Empire State Poverty Reduction

Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative Taskforce for the City of Jamestown

New York State selected the City of Jamestown as one of sixteen communities to participate in the Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative (ESPRI). This initiative is an exciting opportunity to develop community driven solutions to the challenges of a growing poverty rate. The City of Jamestown selected United Way of Southern Chautauqua County (UWSCC) as the non-profit lead to coordinate the effort and serve as co-convener of the Taskforce.
Through ESPRI, $1 million dollars has been invested by NYS in the City of Jamestown. These dollars must be used to get a better understanding of the challenges facing those struggling to make ends meet, and then implement transformational approaches to overcoming those challenges. All decision-making for how the dollars will be invested is at the discretion of the City of Jamestown ESPRI Taskforce. Their focus is on investing in programmatic innovation that leverages partnerships to yield results that exceed the community’s current capacity.

Proposals submitted for review:

Erie 2 Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES Educational Foundation

Chautauqua Adult Day Care

Community Helping Hands


Housing Options Made Easy, Inc.

Infinity Visual and Performing Arts, Inc.

Jamestown Community College

Jamestown Public Schools

Mental Health Association

The Resource Center

WCD Boys & Girls Club 



Final Jamestown Poverty Needs Assesment 

CGR was engaged by the United Way of Southern Chautauqua County and the City of Jamestown to gather data and stakeholder perspectives to inform a needs assessment about the state of poverty in the City of Jamestown. The needs assessment will be used to create a work plan aimed at reducing the prevalence and impact of poverty. The City is one of 16 in the state receiving funding under the Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative (ESPRI), which aims to identify and support locally developed antipoverty efforts.

Project Budget 

Aim and Driver 

Chautauqua County ALICE Data


Task Force Members:

Mayor Sam Teresi

Assemblyman Andy Goodell

Lori Cornell

Christine Schuyler

Jon Anderson

Tim Mains

Cory Duckworth

Shannon Bessette

David Conklin

Charlie Hodges

Father Luke Fodor

Pastor Amy Rohler

Pastor Leecroft Clark

Heather Turner

Bruce Dudgeon

Jana Anderson-O'Camb

Katie Geise

David Wilkinson

Vince DeJoy

Christina Breen

Harry Snellings

Ann Abdella

Liz Jones

Linda Swanson

Catherine Way

ESPRI News Articles:

New York State Community Action Association - Policy Alert

12th Proposal of Governor Cuomo's 2016 Agenda: Combatting Poverty & Reducing Rampant Inequality Across Upstate New York

Jamestown Poverty Reduction Initiative Task Force holds first meeting

ESPRI Task Force Hears About Chautauqua Striders Mentoring Program

Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative to Create Subcommittee

CGR Associate Presents Community Information

Poverty Reduction Workshops Wrap Up; Projects to be Prioritized




Task Force Meeting Minutes:

November 10, 2016

December 13, 2016

January 11, 2017

February 15, 2017

Task Force Work Session: March 22, 2017

Kate Ebersole, CPCC facilitated an action-oriented session designed to engage those in direct provision of service to residents living in poverty. Attendees spent time working in small groups to identify services and potential gaps. The final product will be integrated into the ESPRI Community Needs Assessment, which will serve as the foundation for the Initiative’s investment of approximately $1 million in transformational local programming.