fifth annual Partnership Awards Dinner.

Click here to learn about our award winners.
Click here for the details about our Partnership Awards Dinner.


Cat in the Hat Gets Nod as Best Kids Book at Jazz Fest

June 28, 2010
Thanks to M&T Bank, REF once again had a booth at the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival. While our primary purpose there is to collect musical instruments for RCSD students through our Spring for Music program, volunteers staffing the booth polled Festival attendees about their favorite children's books.

Click here for the whole story.

Collaboration with National Academy Foundation (NAF) Announced

June 4, 2010
REF is proud to report that a new relationship has been established with the Rochester City School District's local chapter of the National Academy Foundation. With the help of NAF-provided course materials and the involvement of local businesses, themed academies are offered at three of the city's high schools, providing career-focused courses in addition to core classes. Students are also given opportunities to participate in a variety of activities including paid summer internships at local employers. REF will work to expand community involvement as internship providers, mentors and program committee members.

Click here for the whole story.

Biography Project for City Students Funded

May 15, 2010
Reading biographies can be particularly inspiring ...but what if the books in your school library are 20 years old? It's as if all the personalities of the last two decades don't exist. A newly-received grant from the Leon Levy Foundation will enable REF to acquire contemporary biographies for distribution through our Teachers' Choice process.

Click here for the whole story.

Teachers' Choice Book Distribution Supports Student Reading

December, 2009
More than 100 teachers applied to receive new books through REF's new Teachers' Choice application process, part of our ongoing Give Back, Give Books program. Twenty-eight applicants were chosen to receive books for a wide variety of great projects that will benefit city students at all grade levels.

Click here for the whole story.

4,000 Students to Receive Books and Blankets This Month

December 15, 2009
Donors near and far, individual and corporate, are making it possible for thousands of Rochester students to snuggle up with a new book and a fleece blanket this holiday season. Local luminaries joined BJ's employees to read to students at School 36 today, as this year's Book and a Blanket program got off to an exciting start.

Click here for the story and pictures.
Click here to read the Democrat and Chronicle's coverage.

REF "Book Social" Slated for November 10

November 6, 2009 Books and Buddies
Rochester Education Foundation will present a casual fundraising event Tuesday November 10th from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Monty's Corner, at the corner of Alexander and East Avenues. The REF Book Social, "Books and Buddies," features free appetizers, drink and beer specials, and the opportunity to meet others who care about city young people.

The cost is $20, including a contribution to REF to support our book programs for city students. Those who bring a new book for a city student pay $15.

There's free parking behind the Pita Pit when you mention REF.

For more information, call the REF office at 271-5790.

REF Book Fair at Barnes & Noble on August 22

July 29, 2009
Barnes & Noble in Pittsford Plaza is opening a new section for teacher and parent school materials, and celebrating with a benefit for REF.

Click here for all the details.

Major Supporters Enable REF to Continue Teachers' Choice in the Fall

July 29, 2009
Major donations from the Wilson Foundation, Rep. Susan John, and the M & T Bank Foundation will help REF donate thousands of books this fall through its Teachers' Choice program.

Click here for the whole story.

Honorees Announced for 2009 Partnership Awards Dinner

July 28, 2009
If an RCSD teacher ever feels alone in his or her good work, he or she need only attend REF's Partnership Awards Dinner to understand the depth and breadth of the partnerships supporting city school students. On October 20, 2009, we will present an impressive slate of awards at our fourth annual Partnership Awards Dinner.

Click here to learn about our award winners.
Click here for the details about our Partnership Awards Dinner.

United Way, Borders and Others Support City Students through REF

June 29, 2009
More than 1,500 new books will go to students this fall, thanks to a focus on literacy during the United Way of Greater Rochester's 2009 Day of Caring and an array of other book drives this spring. Ongoing donations like this continue to fuel our Give Back, Give Books program.

Click here for the whole story.

Jazz Festival Supports City Students

June 25, 2009
Generous donors have donated 16 musical instruments to us during and immediately after the 2009 edition of the Rochester International Jazz Festival, nudging the total collection of donated instruments over 600!

Click here for the story and photos.

