Cultural & Civic Organizations

“When the creative impulse cannot flourish, when it cannot freely select its methods and objects, when it is deprived of spontaneity, then society severs the root of art.”
~ President John F. Kennedy, November 29, 1962

The Konar Foundation honors the vital role played by cultural and civic organizations in liberating the spirit and elevating the human experience. Through endeavors ranging from entrepreneurship to the arts, we affirm those ties that bind us and resist the powers which divide. In a time when our culture appears to be turning away from the arts, the Foundation is honored to engage in conscious philanthropy that nurtures these pursuits in Rochester and beyond.

Our Beliefs

We believe that cultural and civic organizations:

  • Contribute to the community’s sense of pride and well-being
  • Promote cross-cultural awareness and an appreciation of the differences that make us unique
  • Attract tourism and potential new residents to the community
  • Encourage critical thinking through creative outlets
  • Enhance social transformation through collective community engagement
  • Foster community ties that promote and support entrepreneurship

Funding Priorities

Our cultural and civic funding priorities include:

  • Performing arts
  • Visual arts
  • Youth development opportunities
  • Guidance, services, and advocacy for older adults
  • Programs that promote and foster entrepreneurship

Select Grantees

Geva Theatre Center provides opportunities, both within and without its walls, for all residents of the Rochester region to learn about and to experience professional theatre. Each year, stage productions with strong curricular themes are shared with student audiences through the P.L.A.Y. (Performance=Literature+Art+You) Student Matinee Series. Performances are supplemented by additional programming, including Discovery Study Guides, In-School Discovery Workshops, Post-Show talkbacks with actors, teacher workshops, and post-show artists’ visits to classrooms to deepen students’ connection to the plays and curriculum. This initiative brings artistic expression, cultural understanding, and the discipline of the performing arts into the lives of 16,000 students.

Offering free, temporary, emergency child care, 24 hours a day and seven days a week, Rochester’s Crisis Nursery provides a safe place for families to bring their children during a crisis. Owen’s House is the Crisis Nursery’s second facility, located three miles from Rochester General Hospital. Support in the two facilities enables children to avoid abuse, neglect, and trauma, and to access needed resources and medical services. The program provides support to a range of families with varying backgrounds and needs, and 80% of families with additional needs are connected to appropriate community services via confirmed referrals.

Foodlink’s Community Kitchen is a transformative project focusing on serving healthy meals to children, enhancing value-added food processing operations, and creating a sustainable culinary workforce training program. A grant by the Konar Foundation specifically supports the training and placement of individuals in three-month internships at Wegmans Food Markets – a program designed as a potential path out of poverty. The program, which benefits individuals who have been challenged in finding employment, helps participants to develop the technique and experiences needed for middle-skills in the regional food industry. Participants also gain access to a job board, mentoring, continuing education, and skill enhancement.   

The George Eastman Museum is a world-class institution that is vital to the Rochester community. As an educational establishment, the Museum develops exceptional collections and provides leadership in the fields of photography and cinema. Additionally, George Eastman’s estate, a National Historic Landmark; and serves its communities in Greater Rochester and elsewhere. The George Eastman Museum continually seeks out collabortion with other cultural, educational, and community organizations.