United Way's Day of Caring In Rochester, N.Y. Is Now Named After ESL FCU

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Taking support of the United Way to a new level, what had been known here as the United Way Day of Caring is now named the ESL Day of Caring, after ESL Federal Credit Union.

Renamed the ESL Day of Caring in recognition of the CU's support, the volunteer event is set for Friday, April 29 and is expected to involve more than 26,000 volunteers engaging in community service projects for area non-profit organizations.

"This is important to our community,'' said David Fiedler, CEO of the $2.7-billion ESL FCU. "It's also important to ESL to support the community in which we do business. Our founder, George Eastman, instilled those values so many years ago, and they remain the core of our commitment to the greater Rochester community today.''

For the United Way, whose organization also began with the forward-thinking philanthropy of Eastman 87 years ago, the partnership was also praised by Joseph G. Calabrese, president of the United Way of Greater Rochester.

Calabrese said the partnership demonstrates a "great example'' of how non-profits and the business community can work together to make a difference in their community.

ESL's three-year commitment to the United Way will include "a significant financial contribution'' to go toward staffing expenses, Fiedler said.

In addition, he said, ESL will offer leadership for planning the event.

And what does ESL get in return?

"When we are looking at sponsorships, we look to the extent to which they can create some visibility for ESL,'' he said. "While many of the activities that we join are really charity events, we don't come at them from that prospective. If we did, it would lessen the amount (the charity gets).''

Because of its active sponsorship of everything from charitable to economic to quality-of-life programs, Fiedler said, organizations constantly approach ESL with requests.

"It doesn't take too long to get a reputation as a company that is interested in helping the community,'' he said. The problem is that it cannot help everyone.

'Makes Sense For Us'

"We choose which ones make the most sense for us,'' he said. "We choose ones in which we see a nice synergy in developing the ESL brand and doing it in a way that also does very good things for the community.''

Rochester's Day of Caring meets that criteria.

Last year, it surpassed all other UW Day of Caring events across the nation with a record number of 26,000 volunteers from local businesses, organizations, unions and schools participated in the event. In addition, some 15,000 youth from 65 area schools participated as part of Youth Day of Caring, raising more than $10,000 for people in need.

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