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Legacy continues locally via scholarships

The Empire State Games may not be continuing, but the investment the Games has always made in its Western Region athletes will.

Thanks to The Legacy Fund, two annual scholarships of $2,500 have been created and will be presented to one male and one female who participated in the Games and demonstrated academic excellence and leadership in the community.

The success of the 2010 Buffalo games generated the excess revenue that has led to the funding of the scholarships. A total of $50,000 has been put into escrow for the next 10 years to fund the awards.

"One of the nice things about the 2010 Games is we were able to make it a success and also give back to the community in the form of scholarships for our young people," Ralph Galanti, the chairman of the 2010 organizing committee, said.

To qualify for the scholarship, candidates must be a resident of Erie or Niagara county and have participated in the ESG as an athlete, coach or volunteer. They must be a full-time high school, college or graduate student and must be enrolled in or plan on enrolling in a college or university in Erie or Niagara county.

The local organizing committee made a profit of approximately $125,000 from the 2010 Buffalo Games, mostly from ticket sales for the opening ceremonies and the competition, and all of that will be reinvested in Western New York in various ways through the Legacy Fund.

The 2010 Buffalo Games were the first held after the cancellation of the 2009 event and were highly successful, forging an unprecedented partnership with First Niagara Financial Group and its CEO, John Koelmel, to ensure the Games' success. First, Niagara was one of 17 local companies that contributed an unprecedented $600,000 to support the Games.

For a scholarship application, visit the Section VI website at: The application deadline is May 13 and the award announcement will be June 3.

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