Tonawanda News

Local News

August 10, 2011

First Niagara bank announces mentoring program

— — First Niagara is offering some help to local nonprofits.

The company kicked off its 2011 Mentoring Matters program Tuesday by announcing $500,000 was available in funding statewide for nonprofit organizations that are dedicated to mentoring initiatives. First Niagara is encouraging not-for-profit organizations in Western New York to apply for funding, which they can do until the Sept. 2 deadline for submissions.

First Niagara said Mentoring Matters provides financial and volunteer support for mentoring efforts throughout the Northeast to reinforce the importance and showcase the positive impact mentoring has on the lives of today’s youth.

Last year, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Niagara County and the Health Association of Niagara County Inc. were local winners. A total of 11 organizations won more than $150,000 in grants last year.

It was actually the second time Big Brothers Big Sisters had won a grant. Nonprofits that have won in the past are welcome to try again, First Niagara said.

“We don’t have any restriction,” said Helen Tederous, First Niagara spokeswoman.

Now in its fifth year, Mentoring Matters will top the $2.5 million mark in grants distributed throughout upstate New York, assisting more than 15,000 youth in more than 175 organized mentoring programs. In total, First Niagara will have provided more than $3.25 million to support mentoring efforts conducted throughout its New York, Pennsylvania and New England service areas.

Interested nonprofits in Niagara County can to begin the grant application process. The maximum grant awarded by First Niagara is $25,000, while the minimum grant awarded is $5,000. An announcement of this year’s grant winners will take place in October.

“Mentoring is a strong factor that so often leads to positive changes in the professional, academic, social, emotional and cognitive growth of young adults,” said Buford Sears, Buffalo market executive for First Niagara. “Through Mentoring Matters, we are able to make a significant difference in children’s lives by supporting the inspiring achievements made by nonprofit organizations committed to mentoring our communities’ future leaders.”

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