Office of Community Wealth Building

Please note- the Office of Community Wealth Building operated through 2021.  Please check back for updates on the work done by this office.

About the Office of Community Wealth Building

The mission of the OCWB is to facilitate cross-sector collaboration between government, non-profits, the private sector, anchor institutions, and the community, with the goal of advancing community wealth building policies, programs, initiatives, and systems throughout the Rochester community.

In order to achieve this mission the OCWB operates under four directives:

  • Facilitate the development and coordination of viable entrepreneurial and small business eco-systems
  • Increase financial inclusion and access to credit
  • Foster business, employment, and workforce development
  • Facilitate asset building, savings, and investments 

Programs & Services  

Projects & Initiatives 

More about The Office of Community Wealth Building

What is Community Wealth Building? 

Community Wealth Building is an intentionally inclusive process of collaboration within a community that prioritizes cultivating a shared network of assets, and providing increased opportunities to build intergenerational wealth for those who have been historically excluded from wealth building practices such as access to loans, safe banking, and credit building activities.

Why Rochester?

Like many cities of its size, historically the Rochester community has been financially divided. To this day, families and businesses struggle to access sustainable housing, jobs, fair banking, and credit opportunities. The Office of Community Wealth Building (OCWB) vision is to combat the systems of the past by cultivating a vibrant city where citizens and small businesses are financially empowered and thriving. The OCWB is conceptually modeled after  Richmond, VA's Office of Community Wealth Building

 Operating Principles  

  •  Community-centeredness: Wealth building within a community has to start from the “bottom up” to mitigate economic inequality and poverty. The OCWB focuses on the development and cultivation of local talent, capacities, capital, and expenditure flows intended to spur sustainable asset building, saving, and investing. 
  •  Market Segmentation: Families and small businesses face uniquely different challenges and by tailoring our work to the distinct needs, challenges, abilities, and ambitions of each subgroup, we enhance the probability of goal attainment.
  •  Inclusive Excellence: Beyond valuing diversity, we seek to source out ideas and actions for empowerment and systems change from the very communities we serve in order to ensure that our activities and values reflect the diverse communities that exist within Rochester.
  •  Community Partnerships: Collaboration is essential in all of our efforts to provide services and create system changes. Rochester residents businesses play an essential role in cultivating economic change through the OCWB.
  •  Resource Centralization: We aspire to be a public champion for residents and small businesses by convening regional providers and relevant support services available to them.
  •  Portfolio Integration: To maximize the impact on the community, we seek to develop an assortment of complimentary programs, projects, and systemic change initiatives that fit together so success in one area of activity creates ripple effects.
  •  Strategic Resources Development: We selectively target funding options from foundations and private investors as an essential financial strategy for advancing and sustaining our community progress agenda. 


 Working Closely with the  Office of Innovation and Strategic Initiatives. This Office has implemented such successful programs as  Kiva Rochester,  Vanpool and  Bikeshare and has brought in more than $6 million to support its initiatives. The office also serves as the City's liaison to OWN Rochester, which is helping to establish worker-owned cooperatives.  The office also works closely with Rochester Economic Development Corporation (redco) to encourage and support entrepreneurs starting or maintaining businesses. 

Office of Community Wealth Building in the News