KeyBank has reaffirmed its commitment to helping communities thrive in Western New York with several major philanthropic announcements for Buffalo. CEO Beth Mooney said the announcements are further examples of KeyBank’s investment in New York as part of the merger with First Niagara Financial Group.

KeyBank Says Yes to Buffalo

The KeyBank Foundation announced a $1,000,000 grant to Say Yes Buffalo. During a pep rally at the Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts, KeyBank officials said the grant supports the mission of Say Yes Buffalo to increase high school and postsecondary completion rates.

This grant reflects the single largest philanthropic investment ever made by KeyBank Foundation outside of Key’s Cleveland, Ohio, headquarters.

"KeyBank has been operating in New York for 190 years and 170 years in Buffalo,” added Mooney. "To us, this gift is about honoring that legacy but, more important, building the future. It is about creating opportunities for students in Western New York to thrive on their own terms and to reinvest their successes with their families, friends and communities."

"We are enormously grateful to KeyBank for this gift which is not only significant in size but also significant in what it says about the company’s belief in the Say Yes Buffalo partnership," said Alphonso O’Neil-White, chair of the Say Yes Buffalo Scholarship Board. "KeyBank made its first gift to our fund in 2012 – that they have come back to the table to not only make another commitment but to increase it to $1 million says a lot about their faith in our approach toward strengthening the regional economy by investing in Buffalo’s public school students."

$500,000 to the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo

Also announced was a grant from the KeyBank Foundation of $500,000 to the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo to establish a fund dedicated to building an inclusive economy in Buffalo and Western New York. The Building an Inclusive Economy fund will directly align with the KeyBank Foundation’s "Neighbors" strategic priority, focusing on the stabilization of urban neighborhoods and rural communities.

"The Building an Inclusive Economy fund will work with community-based organizations to create prosperity in Buffalo neighborhoods. We look forward to working with the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo to develop this fund and help create jobs, build safe and affordable housing, and support neighborhood-based small businesses," said Mooney.

"We are proud to partner with KeyBank and thank them for their commitment to the Western New York community," said Clotilde Perez-Bode Dedecker, President and CEO of the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo. “These efforts will ensure that the positive impact of the Buffalo renaissance is felt in all neighborhoods by advancing diversity and inclusion, and building ladders of opportunity for all."

Mooney added that the grants announced today are aligned with and part of KeyBank’s $16.5 billion National Community Benefits Plan which launched in 2017. The plan addresses the needs of low-to-moderate income consumers and underserved communities by providing over $16.5 billion in mortgage lending, small business lending, community development lending and investing, and philanthropy in New York and across all of KeyBank’s markets. More information can be found on the National Community Benefits Plan.

Additional Grants Announced at Larkin Event

Later that afternoon at First Niagara Financial Group’s headquarters at the Larkin Building, Mooney announced more than $200,000 in additional grants to the following organizations that serve low- to moderate-income communities in Western New York, including:

  • Buffalo Urban League ($25,000) helps empower African-Americans, other minorities and disadvantaged individuals to secure economic self-reliance, parity, power and civil rights. KeyBank has been a partner with the Buffalo Urban League for more than 15 years, and a dedicated partner with the National Urban League and 21 of its affiliates for many years, with gifts totaling more than $1.7 million.
  • Niagara Organizing Alliance for Hope (NOAH) ($15,000) is a nonprofit organization of faith and community leaders coming together to work collaboratively to make Niagara County a better place for all. Since its infancy, NOAH has targeted economic development as a major issue to address because it is at the core of many other concerns in the area.
  • The Old First Ward Community Center ($10,000) strengthens and supports the neighborhood, and responds to the changing needs of the community by providing youth services and housing programs.
  • PUSH Buffalo ($50,000) is a local community organization fighting to make affordable housing a reality on Buffalo’s West Side by focusing on creating strong neighborhoods with quality affordable housing; decreasing the rate of housing abandonment by reclaiming empty houses and redeveloping them for occupancy by low-income residents; and providing neighborhood leaders to enhance community control over the development process and planning for the future of the neighborhood.
  • Seneca-Babcock Community Association ($25,000) is on the forefront of human development, working with citizens from disadvantaged economic, social and family circumstances in and around the Seneca-Babcock community, offering programs including education and career development, character and leadership development, health, life skills and fitness activities.
  • Seneca Street Community Development Corporation ($10,000) which works to improve the lives of individuals and families living in the Seneca-Babcock of South Buffalo by providing after-school programs, teen programs, a summer program and community outreach.
  • United Way of Greater Niagara ($5,000) invests in programs that focus on Education, Health & Income to deliver measurable results to improve the Greater Niagara community today and strengthen it for tomorrow.
  • The Valley Community Association ($25,000) serves the needs of the community and improves the social well-being of the residents by providing child care, youth services, senior citizen services and family services.
  • VOICE-Buffalo ($15,000) addresses issues of equity in Buffalo through grassroots organization. VOICE draws together people of many denominations and income levels to act on local, regional, state and national issues of justice and equity through community building, negotiation with decision-makers and direct action.
  • Western New York Law Center ($25,000) is a nonprofit organization that represents low-income Western New Yorkers in civil matters. Their mission is to ensure that low-income people receive the full range of civil legal services.

Mooney Designates Larkin as KeyBank Northeast Regional Headquarters

These grants are in addition to the previously announced $20 million contribution Key made to the First Niagara Foundation to continue its important community initiatives.

Mooney also discussed the Larkinville property, which was home to First Niagara’s Headquarters and Larkin Summer Series Sponsorship, as well as the future of the Buffalo Sabres and First Niagara Center partnership.

"KeyBank is committed to maintaining a strong presence within the Larkin neighborhood. KeyBank will call Larkin our 'Northeast Regional Headquarters,'" Mooney said. "And further, we look forward to supporting the Larkin 'Summer Series' in partnership with First Niagara. And, because we are proud to be part of a city with both intermissions and half-times, we will continue to partner with the Buffalo Sabres, with naming rights to the arena they call home, the KeyBank Center."