Though our winters are cold, the people of Rochester are always warm and welcoming. The story of Rochester’s commitment to giving back begins with George Eastman, the founder of Eastman Kodak. The philanthropy of George Eastman has shaped the city to what it is today, with Eastman’s lasting contributions including the United Way of Greater Rochester, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Eastman School of Music, Eastman Dental Dispensary, the University of Rochester, and much more. The spirit of Eastman’s philanthropy and commitment to community lives on today.
In addition to the Rochester community’s focus on philanthropy, the people of Rochester themselves are very kind, warm, and welcoming. Rochester visitors often remark on how friendly and welcoming locals are — and we equally enjoy welcoming visitors to Rochester!
Stories About Rochester
In September 2017, Rochester’s Geva Theatre Center staged a production of the Lin-Manual Miranda’s musical In the Heights for an audience of over 20,000. It was crafted in Rochester, for Rochester over a five-week period with 40 performances. It was the fastest-selling production in Geva history, with performances selling out prior to the very first preview on September 5th. The theatre intentionally maintained low ticket prices for this production to ensure that as many people as possible from the Rochester community were able to see this critically-acclaimed musical, resulting in a much younger and diverse audience than Geva has seen in the past.
When Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico in September 2017, the cast of In the Heights (many of whom have family in the ravaged US territory) and the theatre responded quickly, organizing a post-show donation drive after every performance, raising over $71,000 for Lin-Manuel Miranda’s chosen relief fund, Hispanic Federation.
Separately, one of the nicest places to visit in our city is the Rochester Public Market. It’s one of the oldest and largest public markets in the country and a true community gathering place, everywhere you look you will see a smile. From the cheerful vendors to the thousands of patrons who visit on a Saturday morning, the market is a wonderful experience. The Rochester Public Market also gives back to the local community through the market’s wildly successful Market Token/SNAP program, which utilizes wooden tokens as Market currency, making it possible for customers with SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits to get fresh, healthy, affordable foods from vendors. When people have ready access to affordable, healthy foods they are more likely to make better nutritional choices. As a result of the Market Token Program, 90% of participants report eating healthier.