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Image courtesy of M&T Bank
Image courtesy of M&T Bank

M&T Bank: $400,000+ in funding for pandemic relief & racial equity efforts


Tue, Mar 23rd 2021 05:30 pm

Since start of pandemic, M&T has directed $827,000 to relief efforts across the region

M&T Bank announced it has donated $417,000 to support communities in Western New York as they continue to navigate the challenges of the pandemic. M&T’s grant funding will address urgent issues, such as food security, frontline health care services and racial disparities exposed and exacerbated by the pandemic, including digital access to education and workforce development.

M&T has provided a total of $827,000 to various COVID-19 recovery and relief efforts since the start of the pandemic. This $417,000 in grant funding announced here follows a previous donation of $410,000.

“Every day and in everything we do, we try to live our purpose to make a difference in people’s lives,” said Shelley Drake, M&T Bank regional president for Western New York and president of the M&T charitable foundation. “Throughout the pandemic, as needs arose for funding in the community, our team worked quickly to pivot and deliver funds, without redirecting funding that would have impacted our longtime nonprofit partners. We’ve continued to grow our charitable investments in Buffalo, understanding how important it is for us to do our part to help our community recover and emerge from the pandemic ready to succeed.”

Among the grant funding M&T awarded:

√ $117,000 to the Western New York COVID-19 Community Response Fund designated for bridging the digital divide and expanding broadband connectivity in the community, providing grants to small nonprofit service providers to provide relief across the region’s eight counties, and facilitating technology development in the nonprofit arts and culture sector.

√ $100,000 to the Westminster Economic Development Initiative (WEDI) to provide emergency loans and microgrants to assist small businesses in underserved neighborhoods in the City of Buffalo.

√ $50,000 to the Northland Workforce Training Center (NWTC) for the development of its contract manufacturing enterprise, which will support the education and training of its students, help eliminate barriers to good-paying manufacturing jobs, and advance NWTC’s vision to revitalize Buffalo’s East Side. M&T has provided a total of $125,000 to the contract manufacturing enterprise project.

√ $25,000 each to four of the region’s leading hospital systems, ECMC, Roswell Park, Kaleida Health and Catholic Health, to address emerging needs on the frontlines, following earlier grants of $50,000 each in M&T’s previous round of funding.

√ $50,000 to FeedMore WNY to combat rising levels of food insecurity – which follows an earlier grant of $25,000.

In its previous round of pandemic-related grant awards, M&T supported urgent needs through the Western New York COVID-19 Community Response Fund, the WNY Arts Emergency Relief Fund, as well as frontline needs at the four regional hospital systems.

In 2020, M&T provided about $9,750,000 in charitable funding to dozens of organizations across Western New York. Grants ranged in size and were targeted to address a variety of community needs. For example:

√ $1.5 million to Open4, an initiative that works to connect entrepreneurs and small businesses with resources, guidance and support, focusing primarily on businesses owned by women and people of color in underserved neighborhoods.

√ $200,000 to East Side Avenues – a continuation of M&T’s $1 million commitment over five years – which provides capital and organizational support for transformational projects within four commercial corridors on Buffalo’s East Side.

√ $25,000 to Providence Farm Collective, an organization that aims to empower just and equitable access to food and farmland by supporting underserved farmers who need access to clean rural farmland, business and farming training, technical assistance, access to markets and the opportunity to farm for income.

“We’ve seen the significant impact we can make when we focus on remaining agile and responsive, ready to tackle pressing issues as they emerge,” Drake added. “We’re grateful for the nonprofits that channel our charitable support into community action and provide our team with opportunities to get involved as volunteers and advocates.”

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