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Yahoo offering community grants throughout Niagara County

LOCKPORT – Yahoo, which pledged to make grants to Niagara County community groups in exchange for the state and local incentives for its data and call centers in Lockport, has announced the rules and deadlines for this year’s funding.

The Internet company is offering a total of $230,000 in the City and Town of Lockport and, for the first time, a total of $500,000 to applicants elsewhere in Niagara County.

The Lockport grant program, called the Yahoo Community Benefit Fund, is in its second year. The recipients are chosen by an eight-member committee of people who live or work in Lockport.

The new countywide program, called the Yahoo Community Fund for Niagara County, is starting off by making more money available than it will in the future. Pamm Lent, spokeswoman for Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, said in future years, the grants available in the county fund will total $250,000 a year.

Both programs are to continue through 2021, the same year Yahoo’s state tax credits expire, Lent said.

The county winners, to be announced this summer, are to be selected by Empire State Development. The county grants exclude the City and Town of Lockport because of the separate funding program for those municipalities.

Empire State Development said in its announcement that it will favor applicants who have matching funds from sources other than government. It will prefer programs that “implement smart growth, foster a culture of entrepreneurship and prepare our workforce and/or support any of the region’s target industry sectors, as outlined in the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council’s strategic plan,” the agency said.

However, the applicants must be charitable or not-for-profit organizations, or groups that serve a charitable purpose, ESD said.

The application deadline for the countywide grants is 3 p.m. April 25. Applications are available at

The Lockport program, administered by the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, began in 2015 with grants to 13 Lockport organizations or programs, totaling $223,041.

The Lockport grants are meant to focus on family and community building, youth education, economic development, the environment and animal welfare. A briefing workshop for prospective Lockport applicants will be held from 10 a.m. to noon March 29 in Cornerstone Arena, 34 Chestnut St.

The application deadline for the Lockport grants is 4 p.m. April 29, and winners will be announced in July. Applications are available at