Source: Action for a Better Community

Jerome Underwood, President and CEO of Action for a Better Community (ABC), making a huge difference in the communities of his adopted city Rochester, New York.

Mr. Underwood was born on the beautiful Caribbean island of Antigua. He is married to Lorna, and they have three adult children, Nkosi, Damali and Shakir. Throughout his life, he has always been an avid lover of soccer. He is also devoted to inspiring youth and motivational speaking in the subject areas of African History, Spirituality and Culture, Leadership, Education, and Personal Management.

12213045881?profile=RESIZE_400xBy merging his enjoyment for mentoring adolescents and his passion for soccer, Mr. Underwood served as the Director of Coaching for River Flow Soccer Club, as well as a past role as President of the Flower City Soccer League. Both of these organizations use soccer as a tool to teach life skills to youth.

Throughout his career, Mr. Underwood has always used his platform to give back and improve the lives of poverty-stricken citizens. Holding an MBA in Finance from RIT, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from St. John Fisher College, Mr. Underwood is a graduate and present faculty member of the 100-year-old United Way’s African American Leadership Development Program (AALDP). This program's purpose is to unite the goodwill and resources of the Greater Rochester community, so that everyone can thrive.

Mr. Underwood spent 9 years of his career serving as Vice President and Commercial Product Manager for Community Reinvestment with HSBC Bank. 12213042867?profile=RESIZE_584x

Throughout his tenure, his role was to represent HSBC in a consortium of banks that grew a multi-million economic development fund aimed at revitalizing small businesses in Western New York. The role encompassed developing and implementing strategies to ensure that the commercial credit and investment needs of all New York State communities were being met, with an emphasis on low-to-moderate income areas.

As a Commercial Lending Officer, he managed a $100 million loan portfolio comprising a diverse array of profit and non-profit businesses. His work helped improve the bank’s Federal rating from marginal to acceptable. 

Mr. Underwood held various management positions within the Rochester City School District (RCSD).  RCSD is an urban district comprised of 28,000 students, 5,500 staff, and spread out across 55 buildings.

As Senior Director of Youth Development & Family Services, he was responsible for the District’s implementation of Dr. Joy DeGruy’s Relationship Model of Educational Intervention, My Brother’s Keeper Initiative, Attendance Improvement, Camp Good Days Leadership Camp, and the Student Leadership Congress. Throughout his fulfillment of these functions, Cultural Responsiveness and Black Male Achievement were his keen foci.

The scope of that role included strategic planning, management, and budgeting while ensuring that the necessary resources, services and continuing professional development were available to managers at all levels.

He currently sits on the board of the Greater Rochester Community Transportation Foundation and is a former board member of the Rochester Joint Schools Construction Board (RJSCB). RJSCB is a seven-member board handpicked by the Mayor and Superintendent of Schools to oversee the modernization of Rochester’s schools.12213044085?profile=RESIZE_584x

In the 2015-16 school year, Mr. Underwood served as RIT’s Minett Professor, a position chosen by the university’s President and past Minett Professors.  He is a founding member of the Greater Rochester Black Agenda Group.

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