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Nine youth mentoring programs in line for First Niagara grants

Nine youth programs in Erie and Niagara counties will receive a total of $175,000 in grant money for mentoring from the First Niagara Foundation.

The groups are among 33 nonprofit organizations in the Northeast that will share $1 million in grants from the bank’s Mentoring Matters grant program to help close achievement gaps, improve school attendance and performance, and prevent substance abuse and behavioral problems.

The nine Buffalo-area recipients received grants of $5,000 to $50,000 each.

“The 33 organizations that we’re supporting this year touch 45,000 young people,” said Gary Crosby, interim president and chief executive officer of First Niagara.

“That’s pretty significant, so it’s very important that these organizations receive this kind of funding as part of their overall financial solution to help the young people achieve all they can be.”

“We’re very comfortable that all of the organizations that we’re donating to today have very rigorous criteria around their mentoring programs, and they get great outcomes,” said Buford Sears, First Niagara’s Buffalo market executive.

First Niagara has provided more than $5.25 million in financial support for mentoring programs since 2007, including the most recent round of awards announced Monday.

Western New York recipients of First Niagara’s 2013 Mentoring Matters grants are:

Boys & Girls Clubs of the Northtowns of Western New York

Compeer of Greater Buffalo.

Buffalo Prep.

Junior Achievement of Western New York

Seneca Street Community Development Corp.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Niagara County.

Hillside Work – Scholarship Connection Inc. of Buffalo

Boys & Girls Clubs of Buffalo.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Erie County.

In addition, 24 organizations in upstate New York, the New York City region, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Connecticut will receive grants.