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Yahoo announces $480,000 in grants to Niagara County organizations

LOCKPORT – Adults in Niagara and Orleans counties who are training for new jobs will benefit from some of the more than $480,000 in grants announced Tuesday at Yahoo’s Lockport site.

The Orleans-Niagara Board of Cooperative Educational Services will receive $160,982, which it will use to buy more equipment for its adult education programs in such fields as welding, nursing, and heating and air conditioning, according to Superintendent Clark J. Godshall.

About 2,000 adults in the two counties are taking courses through BOCES, Godshall said. The Yahoo grant, one of eight announced Tuesday, will be used to buy welding equipment, hospital beds for use in the nursing classes, and other gear for its workforce development center.

“I’m just very pleased they’re giving back to the community,” Godshall said.

Tuesday’s grants, the first round from the Yahoo Community Fund for Niagara County, were part of the $3.5 million Yahoo committed to pay in grants in exchange for a gigantic package of tax breaks, low-cost electricity and tax credits for its Lockport site. The company employs more than 200 people at two data centers and a call center in the Town of Lockport Industrial Park off Junction Road.

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, who presided over the news conference, commented that “$3.5 million in a community of this size has a big impact.”

Other recipients included:

• Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper, which receives $124,985 to install a kayak launch at the Western New York Land Conservancy’s Stella Niagara Preserve on Lower River Road in Lewiston.

• Cornell Cooperative Extension of Niagara County, $54,661 for development of an Eat Fresh WNY mobile app with information about locally grown food sources.

• YWCA of the Niagara Frontier, $33,000 to enlarge and renovate its location at 49 Tremont St., North Tonawanda, into 12 apartments for single women.

• Lumber City Development Corp., the city development agency in North Tonawanda, $50,000 for a downtown facade improvement program.

• F Bites Culinary, $23,080 to partner with the Niagara Global Tourism Institute to offer classes in hospitality, tourism and culinary skills to local young people and adults.

• Kids’ Cove Community Fishing School, $20,000 for a fishing school for Niagara County youth, to be taught by interns from the Niagara University College of Tourism and Hospitality.

• Small Business Development Center at Niagara County Community College, $15,000 to revive the microenterprise training program it operated for new business owners for more than 25 years.

The recipients were chosen by Empire State Development.

Yahoo was required to fund two sets of annual grants through 2021. One was the Lockport-specific Yahoo Community Benefit Fund, which last month awarded 11 grants, totaling $247,755, to Lockport-area not-for-profit organizations. That fund is administered by the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo.

Tuesday’s grants came from a county-wide fund and totaled nearly $500,000, because the program wasn’t organized in time for awards in 2015. Starting next year, the county-wide fund will offer about $250,000 a year.


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