First Niagara Awards $500,000 to More Than 35 Non-Profits Meeting the Need to Mentor Today's Youth in Upstate New York

BUFFALO, N.Y., Oct. 27, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Upstate New York youth received a big boost for their opportunity to be mentored when First Niagara announced that more than 35 area organizations have been selected as grant recipients of the bank's fifth annual Mentoring Matters(SM) program.

During three news conferences held this week at the First Niagara Regional Headquarters in Albany, Syracuse, and Rochester, a total of $350,000 was awarded to support organized mentoring efforts in the Upstate New York community. A news conference to be held on Dec. 5 at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo, N.Y., will announce the remaining Western New York non-profits to receive the remaining $150,000 in funding.

Mentoring Matters is First Niagara's charitable giving program that provides critical financial and volunteer support for mentoring efforts conducted throughout the Northeast. This year Mentoring Matters tops the $2.5 million total grant mark in Upstate New York – positively impacting more than 46,000 youth in more than 200 organized mentoring programs.

"Through our Mentoring Matters program we are able to reinforce the importance and showcase the positive impact mentoring has on the lives of today's youth and why it is so needed in our communities today," said Peter Cosgrove, Upstate New York Regional President for First Niagara. "Mentoring is a strong factor that so often leads to positive changes in the professional, academic, social, emotional, and cognitive growth of young adults."

According to a survey of past Mentoring Matters grant recipients the benefits of mentoring include significant improvements in academic grades and school attendance. The survey also found a high percentage of acknowledgement of the effectiveness of mentoring in elevating self-esteem, communication skills, learning to relate well to others, setting career goals and adopting new, positive behaviors.

In total, First Niagara has provided more than $3.25 million to support mentoring initiatives conducted throughout its Upstate New York, Pennsylvania, and New England service areas.

About First Niagara
First Niagara, through its wholly owned subsidiary, First Niagara Bank, N.A., is a multi-state community-oriented bank that currently has $31 billion in assets, $19 billion in deposits, 346 branches and 5,000 employees providing financial services to individuals, families and businesses across Upstate New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Massachusetts. For more information visit www.fnfg.com.

SOURCE First Niagara



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