"Poverty is one of the most complex and pervasive challenges of our time" - Governor Andrew Cuomo

NEW!  Community Impact Grants 

Issue Date: June 24, 2019

Due Date:  July 15, 2019, 5:00PM

Description:  Opportunities for Otsego (OFO) announces a funding opportunity for nonprofit corporations under the local ESPRI initiative. Funding is intended to reduce poverty and promote household stability by offering resources and opportunities to low-income individuals and families living within the City of Oneonta School District.

Application Package: Grant guidelines and application materials are available through this link.

Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative (ESPRI) 

In his 2016 State of the State address, Governor Cuomo announced the Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative (ESPRI); a community based initiative to combat poverty.  Sixteen communities across New York State were selected based on their high rates of poverty.  The City of Oneonta was one chosen community, as it has a very high rate of poverty, with 18% of youth under 18 years old living in poverty.

The City of Oneonta designated Opportunities for Otsego to coordinate the City of Oneonta’s poverty reduction initiative.  Opportunities for Otsego will lead the newly created ESPRI Taskforce, who is charged with conducting a needs assessment of community barriers and recommending strategies to combat poverty.

Strategies will be implemented under the theories of Dr. Donna Beegle’s Opportunity Community Model. As one of the first Opportunity Communities in New York State, The City of Oneonta aims to help children and their families living in poverty break through barriers and access resources and support to move beyond and stay out of poverty.

"Through strong partnerships we will expand economic opportunity...and put all New Yorkers on a path to succeed. I look forward to working with these communities to break down barriers and create meaningful change for millions of hard-working families across the state.” - Governor Andrew Cuomo

ESPRI Taskforce

The City of Oneonta Taskforce consists of leaders in our community.

Audrey Benkenstein, Housing Director, Opportunities for Otsego
Eve Bouboulis, Commissioner, Otsego County Department of Social Services
Barbara Ann Heegan Executive Director, Otsego County Chamber of Commerce
Jeff Joyner, President and CEO, A.O. Fox Hospital
Patricia Leonard, Executive Director, Family Service Association
Kimberly Lorraine, Executive Director, The United Way of Delaware and Otsego Counties
Debra Marcus, Chief Executive Officer, Family Planning Of South Central New York, Inc.
Megan Martin, Planning and Research Director, Opportunities for Otsego
Dan Maskin, Chief Executive Officer, Opportunities for Otsego
Susan Matt, Director, Community Services Otsego County
Dr. Katherine O’Donnell, Sociology Professor, Hartwick College
Judy Pangman, Community Development Director, City of Oneonta
Alan Sessions, BEAM Coordinator, CDO Workforce
Tanya Shalor, Chief Financial Officer, Opportunities for Otsego
Joseph Yelich, Superintendent, Oneonta City School District


2018 Opportunity Conference

OC_Group photo.jpg

 “This day was very empowering. It gave me the courage to know that I can make it”  -Kelly, Neighbor


Past Events:

11.02.17 - Leadership Summit:  How community leaders can make a difference in addressing poverty. Facilitated by Dr. Beegle/Communication Across Barriers.

03.07.18 - Prosperity Summit: Identifying community Navigators who will assist Neighbors in their journey moving and staying out of poverty. Facilitated by Dr. Beegle/Communication Across Barriers

04.10.18  - Navigator Training: Half-day training to provide community volunteers, known as Navigators, with a foundation for understanding poverty and strategies to help Neighbors break through the "iron cage" of poverty and move forward. Facilitated by staff from Communication Across Barriers.

04.30.18  - Navigator Training: This training is open to community members who were unable to attend the April 10th event. This training provides community volunteers, known as Navigators, with a foundation for understanding poverty and strategies to help Neighbors break through the "iron cage" of poverty and move forward. At this time we are only training volunteers who are willing to be paired with a Neighbor and can attend the Opportunity Conference.  

05.12.18 - Opportunity Conference: This inspiring event is the start of the journey where Navigators and Neighbors meet one another.  Facilitated by Dr. Beegle/Communication Across Barriers.