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First Niagara provides $58,000 for neighborhood revitalization initiatives in Western New York


Tue, Jun 14th 2016 03:35 pm

Bank will provide financial support for community stabilization and redevelopment efforts

The First Niagara Foundation is providing $58,000 in grant funding for neighborhood stabilization and revitalization initiatives.

The foundation is partnering with Heart of the City, Local Initiatives Support Corporation, Preservation Buffalo Niagara and PUSH Buffalo to create strong, diverse neighborhoods by providing access to affordable housing and financial literacy education.

"At First Niagara, we believe in advancing economic opportunities across our region and creating strong neighborhoods with access to quality, affordable housing," said Buford Sears, First Niagara regional president, Western New York. "We are very proud to partner with such reputable organizations in our community who are providing the resources necessary to help our neighborhoods grow and thrive."

"Heart of the City Neighborhoods is very grateful for First Niagara's continued generosity of our ongoing affordable housing programs that benefit some of Buffalo's most income-challenged communities," said Stephanie Simeon, executive director of Heart of the City Neighborhoods. "Since 1998, our organization's mission has and continues to be committed to providing quality, safe and affordable housing in areas of need and aim to develop sustainable projects that will not only revitalize neglected neighborhoods but impact the city as a whole. The ripple effect of First Niagara's support is definitely felt in Buffalo's most deserving communities."

"First Niagara continues to be a valuable partner to LISC," said Michael K. Clarke, LISC executive director. "Their grant support helps us provide the consultation, technical assistance and financing that our target neighborhood partners need to be successful. First Niagara is also a valued lending partner with LISC and our affiliate, the National Equity Fund, providing significant financing for historic- and low-income housing credit restoration projects like the Evergreen Lofts. Rehabilitating historic buildings and restoring Buffalo neighborhoods is a much appreciated part of First Niagara's work with us in Buffalo."

"Preservation Buffalo Niagara is thrilled to be partnering with First Niagara Bank to expose more Buffalo communities to the benefits of historic preservation in community revitalization efforts," said Jessie Fisher, executive director, Preservation Buffalo Niagara. "We see this as a first step in ensuring that all neighborhoods are able to access the benefits of preservation, including increased property values, potential grant opportunities, and tax credits for homeowners."

"With First Niagara's support, PUSH Buffalo will be able to bring additional green affordable rental housing units online while creating job training and employment pathways for community residents in construction and sustainability sectors," said Clarke Gocker, director of policy and strategy at PUSH Buffalo. "PUSH has broken ground on a training house project on the West Side of Buffalo and is partnering with the Service Collaborative of WNY and the Center for Employment Opportunities to place trainees on the job site alongside a veteran PUSH construction crew. Re-investing in low-income neighborhoods, worker training and affordable housing are keys to ensuring Buffalo's renaissance benefits all communities."

The First Niagara Foundation is a not-for-profit charitable entity. Founded in 1998, the First Niagara Foundation 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 2015, the First Niagara Foundation contributed nearly $6 million in charitable grants to community partners across the bank's four-state footprint.

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