News Release - KeyBank Donates $50,000 to Help OWN Rochester Bring Opportunity and Prosperity to the Community

City of Rochester

News Release

(Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018) – KeyBank is donating $50,000 to help OWN Rochester establish worker-owned cooperatives in the city’s economically challenged neighborhoods. The funding is coming from the KeyBank Foundation.

Today’s announcement was made at the Canal Side Business Center on Lyell Avenue now owned by Dennis Maguire Properties, a building being retrofitted with LED lights by ENEROC, the first in OWN Rochester’s emerging portfolio of businesses transitioning to worker-owned cooperatives.

Started by Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren, OWN Rochester is an independent, community-led nonprofit established to coordinate and support emerging worker-owned businesses and is led by CEO Kate Washington.

“The goal in supporting worker-owned cooperatives is to provide an opportunity for workers in economically challenged neighborhoods to earn, not just a living, but equity in a company they help to build,” said Mayor Warren. “By working with our major employers, we seek to identify gaps in services that worker-owned companies could address. I’m grateful to KeyBank for literally ‘buying in’ to this vision by helping the non-profit OWN Rochester carry out its mission.”

This workforce development initiative will help develop businesses in the Rochester Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative (RMAPI) Pathways to Prosperity Area, which has a poverty rate of 45 percent.

“This initiative by OWN Rochester is bringing new life to parts of our city that need new business and opportunity,” said James Barger, KeyBank Rochester Market President. “KeyBank’s mission is to help the communities we serve thrive, and we are proud to get behind this new and innovative program that will have a transformative effect on Rochester.” 

Worker cooperatives are employee-owned companies structured on a one-member, one vote basis. In contrast to traditional companies, workers at worker cooperatives participate in the profits, oversight and often management of the organization using democratic practices. Workers own the majority of the equity in the business and control the voting shares. At a worker cooperative, profits do not go to distant investors, but instead go directly to the workers. As a result, the money stays grounded in the local economy, building community wealth.

“OWN Rochester is leveraging an innovative model to create living-wage jobs, build wealth and drive neighborhood revitalization in low income communities. Few projects align so many of the key strategies in a sustainable way that does not require ongoing government involvement or subsidy,” said CEO Kate Washington. “By providing engaged neighborhood workers the opportunities to become owners, the workers are invested in the success of the businesses they create, participate in its governance and invest in the community.”

News Media:


Kate Washington

Chief Executive Officer



Matthew Pitts

Communications Manager – Western & Central New York

716-270-4243 (work)

716-903-8468 (mobile)


KeyBank's roots trace back 190 years to Albany, New York. Headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, KeyCorp is one of the nation's largest bank-based financial services companies, with assets of approximately $138.8 billion at September 30, 2018. Key provides deposit, lending, cash management and investment services to individuals and businesses in 15 states under the name KeyBank National Association through a network of approximately 1,100 branches and more than 1,500 ATMs. Key also provides a broad range of sophisticated corporate and investment banking products, such as merger and acquisition advice, public and private debt and equity, syndications and derivatives to middle market companies in selected industries throughout the United States under the KeyBanc Capital Markets trade name. For more information, visit KeyBank is Member FDIC.