Poverty Reduction Initiative


Elevate Elmira Entrepreneurs

Applications are now available for the Elevate Elmira Entrepreneurs Program. This program is a free six-week mentoring and networking program courtesy of the Empire State Reduction Initiative (ESPRI) and The Chemung County Chamber of Commerce. To qualify, you must be an individual with an in-home or storefront business in the ESPRI target area (map in application). You must also be able to attend six sessions held Tuesdays from 7:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. at the Chemung County Chamber of Commerce, Lower Level Board Room.

To apply, interested individuals must complete the application form found in the link below by Friday, May 11th and complete an interview with members of the Elevate Elmira Entrepreneurs Task Force.

For more information and applications, visit: Elevate Elmira Entrepreneurs  and Elevate Elmira Entrepreneurs Application

The City of Elmira was selected as one of 16 communities statewide to participate in the Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative (ESPRI) and was awarded $1 million dollars.

The Taskforce will identify common issues that significantly contribute to individuals living in poverty, conduct a community assessment and gain an in-depth understanding of the issues, barriers and challenges based on key indicators of poverty and the existing scope of programs and services.

The City of Elmira selected Southern Tier Economic Growth (STEG) to assist with the facilitation of this program which will be designed to:

  • →Identify specific, measurable objectives to improve residents’ well-being and quality of life;
  • →Better align public and private resources with community-based interventions that are successful in improving outcomes for residents;
  • →Develop strategies that match promising practices to the unique challenges of each particular community; and
  • →Build partnerships among public and private, municipal and nonprofit organizations to provide a continuum of solutions.

The project has two phases; Phase One of the ESPRI will support administration and planning for the initiative with a Taskforce to make recommendations. Phase Two will then fund the implementation of targeted investment strategies that aim to reduce poverty. This two-phased structure will provide the community with a unique opportunity to test creative, targeted approaches to persistent challenges.

The City of Elmira and STEG have established the following ESPRI Taskforce:

Andrea Ogunwumi – Co-chair, EOP After School Programs Elmira College
Don Keddell – Co-chair, BOCES and School Readiness Project
Christoper Friend – NYS Assemblyman, NYS Assembly
Dan Mandell – Mayor, City of Elmira
 Joe Kane – Police Chief, City of Elmira, Police Department
Mike Krusen
Nicole Stone – Headstart Policy Council Chair and Poverty Representative
Ann Domingos – Chief Executive Director, Trinity of Chemung County
Steve Vonderweidt – Regional Coordinator, Salvation Army
Chuck Nocera – Executive Director, Catholic Charities of Chemung & Schuyler Counties
Jessica Belgrave – President, Mother’s Helping Mothers and Poverty Representative
Hilary Austin – Superintendent, Elmira City School District
Alan Yeck – Workforce Development Director, Corning Community College
Steve Hughes – President & CEO, United Way
Jan van den Blink – Board of Directors, Hilliard Foundation
Randi Hewit – President, Community Foundation of Corning-Elmira and the Finger Lakes
Ted Cordela – Executive Director, Family Services of Chemung County
Natasha Thompson – President & CEO, Food Bank of the Southern Tier

Elmira ESPRI Phase I Report