Check out Denise Jewell Gee's BuffaloNews.com Live report on the Empire State Games getting financial support from First Niagara.
The $500,000 donation is a great boost for the fund-raising for the Games, which will be held in Buffalo from July 21-25.
With the state having botched the Games last year by gutting the funding, and with Albany not exactly having its act together this year, the Games need fund-raising efforts like this to survive. The Games are an outstanding event for both athletes and host areas, so it's a worthy investment.
While local companies are needed to offer support, it's also integral to the Games that it get local support in terms of volunteers. If you are involved in a sport in Western New York -- no matter what level -- your team, league or organization should make some sort of contribution to the Games. Each sport site needs volunteers while the opening ceremonies also need support. The Empire Games are a great community event, and it is most successful when the host community gets involved.