REF to Collect Instruments for City Students at the Jazz Fest

Jazz Fest Logo

June 10, 2009
Wouldn't it be great to see the city students of today starring at future Jazz Festivals? A first step is making sure they get a chance to play an instrument. To that end, we're happy to report that we will be collecting musical instruments for city students again at a booth at this year's Rochester International Jazz Festival.

Thanks to M&T Bank, which is donating the booth for our use, and to all the volunteers -- including wonderful M&T folks! -- who will be sitting at the booth.

Click here for all the details.

Kidbridge Brings Students Together for a Ballgame

May 28, 2009
Students at Schools 9, 22 and 39 participate in REF's Kidbridge program with students at Pittsford, Victor and Honeoye-Falls Lima schools. During the school year their contact was mostly digital -- e-mail, podcasts and videophones. Today some of those city and suburban students enjoyed a relaxed opportunity to meet and enjoy one another's company, over hotdogs and a Redwings game at Frontier Field.

Click here for the story and photos.

Seventh-Grade Students Visit UR Dining Hall

April 15, 2009
A great field trip exposes kids to new ideas and new possibilities. This one did just that, taking students from Wilson Foundation Academy to the University of Rochester's Danforth Dining Hall to visit with food service professionals.

Click here for the whole story.

Teachers Receive Books for Selected Projects

March 31, 2009
More than 200 teachers applied to receive new books through REF's new Teachers' Choice application process, part of our ongoing Give Back, Give Books program. Twenty-six applicants were chosen to receive books for a wide variety of great projects that will benefit city students at all grade levels.

Click here for the whole story.

Nominations Requested For Best Educators, School Volunteers

March 19, 2009
REF is requesting nominations for awards to be presented at our annual Partnership Awards Dinner. We are seeking nominations for the best volunteer serving city school students as well as nominations for the best educators in city schools.

Click here for all the details.

REF Receives Time-Warner Support for Literacy Efforts

February 27, 2009
Time Warner logoTime Warner has donated $5,000 to Rochester Education Foundation to support its literacy efforts.

Click here to read the whole story.

Academy for Career Development Supports REF

February 27, 2009
Academy for Career Development
The Academy for Career Development has donated a computer and software to the Rochester Education Foundation to support its programs. The organization has a strong focus on helping city students, and we're proud to have their support!

Click here to read the whole story.

New REF Business Partners

February 3, 2009
Two unconventional local businesses -- Bucks4Books and Rochester Subway -- have become valuable partners of the Rochester Education Foundation, demonstrating once again the power of small business in our community.

Click here to read the whole story.

Obama Inauguration Event to Benefit REF

January 4, 2009
We're proud to report that REF has been chosen as the not-for-profit recipient of proceeds from the Rochester Inauguration Day Dinner January 20th at 7 p.m. at the Harro East Ballroom! Thanks to the organizers, Rochester for Obama, for using this historic moment to support city students. Proceeds will be used to purchase books for city school libraries about topics including the U.S. Civil Rights movement and biographies of contemporary leaders such as President-Elect Barack Obama. The event features dinner as well as music by Prime Time Funk and The Voices of Clouds, and will include remarks from Mayor Robert J. Duffy.

Click here to purchase tickets.

Thumbs Way Up!

January 3, 2009Thumbs up
Students at Fairbanks Road Elementary School in Churchville received a "THUMBS UP" in the Democrat and Chronicle today for their participation in our Book and a Blanket Program in late December.

Click here to read the story.

Pittsford, Rochester School Districts Work Together on Educational Project

December 17, 2008
Third graders at School 9 and at Pittsford elementary schools capped a months-long distance learning project with an activity day spent together at RIT. This Kidbridge project was facilitated by REF, with support from a $20,000 civic engagement grant given by the Rochester Area Community Foundation.

Click here to read the Democrat and Chronicle's coverage.

Record 4000 Book & Blanket Sets To Be Donated This Winter

December 15, 2008
Volunteers throughout Rochester and Monroe County have been hard at work for months, making blankets and collecting new books, in preparation for a massive distribution by the Book and a Blanket program.

Click here for the whole story.

