PITTSBURGH, April 8, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- First Niagara Bank announced today that it is contributing $100,000 to the YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh, and challenging the community and other corporate citizens to support Pool Together for Swim Safety, a program that will provide local school-age children with urgently-needed swimming instruction at YMCA Summer Camps this year.
"Learning to swim is a critical skill for any child. But for minority children, who are 2.6 times more likely to drown, basic swimming skills are especially important," said Eric Mann, president and chief executive officer of the YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh. "Seventy percent of African-American young children and 58 percent of Hispanic children can't swim, compared to 40 percent of white children, according to a 2010 study commissioned by USA Swimming."
The campaign kicks-off at the first Pittsburgh Penguins home playoff game. The fun begins before the game where Pens fans can show support of swim safety and their team by donating to "dunk" local celebrities and opposing team fans at the First Niagara Swim Tank outside CONSOL Energy Center. There will be other surprises happening during the game. Volunteers will collect donations and fans can also purchase a limited-edition Pool Together for Swim Safety aluminum water bottle for $10, with 100 percent of proceeds supporting the effort. For every 12 water bottles sold, one more local child will benefit from the Y's swim program and be at lower risk of drowning. Water bottles will also be available at select Pittsburgh-area YMCA locations.
"First Niagara Bank is thrilled to contribute to Pool Together for Swim Safety with a public awareness campaign and funding that will enable more than 400 local five to eight year-old children to get important swimming instruction at YMCA Urban Summer Camps this summer. We hope the community will join us so we sell-out all of the 'limited time only' water bottles, allowing an additional 200 kids to get the fundamental water safety instruction they need this summer," said Todd Moules, First Niagara Bank Regional President.
The YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh branches participating in the Pool Together for Swim Safety program include Centre Avenue, Homewood, Collegiate, Hazelwood, Allegheny and McKeesport. The Allegheny, PNC and Wilmerding branches will serve as pool sites. Swim sessions using the Y-USA's SPLASH curriculum will be held this summer, and will include five, one-hour sessions per child. Water bottles will be available at select Pittsburgh-area YMCA locations. For more information about the Pool Together for Swim Safety program, visit www.yswimsafety.org.
About First Niagara Financial Group
First Niagara Financial Group, Inc., through its wholly owned subsidiary, First Niagara Bank, N.A., has $21 billion in assets, 256 branches and $13 billion in deposits. First Niagara Bank, N.A. is a multi-state community-oriented bank providing financial services to individuals, families and businesses. Upon completion of its pending merger with NewAlliance Bancshares, Inc. -- subject to customary closing conditions including approvals from regulators -- First Niagara will have more than $30 billion in assets, $18 billion in deposits and 340 branches across Upstate New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Massachusetts. For more information, visit www.fnfg.com.
About the Greater Pittsburgh YMCA
The YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh is a 501c (3) charitable organization with the mission to build strong kids, strong families and strong communities by developing the spirit, mind and body of every individual. Founded in 1854, the YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh is committed to providing programs and services that strengthen the family, foster the holistic development of children and youth and promote the health and wellbeing of the entire community in western Pennsylvania. Programs offered by the YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh serve more than 80,000 different people each year and include community outreach, after-school care and childcare, emergency food programs, youth and family camping, health and fitness, youth counseling, teen mentoring and senior wellness programs. The YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh is part of the national YMCA movement, which collectively is the largest not-for-profit service organization in the United States.
SOURCE First Niagara Bank