Charles Settlement House, Community Place announce affiliation

Stock photo.

After three years of close collaboration, Charles Settlement House and the Community Place of Greater Rochester will become permanently affiliated on Oct. 1.  

This affiliation allows both agencies to maintain their identities, while strengthening and growing the programs and services they provide in the neighborhoods of northwest and northeast Rochester. 

Since 2018, Charles Settlement House and Community Place have operated with a shared CEO and shared some administrative services, such as finance and human resources. 

While not a merger, this affiliation makes these arrangements, which have been renewed annually by both agencies’ boards of directors, permanent. It allows Charles Settlement House and Community Place to continue operating as separate organizations, but under the governance of a joint board of directors that includes members of each agency’s original boards. All administrative functions will be shared, and there will be no cutbacks or reductions in staffing. 

“Our three years of collaboration made it clear that we could improve our services and become stronger organizations by making this affiliation permanent,” CEO Scott Benjamin said. “We share many of the same programs for youth, families and seniors, and will be able to leverage expertise across both agencies. At the same time, the savings of a combined administration and governance will be reinvested into our programs and employees — providing opportunities to grow and serve more people.” 

The combined board of directors will be led initially by co-chairs John Olsan, currently board chair at Community Place, and Lydia Fernandez, currently board chair at Charles Settlement House. 

“After sharing an executive and working collaboratively for the past three years, the affiliation is the next logical step,” Olsan said. “Both organizations will be stronger by having combined governance. We will be able to address the service needs in our respective areas with more resources. Additionally, our organizations will maintain their identities, which reflect years of service to the Rochester community.” 

Fernandez said, “Working together has allowed us both to remain strong, trusted resources in our neighborhoods, and this affiliation will provide the agility necessary for our organizations to continue meeting the changing needs of our community. The combined experience of these organizations represents nearly 400 years of service to Rochester.” 

The Community Place, established in 2001 from the merger of Lewis Street Center, Genesee Settlement House and Eastside Community Center, serves residents in northeast Rochester. More than 10,000 individuals utilize its programs and services. 

Charles Settlement House, established in 1917, serves Rochester’s northwest neighborhoods, including JOSANA, Edgerton, Dutchtown, Brown Square, Lyell-Otis, Maplewood and Charlotte. More than 3,000 individuals utilize its programs and services.