Martin Weingarten, the founder and former president of the Center for Youth, has been awarded the 2018 Farash Prize for Social Entrepreneurship sponsored by the Max and Marian Farash Charitable Foundation. The prize is accompanied by a $100,000 gift to the Center for Youth.
The Farash Prize rewards the efforts of an outstanding social entrepreneur in the community, in order to encourage others to emulate those efforts and to honor the entrepreneurial spirit of Max Farash, the Foundation’s founder.
Weingarten’s award was announced in ceremonies Wednesday, Nov. 7 at the Dryden Theatre, George Eastman Museum. The other finalist for the Farash Prize was Sister Grace Miller, founder of the House of Mercy. Additionally, in a new category this year, the Foundation recognized Nicholas Coulter, executive director and founder of Person Centered Housing Options, Inc., as an Emerging Entrepreneur.
“Marty Weingarten, founder and past president of the Center for Youth, so well has shown us the need for persistence, confidence, and dedication as his idea took root and was nurtured to maturity,” said Kenneth D. Bell, Farash Foundation trustee.
“The wisdom of Marty Weingarten in enabling the voice of Rochester’s youth was clearly thinking that was ahead of its time when the Center was established in 1971,” said Farash Prize Selection Committee chair Gerard J. Rooney. “Marty empowered a new corps of contributors and established a supportive and empowering place where staff really listen to those they serve. The Center for Youth has continued to enable this youthful population to be a vital voice in Rochester as it has also continued to respond to their emergent needs.”
The Center for Youth was founded in 1971 as a “kid-inspired” organization that now offers counseling, prevention education, and youth development opportunities to young people throughout Greater Rochester. The center now has a staff numbering 240. Its programs include a 13-bed emergency shelter; a transitional living program; Chrysalis House, for young mothers and their children, and pregnant teens; the Crisis Nursery, providing temporary child care during family emergencies; Safe Harbour, focusing on youth trafficking; New Beginning House for young men; Rochester Teen Court; and a variety of school-based services. This year the Center for Youth will touch the lives of 25,000 babies, youth, teens, and young adults.
Weingarten, who served as president for 17 years and remains active on the Center’s board and several committees, says that through all of this expansion “our key concepts remain the same: informality, confidentiality, accessibility, and kids come to us voluntarily.” Further, he says, the Center remains committed to obtaining youth input, including as members of its Board of Directors. “We know that youth are capable of making the right decisions.”