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Crosby named head of First Niagara Foundation board

First Niagara may be gone, but its foundation will continue its charitable work.

The First Niagara Foundation on Monday named Gary Crosby, former president and chief executive of First Niagara Financial Group, as president of its board of directors.

The foundation also announced $1.2 million in grants to four area nonprofits, including $1 million for AK360, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery's development project. The three other grants include $125,000 to the Lockport Family YMCA to support construction of a new facility; $35,000 to the Hispanic Heritage Council of Western New York to support its Niagara Street Corridor renovation project; and $15,000 to Peace of the City Ministries to assist with building infrastructure and capacity.

The independent charitable foundation has continued its work after KeyCorp completed its acquisition of First Niagara Financial Group last summer. Key had committed $20 million to the foundation when the acquisition was announced.

Crosby also serves on KeyCorp's board of directors. He was named First Niagara's interim president and CEO in March 2013, was appointed to those roles on a permanent basis later that year, and led the bank through its acquisition by Key.

The First Niagara Foundation will continue to operate from its Larkinville offices. Along with Crosby, six other people were named to one-year volunteer positions on the foundation board. They are: Trina Evans, executive vice president and director of corporate center for KeyCorp; Gary Quenneville, upstate New York regional executive with KeyBank; Buford Sears, Buffalo region market president for KeyBank; Ann Segarra, senior vice president with First Niagara Bank; David Zebro, principal, Strategic Investments and Holdings; and Leslie Zemsky, partner in Larkin Development Group.

The First Niagara Foundation will start accepting grant applications in January at firstniagarafoundation.org. Its donations will primarily focus on Western New York.

Including Key's $20 million commitment, the foundation has assets of about $36 million. The foundation has contributed more than $50 million in Western New York and other communities in First Niagara's former footprint since its inception in 1998.

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