Seneca Gaming Corp. is donating $1 million to establish an endowed scholarship program through the Seneca Diabetes Foundation -- one of several related initiatives announced recently.
Additional contributions for the scholarship program are being made by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Western New York and Michael Militello and family.
Another $500,000 commitment spanning three years has been made by Independent Health Foundation for educational services, community outreach and health and wellness programs for the Seneca community.
The scholarship program was announced Saturday at the inaugural Chairman's Ball, held in the Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel Events Center in Niagara Falls.
The money committed by Seneca Gaming Corp. will be donated over seven years. All donations will be used to support scholarship programs for Seneca Nation members and families to pursue college degrees in the fields of health or social services.
"This is just the beginning of program development that will include education and critical research," said Barry Snyder Sr., who started the Seneca Diabetes Foundation in 2005. "These scholarship opportunities enable our people to make it their life's work to help fight this dreaded disease."
Diabetes affects approximately half of the Native American population -- more than any other ethnic group. The foundation provides educational opportunities, outreach, prevention awareness and funds research to improve the lives of Seneca Nation members affected by diabetes.
Scholarship programs include: the Barry and Deanna Snyder Sr. Chairman's Scholarship Fund, which provides $10,000 for a two-year commitment; the Maurice and Karen John Treasurer's Scholarship Fund, $5,000 annually; Seneca Gaming Corp. Scholarship Fund, $5,000 annually; Ruth Goode Nursing Scholarship Fund, $5,000 annually; and Geraldine Memo Scholarship Fund, $5,000 annually.
The Seneca Diabetes Foundation also will provide paid internships for Seneca Nation high school students to work with the nation's health department on diabetes-related initiatives.