Featured Story

Marco Notaro, ’16, is community outreach director at Niagara Area Habitat for Humanity. The Sanborn, N.Y., resident, who earned his bachelor's degree in history and political science, with minors in business, law and jurisprudence, and Middle Eastern and Islamic studies, has been with the organization since 2019. In his current role, he oversees all programming, including grant writing to secure hundreds of thousands of dollars each year in federal, state, and private funding; the family services department and applicant intake; and the 500+ volunteers utilized each year. He also manages the portfolio of Habitat mortgages and community partnerships, and does marketing and community outreach.

How did your Niagara education prepare you for your current job?
My Niagara education helped prepare me in a variety of ways. Courses on history and public policy helped me understand the poverty our community faces and the legacy of systemic issues that impact housing. My history courses helped develop my writing skills, which have proved valuable in helping write grants to bring federal and state funding to Niagara Falls. The Vincentian commitment to service also helped drive my desire to use what I learned at Niagara to improve my community.

What do you enjoy most about your work and why?
First and foremost, the families we help at Habitat. I love knowing the work I do directly helps change the lives of families in our community and they are what drives me to do the work. I also love the challenge of building and growing our organization and seeing our capacity and the number of people we serve increase every year.

What connections did you make while a student at Niagara that helped you obtain this job?
Community involvement while at Niagara helped me build relationships in the local community and this knowledge of community organizations was valuable in marketing my skills for a community outreach role.

Why did you decide to work in Niagara Falls?
When I joined Habitat, our affiliate was just starting to grow from a small volunteer-run organization. I saw the tremendous need for affordable housing in Niagara Falls and the potential for the organization to grow and develop to meet that need. I'm proud to say in the almost five years since I've started, we've increased our home production and are serving seven times the number of families per year! 

How does your work and The Power of Niagara help in the revitalization of the City of Niagara Falls?
Habitat's work is essential for helping to revitalize Niagara Falls. The work we do to build and rehabilitate new affordable homes helps families to access the dream of safe and affordable homeownership and rise out of poverty. Habitat's rehabilitation program also revitalizes neighborhoods while adding and returning homes to the city's tax base, helping to fund our schools, roads, police, and firefighters. Each Habitat home truly reverberates through the entire community and changes the life of every family we work with.

Our partnership with Niagara University is a major contributor to the work that we do. Habitat's partnership with Niagara University provides hundreds of volunteer hours from clubs, sports teams, and student organizations each year to build new homes, helping us keep homes affordable for local families.