First Niagara Foundation Announces $5 Million in Grant Funding

First Niagara Foundation Announces $5 Million in Grant Funding Image

First Niagara Foundation Announces $5 Million in Grant Funding in Partnership with KeyBank since Acquisition

Board of Directors commits $2.8 million to Western New York nonprofits and $2.2 million to organizations in other former First Niagara Bank markets

BUFFALO, N.Y., July 24, 2017 – The First Niagara Foundation announced that it has committed $2.8 million in grants to local not-for-profit organizations in the past year, as the independent charitable foundation continues its role as a philanthropic leader in the region, following KeyCorp’s acquisition of First Niagara Financial Group last year. 

Demonstrating its commitment to Buffalo and Western New York, Key contributed $20 million to the First Niagara Foundation when the transaction was completed last year, bringing the Foundation’s total assets to approximately $38 million.

“It was essential that the Foundation continue First Niagara’s legacy of giving, particularly in the Buffalo Niagara region, even as KeyBank expanded its own philanthropic efforts across New York State, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Massachusetts,” said First Niagara Foundation Board of Directors President Gary Crosby, who is also a member of KeyCorp’s board of directors and previously served as president and chief executive officer of First Niagara Financial Group.  “By partnering with KeyBank, we’re extending First Niagara’s record of making high-impact investments in our focus areas which include education, mentoring, workforce development and neighborhood revitalization.”

Some of the Western New York not-for-profit organizations that received $2.8 million in grants in the past year include: 


  • BISON Children’s Scholarship Fund

  • Boys & Girls Club of Buffalo, Inc.

  • Boys & Girls Club of Depew-Lancaster

  • Boys & Girls Club of the Northtowns

  • Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper

  • Massachusetts Avenue Project

  • Teach for America, Inc.

Workforce Development

  • Buffalo Center for Arts & Technology

  • Gerard Place Housing Development Fund Co.

  • The Foundry

  • Westminster Economic Development Initiative, Inc.

Neighborhood Revitalization

  • Lockport YMCA

  • Niagara Falls Boys & Girls Club

  • Richardson Center Corporation

  • Rural Outreach Center

“We are proud to support organizations that provide exemplary services, opportunities and hope to so many deserving members of our community, particularly in the areas of education, mentoring and workforce development,” said Elizabeth Gurney, Executive Director, First Niagara Foundation. “We look forward to working with community partners as we continue to invest in Western New York and beyond.”

While the First Niagara Foundation focuses its giving primarily in Western New York, it will continue to support select mentoring programs across markets previously served by First Niagara Bank.  At its May board meeting, the Foundation’s Board of Directors committed $2.2 million over the next three years to 26 mentoring programs that the Foundation had previously supported through its Mentoring Matters program across the bank’s former upstate New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania footprint.

In total, First Niagara Foundation has committed approximately $5 million to nonprofit organizations since KeyBank’s merger with First Niagara.

For information on the First Niagara Foundation, 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.  The Foundation also continues a focus on supporting select quality youth mentoring in legacy markets previously served by First Niagara Bank.  

Media Contact:           

Elizabeth S. Gurney, Executive Director

First Niagara Foundation