BUFFALO, N.Y., May 11, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- KeyBank today reaffirmed its commitment to helping communities thrive in Western New York with several major philanthropic announcements for Buffalo. KeyCorp Chairman and CEO Beth Mooney said today's announcements are further examples of KeyBank's investment in New York as part of the pending merger with First Niagara Financial Group.
This morning, KeyBank Foundation announced a $1,000,000 grant to Say Yes Buffalo. During a pep rally at the Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts, KeyBank officials said the grant supports the mission of Say Yes Buffalo to increase high school and postsecondary completion rates. This grant reflects the single largest philanthropic investment ever made by KeyBank Foundation outside of Key's Cleveland, Ohio headquarters.
Established in 2011 by a diverse group of community leaders, the goal of Say Yes Buffalo is to strengthen the Western New York economy by investing in the education of Buffalo's future workforce. "KeyBank has been operating in New York for 190 years and 170 years in Buffalo," added Mooney. "To us, this gift is about honoring that legacy but, more important, building the future. It is about creating opportunities for students in Western New York to thrive on their own terms and to reinvest their successes with their families, friends and communities."
"We are enormously grateful to KeyBank for this gift which is not only significant in size but also significant in what it says about the company's belief in the Say Yes Buffalo partnership," said Alphonso O'Neil-White, Chair of the Say Yes Buffalo Scholarship Board. "KeyBank made its first gift to our fund in 2012 - that they have come back to the table to not only make another commitment but to increase it to $1 million says a lot about their faith in our approach toward strengthening the regional economy by investing in Buffalo's public school students."
Also announced this morning is a grant from the KeyBank Foundation of $500,000 to the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo to establish a fund dedicated to building an inclusive economy in Buffalo and Western New York. The Building an Inclusive Economy fund will be established by January 1, 2017, and will directly align with the KeyBank Foundation's "Neighbors" strategic priority, focusing on the stabilization and revitalization of urban neighborhoods and rural communities.
"The Building an Inclusive Economy fund will work with community-based organizations to create prosperity in Buffalo neighborhoods. We look forward to working with the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo to develop this fund and help create jobs, build safe and affordable housing, and support neighborhood-based small businesses," said Mooney.
"We are proud to partner with KeyBank and thank them for their commitment to the Western New York community," said Clotilde Perez-Bode Dedecker, President and CEO of the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo. "These efforts will ensure that the positive impact of the Buffalo renaissance is felt in all neighborhoods by advancing diversity and inclusion, and building ladders of opportunity for all."
Mooney added that the types of grants announced today are aligned with KeyBank's $16.5 billion National Community Benefits Plan which will launch in 2017. The plan, unveiled earlier this year, addresses the needs of low-to-moderate income consumers and underserved communities by providing over $16.5 billion in mortgage lending, small business lending, community development lending and investing, and philanthropy in New York and across all of KeyBank's markets. More information on the National Community Benefits plan can be found at: www.key.com/CBPlan.
Later this afternoon at First Niagara Financial Group's headquarters at the Larkin Square, Mooney will announce more than $200,000 in additional grants to the following organizations that serve low- to moderate-income communities in Western New York:
- Buffalo Urban League ($25,000) which helps empower African Americans, other minorities and disadvantaged individuals to secure economic self-reliance, parity, power and civil rights. KeyBank has been a partner with the Buffalo Urban League for more than 15 years, and a dedicated partner with the National Urban League and 21 of its affiliates for many years, with gifts totaling more than $1.7 million.
- Niagara Organizing Alliance for Hope (NOAH) ($15,000) is a non-profit organization of faith and community leaders coming together to work collaboratively to make Niagara County a better place for all. Since its infancy, NOAH has targeted economic development as a major issue to address as it is at the core of many other concerns in the area.
- The Old First Ward Community Center ($10,000) which strengthens and supports the neighborhood, and responds to the changing needs of the community by providing youth services and housing programs.
- PUSH Buffalo ($50,000) a local community organization fighting to make affordable housing a reality on Buffalo's West Side by focusing on creating strong neighborhoods with quality affordable housing; decreasing the rate of housing abandonment by reclaiming empty houses and redeveloping them for occupancy by low-income residents; and providing neighborhood leaders to enhance community control over the development process and planning for the future of the neighborhood.
- Seneca-Babcock Community Association ($25,000) which is on the forefront of human development, working with citizens from disadvantaged economic, social and family circumstances in and around the Seneca-Babcock community offering programs including education and career development, character and leadership development, health, life skills, and fitness activities.
- Seneca Street Community Development Corporation ($10,000) which works to improve the lives of individuals and families living in the Seneca Babcock community of South Buffalo by providing after school programs, teen programs, a summer program, and community outreach.
- United Way of Greater Niagara ($5,000) which invests in programs that focus on Education, Health & Income that deliver measurable results to improve the Greater Niagara community today and strengthen it for tomorrow.
- The Valley Community Association ($25,000) which serves the needs of the community by improving the social well-being of the residents by providing child care, youth services, senior citizen services, and family services.
- VOICE-Buffalo ($15,000) which addresses issues of equity in Buffalo through grassroots organization. VOICE draws together people of many denominations and income levels to act on local, regional, state, and national issues of justice and equity through community-building, negotiation with decision-makers, and direct action.
- Western New York Law Center ($25,000) is a nonprofit organization which represents low-income Western New Yorkers in civil matters. Their mission is to assure that low-income people receive the full range of civil legal services.
These grants are in addition to the previously announced $20 million contribution Key will make to the First Niagara Foundation to continue its important community initiatives. Also, this evening Mooney will discuss the future of the First Niagara Larkinville property and Larkin Summer Series Sponsorship, as well as the future of the Buffalo Sabres and First Niagara Center partnership.
KeyCorp, headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, is one of the nation's largest bank-based financial services companies, Key had assets of approximately $98.4 billion at March 31, 2016. Key provides deposit, lending, cash management and investment services to individuals and small and mid-sized businesses in 12 states under the name KeyBank National Association. Key also provides a broad range of sophisticated corporate and investment banking products, such as merger and acquisition advice, public and private debt and equity, syndications and derivatives to middle market companies in selected industries throughout the United States under the KeyBanc Capital Markets trade name. For more information, visit https://www.key.com/. KeyBank is Member FDIC.
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