Honorees Announced for 2008 Partnership Awards Dinner

July 29, 2008
If an RCSD teacher ever feels alone in his or her good work, he or she need only attend REF's Partnership Awards Dinner to understand the depth and breadth of the partnerships supporting city school students. On October 28, 2008, we will present an impressive slate of awards at our third annual Partnership Awards Dinner.

Click here to learn about our award winners.
Click here for the details about our Partnership Awards Dinner.

REF Receives New York State Grant

July 24, 2008
NYS logo Thanks to the efforts of Representative Joe Robach, Rochester Education Foundation has received a $15,000 New York State grant to support programs during the 2008-2009 school year.

Click here for the whole story.

Tickets Fore Charity to Benefit REF Jazz Fest Logo

July 2, 2008
The professional golfers on the Nationwide Tour stop at Irondequoit Country Club for the Xerox Classic golf tournament during the week of August 11 to 17. Buy your tickets through us, and the Rochester Education Foundation will receive 100% of the proceeds from your ticket purchase!

Click here for the whole story and our ticket order form.

Jazz Fest Donations, M & T Help City Students

June 23, 2008
M & T Bank, primary sponsor of the Rochester International Jazz Festival, generously offered REF a booth at the festival. We used it to gather donated musical instruments in support of our ongoing Spring for Music program, and generous festival attendees really came through! As a result, 41 instruments will go to work for students in city schools this fall.

Click here for the whole story.

REF to Collect Instruments for City Students at the Jazz Fest

Jazz Fest Logo

June 9, 2008
Wouldn't it be great to see the city students of today starring at future Jazz Festivals? A first step is making sure they get a chance to play an instrument. To that end, we're happy to report that we will be collecting musical instruments for city students from 5 to 9 p.m. nightly at a booth at the Rochester International Jazz Festival, June 13 - 21. The booth will be located under a tent on Jazz Street (known as Gibbs Street the rest of the year).

Thanks to M & T Bank, which is donating the booth for our use, and to our volunteers -- including city school music teachers -- who will be sitting at the booth.

REF's Spring for Music program, launched in 2005, has donated about 530 instruments to the city schools for use by students. Click here for more information about Spring for Music.

Brockport College Drive A SuccessBrockport Drive Logo

March 11, 2008
The College at Brockport has exceeded its goal, collecting 1,301 new books and 500 gently used books in its 2nd annual Have Heart, Give a Book drive. REF is proud to be a partner in the drive, which donates books to students in need in Monroe and Orleans counties.

Click here for the whole story.

Holiday Book Donations from Local Donors Brighten Season

January 15, 2008
Five local businesses contributed more than 700 new books for city school students over the holidays.

Click here for the whole story.

Give Back, Give Books Partners with Mayor's Literacy Initiative Holiday Book Drive

December 20, 2007
Rochester Education Foundation is proud to be a partner of the Holiday Book Drive of the Mayor's Literacy Initiative. Through this effort, about 3,200 city school students will receive a new book over the holidays.

Click here to learn more.

Books and Blankets Marks 2,000 Donations

December 14, 2007
A far-flung coalition of community groups has been moved to donate more than 2,000 books and blankets this season, and delivery to our youngest RCSD students is under way.

Click here for the story and photos.
Click here for the Democrat and Chronicle's coverage of a Books and Blankets delivery at School 22.

Second Graders Receive Calendars with Literacy Theme

December 13, 2007
Thanks to a generous donation from Wegmans, each RCSD second grader will receive a 2008 calendar that promotes reading.

Click here for the details.

Wilson Foundation Gift to Advance Give Back, Give Books

November 8, 2007
Rochester Education Foundation has received a generous $2,500 grant from the Wilson Foundation to expand and improve our Give Back, Give Books program.

Click here to learn more.

Books and Blankets: Holiday Gifts for City Kids

September 21, 2007
Our new Books and Blankets program, a collaboration with Buddies, Bridges and Brains, aims to create a unique gift for thousands of city kids this winter: a soft fleece blanket and a book, bound with a cheery ribbon.

Click here to learn more.

Partnership Dinner to Honor Shining Stars

August 29, 2007
In response to our public call for nominations, we heard about the wonderful work of numerous dynamic educators and volunteers. Our judges labored over their decision, and we will present seven very special awards at our annual Partnership Awards Dinner on October 23, 2007.

