News Release – Urban League of Rochester, Monroe County, City of Rochester and Community Partners Highlight Progress on RASE Report Recommendations

RASE Commission

News Release

Almost 250 participants joined the virtual program to learn more about progress, next steps, and how to get involved.

(Wednesday, April 26, 2023) — The Urban League of Rochester hosted a virtual community update on Monday, April 24 to mark the second anniversary of the Commission on Racial and Structural Equity (RASE) Report. Monroe County and the City of Rochester presented on the equity initiatives they have implemented over the past two years and how they relate to the recommendations of the RASE Report.

The RASE Commission, launched in August 2020, was led by three Commission co-chairs, 21 commissioners, and 200 volunteers who committed seven months to developing a comprehensive report. The end result was delivered to the community in March 2021: it contains more than 200 recommendations designed to unravel systemic inequities in laws, policies, and initiatives across the region.

Over the past two years, there have been significant efforts across all Monroe County and City of Rochester departments to move the needle and impact the major topic areas within the RASE Report. Highlights include:

Business Development and Job Creation:

  • Monroe County’s creation of a Minority and Women-Owned Business (MWBE) Certification Program. The program has certified more than 250 businesses.
  • Monroe County and the City have jointly held an MWBE development fair, and the City of Rochester continued this effort by hosting a regional MWBE conference in March 2023 with more than 200 companies in attendance.
  • The City of Rochester is ensuring MWBE subcontractors are paid in a more timely manner and increased staffing to support MWBEs.
  • Both Monroe County and the City of Rochester have made civil service exams free to take, and raised their hourly minimum wage to $15.
  • Both Monroe County and The City of Rochester have engaged in and hosted employment and job fairs that reach into traditionally underserved neighborhoods.
  • Monroe County has invested in workforce development programs across a broad range of industries that remove barriers to employment and focus on BIPOC populations.

  • The County Office has advocated the State Office of Mental Health to insist equity is embedded within mental health clinics in the Rochester City School District.

Healthcare and Human Services:
  • The City of Rochester established the Total Health and Wellness Initiative to define gaps in health and wellness needs and deliver services.
  • Monroe County has begun a multi-year community integration project to bring services into neighborhoods.
  • Monroe County initiated a Child Protective Services blind removal process, which eliminates demographic indicators to prevent implicit bias in the evaluation of foster care placements.

  • The City of Rochester launched the Buy the Block Program to address the negative effects of redlining and encourage homeownership.

Mental Health and Addiction Services:
  • City of Rochester launched Community Behavior Health Advocates, the Office of Crisis Intervention Services, and Person-In-Crisis team.
  • Monroe County received a grant to launch a BIPOC peer support program through its Office of Mental Health.

Policing and Criminal Justice:
  • The City of Rochester has engaged the Rochester Police Department (RPD) in trauma training and is investing in Officer Wellness Programs.

Other Accomplishments:
  • Monroe County created a Department of Diversity Equity and Inclusion, which will develop and monitor the county’s Diversity Action Plan.
  • The City of Rochester is actively searching for a Chief Diversity Officer and has created equitable practices like the development of a Budget Equity Process.

In addition to the governmental work, The Urban League of Rochester convened eight Community Advancing Recommendation Teams (CARTs) to focus on communitywide equity initiatives that extend beyond governmental partners. These groups consist of individuals working in related fields, advocates and stakeholders. CARTs are held in the fields of (1) Business Development and Job Creation; (2) Criminal Justice and Policing; (3) Education; (4) Healthcare; (5) Housing; (6) Human Services; (7) Mental Health and Addiction; and (8) Older Adults.

Individuals interested in becoming involved with CARTs and the work of the RASE Report can contact the Urban League at, or through the “get involved” tab on The April 24, 2023 presentation is available to view online.

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