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Greater New Haven Help Alliance earns $10,000 in First Niagara 'Mentoring Matters' grant giveaway

by jmaloni


Tue, Feb 17th 2015 03:05 pm

The First Niagara Foundation donated a total of $20,000 in "Mentoring Matters" grants to not-for-profits

The First Niagara Foundation today announced The Greater New Haven Help Alliance was selected by community members as the winner of a $10,000 grant through the 2015 First Niagara "Mentoring Matters" grant giveaway.

The Greater New Haven Help Alliance, based in New Haven, Connecticut, was nominated last month as part of a social media grant giveaway the bank sponsored in recognition of National Mentoring Month.

In collaboration with another local organization, The New Haven Family Alliance, the two organizations seek to provide positive male influence to young men ages 8-18 whose lives are devoid of such. The majority of the young men involved are referrals from the Family Alliance's juvenile review board, a restorative justice model that pursues justice in matters of minor offenses without formal adjudication. Mentors meet with their mentees individually on a weekly basis for relationship development, and then with other mentors and mentees in a group setting on a monthly basis.

"We're very grateful to First Niagara for providing this important funding - and to all who voted for our organization," said the Rev. Todd Foster, founder of Greater New Haven Help Alliance and The Gang of Dads. "By just taking the time to watch and vote for our mentoring story, the community is helping us make a difference in the lives of so many more local youth. Through this grant, we'll be able to not only enrich the developmental experiences of our own mentees, but we hope to be able to invest in some capacity building for all of the regional mentoring programs."

The Gang of Dads mentor featured in the Help Alliance video, Montrel Morrison, said, "I'm honored and really thank God for the privilege of being among men who seek to make a positive difference in the lives of young men here in the Elm City. Many thanks to First Niagara Bank and all those who have supported us in this endeavor."

In second place, The Center for Youth (Rochester) received a $4,000 grant.

Six runners-up each received a $1,000 grant including:

  • ACLAMO Family Centers (Norristown, Pennsylvania) - video submitted by Juan Guerra
  • Booker T. Washington Community Center (Auburn) - video submitted by Brandon Wakeham
  • Jericho Road Community Health Center (Buffalo) - video submitted by Karen Forster
  • Pennsylvania Women Work (Pittsburgh) - video submitted by Sarah Hansen
  • Reading is FUNdamental Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh) - video submitted by Kate Porigow
  • YWCA of Cortland (Cortland) - video submitted by Sara Earl

The eight videos can be viewed at First Niagara's Facebook page.

"We are fortunate to have so many organizations throughout our communities dedicated to providing quality mentoring opportunities," said Elizabeth Gurney, executive director of the First Niagara Foundation. "We created this initiative to celebrate national mentoring month and to help us spread the message about the critical need for quality mentoring. We hope these stories will serve as an important reminder of the many ways mentors can change lives, by providing positive role models, offering hope and inspiration often to those who need it most. We appreciate all those who participated by submitting videos, as well as all the thousands that voted for their favorites. We believe that all who mentor are winners! "

Throughout the month of January, individuals whose lives have been impacted by mentoring were asked to create and submit a short video about their mentoring experience and nominate a not-for-profit organization that offers mentoring services in the four-state footprint First Niagara serves. The bank then asked members of the community to vote for their favorite of the eight finalists on Facebook.

Last month, First Niagara was honored by two separate mentoring organizations for its efforts. MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership honored First Niagara at the National Mentoring Summit in Washington, D.C., with the Corporate Mentoring Challenge Award for Exceptional Partnership in Youth Mentoring. In addition, Mass Mentoring Partnership presented First Niagara with the Ignite Award for Corporation/Business of the Year at its Corporate Mentoring Summit in Springfield, Massachusetts. This award is given to an outstanding business dedicated to fostering mentoring and empowering relationships.

Since launching "Mentoring Matters" in 2007, First Niagara has provided more than $6.25 million to mentoring programs. To learn more about how you can make a difference as a mentor, visit www.mentoring.org.

About The First Niagara Foundation

The First Niagara Foundation is a not-for-profit charitable entity. Founded in 1998, it is committed to supporting organizations in the communities in which members live and work, with specific focus on youth and education, community development and neighborhood revitalization. In 2014, First Niagara contributed more than $10 million in charitable grants and sponsorships to community partners across the bank's four-state footprint. For additional information on First Niagara, visit www.firstniagara.com.

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