Click here to learn about our award winners.
Click here for the details about our Partnership Awards Dinner.

John F. Wegman Fund Supports Give Back, Give Books

August 22, 2007
Rochester Education Foundation has received a $7,500 grant from the John F. Wegman Fund to support the continuation and improvement of its Give Back, Give Books program in 2007-2008.

Click here for the details.

Welcome to KidBridge

August 1, 2007
REF is pleased to announce the launch of a program intended to jump-start a series of partnerships between towns and city schools. Funded in part by a generous grant from Rochester Area Community Foundation, KidBridge will support a new partnership between Irondequoit and School 6, modeled on a successful four-year partnership between the town of Victor and School 22.

Click here for the whole story.

What I Learned at the Book Fair

May 9, 2007
Give Back, Give Books has been great for city school students ...and great for us, too. In a letter published in the Democrat and Chronicle, Pat Braus reflected on the lessons that she learned while giving books away to city students.

Click here to read Pat's essay.

City Students Grateful for Give Back, Give Books

Thank You!

April 18, 2007
We've held 17 book fairs and distributed over 8,500 books! REF has received scores of thank you notes from kids for the wonderful books received as a result of Give Back, Give Books.

Click here to see what students had to say.

Freedom Heroes Writing Contest

February 7, 2007
REF is helping to promote a unique opportunity for Rochester students to write or illustrate a children's book about one of Rochester's own heroes: Susan B. Anthony or Frederick Douglass.

Click here to learn more.

Wegmans Gift Lifts "Give Back, Give Books" Past Goal

November 28, 2006
A donation from Wegmans of 1,700 books has enabled Give Back, Give Books to reach its goal of 10,000 new books to donate to city school students. The gift was announced in conjunction with Rochester Mayor Robert J. Duffy's Leadership Summit on Literacy.

Click here for the whole story.

8,000 New Books Donated!

November 8, 2006
REF's Give Back, Give Books drive has received about 6,000 new books and the funds to purchase at least 2,000 more new books for city school students. The drive will continue, with various organizations, including SUNY Brockport, launching drives now. Mood Makers Books will continue to act as a drop-off point, and books can still be purchased on the Give Back, Give Books website:

Click here for a complete update on the drive.

Partnership Awards Dinner Highlights Longstanding RCSD Supporters

November 1, 2006
Awards to Judge Michael Telesca, Dr. Walter Cooper, Lawyers for Learning, and Xerox for their longstanding support of and partnerships with Rochester city school students highlighted REF's first Partnership Awards Dinner.

Click here for the story and photos.

Support REF with High-Speed Frontier Link

October 23, 2006
Frontier has announced that it will support the Rochester Education Foundation with its Frontier Community Connections program.

When you sign up for High-Speed Internet service with Frontier -- or extend your current contract -- they will make a contribution to REF. For each REF supporter who signs up or extends their contract, Frontier will donate $25 (residential customers) or $50 (business customers).

Call Frontier at 777-5323 or go online at and be sure to mention code 2468758 to ensure that your donation goes to REF.

Please spread the word! The more people who call or enroll online, the more support REF will receive.

Drive Reaches 3,000 out of 10,000 Goal

October 17, 2006
With two weeks to go in the month-long drive, about three thousand books have been donated to the Give Back, Give Books community book drive. "We are very happy with the drive so far," said Patricia Braus, executive director of REF. "But we know we need to get more people involved to meet our goal of 10,000 books."

Click here to read the press release.

Kick-Off Press Conference Launches Give Back, Give Books Drive

September 26, 2006
The Rochester Education Foundation launched the Give Back, Give Books campaign with a kick-off press conference on Tuesday, September 26, 2006 at 2 p.m. The event was held at the Phillis Wheatley Community Library, a branch of the Rochester Public Library. Many public leaders were in attendance to provide their support for the campaign.

Click here to read the press release.

Click here to see photos of the event.

Spring for Music Continues to Pay Dividends

April, 2006
Although the Spring for Music program officially ended last May, donated instruments continue to come in, creating exciting new musical opportunities for students in the city schools!

Click here for the whole story.

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