Rural Outreach Center receives $200,000 Mother Cabrini Health Foundation grant

The ROC emphasized how their model of empowerment transforms the lives of families in general, but children in particular.The ROC emphasized how their model of empowerment transforms the lives of families in general, but children in particular.

The Rural Outreach Center (ROC) in East Aurora, a nonprofit organization focused on breaking the cycle of rural poverty by accompanying people to self-sufficiency, recently received a $200,000 grant from the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation. With this grant, the ROC will provide evidence-based programming to children and offer support to families to ensure transportation and other barriers do not hinder access to care. Further, this funding supports the ROC as it develops a comprehensive package to help others replicate its model of care to other areas in New York State. 

In their grant application titled “The Rural Outreach Center – Eliminating Rural Poverty & Healing from Trauma,” the ROC emphasized how their model of empowerment transforms the lives of families in general, but children in particular. By stabilizing families in conjunction with child counseling, the ROC model effectively treats childhood traumas and opens opportunities for children to thrive and dream beyond their current limitations. This two-generation approach breaks the cycle of generational poverty. 

“As we look back at the compounding crises of the last few years, the health-related needs of vulnerable communities have only grown. Our grantees have demonstrated tremendous resilience, creativity and dedication to serving those in need, especially as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have such detrimental impact,” said Alfred F. Kelly, Jr., Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Visa and Chair of the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation Board. 

“After nearly two years of recovery from a pandemic that has hit vulnerable populations the hardest, we must continue to address the challenges communities across New York State are facing: food and housing insecurity, lack of access to basic healthcare including vaccines, lack of equity within the healthcare professions, and racial and economic healthcare disparities made worse during COVID-19,” said Msgr. Gregory Mustaciuolo, Chief Executive Officer of the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation. “We must continue to support the full range of services that make for healthy people and communities.” 

According to Executive Director Dr. Frank Cerny, the Rural Outreach Center has a singular goal: To eliminate poverty in rural southern Western New York. 

“There are over 40,000 people in poverty in the rural zip codes from which most of our Participants come,” said Cerny. “But rural poverty is often called the invisible poverty because it is hidden and dispersed across a wide geographic area, making it difficult to provide services, thereby exacerbating the poverty. This grant will enhance the ROC’s ability to provide much-needed services to help our Participants reach their goals. Services range from one-on-one mentoring by volunteers, counseling, career development and family services to transitional housing and transportation procurement. Currently, the ROC has over 150 Participant individuals and families and almost 100 children engaged in the process of empowerment to self-sufficiency.” 

For more information on the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation, please visit And for information on the Rural Outreach Center, located at 730 Olean Road, please visit or call (716) 240-2220. 

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