First Niagara Foundation Poised to Continue Role as Philanthropic Leader

First Niagara Foundation Poised to Continue Role as Philanthropic Leader

in Western New York

-- Foundation appoints seven individuals to Board; announces $1.2 million in grants to local nonprofits and plans for 2017 giving --


BUFFALO, N.Y., December 19, 2016 – The First Niagara Foundation will carry on the philanthropic legacy of First Niagara Bank as an independent charitable foundation committed to empowering individuals and communities to thrive.  Bolstered by a $20 million commitment from KeyCorp, which acquired First Niagara Bank earlier this year, the Foundation now has total assets of approximately $36 million as it looks ahead to the future. 

“Since its inception by Lockport Savings Bank nearly 20 years ago, the First Niagara Foundation has played an important role in serving the local community, investing more than $50 million in Western New York and communities throughout First Niagara Bank’s former footprint.  That’s a legacy we’re incredibly proud of and committed to,” said Elizabeth Gurney, who will continue to lead the First Niagara Foundation as Executive Director. 

The Foundation, which will continue to operate out of its Larkinville offices, appointed former First Niagara President and CEO and current KeyCorp Director Gary Crosby to serve as President of its Board of Directors.  The Foundation also appointed six other individuals to its Board, including:

  • Trina Evans, Executive Vice President and Director of Corporate Center, KeyCorp

  • Gary Quenneville, Upstate New York Regional Executive, KeyBank

  • Buford Sears, Buffalo Region Market President, KeyBank

  • Ann Segarra, Senior Vice President, First Niagara Bank

  • David Zebro, Principal, Strategic Investments & Holdings, Inc.

  • Leslie Zemsky, Partner, Larkin Development Group

“We’ve assembled a board whose passion and experience will help the Foundation strengthen its reputation for impactful charitable giving, collaborative partnerships, diversity and inclusion.  The majority of our board members are longtime Western New York residents who have a deep understanding of the community’s needs, and have been leaders in local business, civic affairs and philanthropy,” said Gary Crosby. “Commitment to philanthropy was a long-standing and deeply-rooted part of First Niagara’s culture. It’s also a core value of KeyCorp, whose $20 million contribution ensures that the Foundation can continue its mission to invest, even more substantially, in education, workforce development, mentoring and community development making Western New York an even better place.”

The First Niagara Foundation also announced yearend grants totaling nearly $1.2 million to four local nonprofit organizations.

  • $1,000,000 in support of AK360, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery’s campaign for its transformative campus development project

  • $125,000 to the Lockport Family YMCA to build a new, modern facility in Lockport

  • $35,000 to the Hispanic Heritage Council of Western New York, Inc. in support of its Niagara Street Corridor renovation project

  • $15,000 to Peace of the City Ministries to assist with building infrastructure and capacity

The First Niagara Foundation will begin accepting grant applications in January 2017 through its website,  Its giving will be primarily focused in the Western New York area.

For more information, please visit


About The First Niagara Foundation

Founded in 1998, the First Niagara Foundation will carry out the philanthropic legacy of First Niagara Bank and its predecessor Lockport Savings Bank by supporting not for profit organizations dedicated to empowering individuals and neighborhoods primarily in Western New York. 




Media Contact:          Elizabeth Gurney

                                    First Niagara Foundation Executive Director