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First Niagara Foundation Grant

Grants to New York Nonprofits to Benefit
Communities in Eligible Regions

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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First Niagara Foundation

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Grants to New York nonprofit organizations for programs serving communities in eligible regions. Funding is intended for the program areas of education, community development, workforce development, and mentoring. The Foundation is committed to supporting programs that will provide long term enhancements to the quality of life primarily in Erie and Niagara Counties.

Priorities within the program areas include the following: 

  • Education: The First Niagara Foundation is committed to investing in education and initiatives at the Pre-K through 12 level which will contribute to the enhancement of the learning environment and provide equal opportunity for all students to reach their potential.
    • Of particular interest are programs that:
      • Address one or more of the following: School Readiness, Literacy, Low High School Graduation Rates, Opportunities for Out of School Time, and improvement in College and Career Readiness
      • Are designed to improve education attainment and enhance the educational experience especially for disadvantaged students
      • Provide quality mentoring opportunities for students
  • Workforce Development: The First Niagara Foundation supports workforce development initiatives that focus on enhancing the region’s economic stability and prosperity by preparing unemployed and underemployed individuals for life-sustaining jobs.
    • Primarily projects that address the needs of the underserved by providing high-touch programs of empowerment, mentoring and wrap around services. 
  • Community Development: The First Niagara Foundation is focused on community development initiatives that advance and increase self-sufficiency, improve neighborhoods, encourage community collaboration, and build partnerships.
  • Mentoring: The Foundation will consider applications from organizations with a proven track record of providing outstanding mentoring programs especially in the fields of education and workforce development.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 161579

Term of Contract:

The First Niagara Foundation does participate in multi-year grants on a limited basis at the discretion of the Board.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

All grant recipients must demonstrate the following:
- Tax-exempt status
- Need for private financial support
- Direct relevance to the Foundation’s focus areas
- Primarily serve residents of eligible counties
- Organizations outside of WNY may apply by invitation only

The following are ineligible for funding:
- Religious organizations, political organizations or candidates for political office or to individuals
- Organizations that discriminate based on: age, race, color, sex, religion, national origin, disability, marital status, receipt of public assistance, sexual orientation, or military status
- Individual scholarships
- National or international organizations, unless their programs have significant local impact
- Annual funds
- Sponsorships/galas/events.

Pre-Application Information:

The First Niagara Foundation has a rolling application process; however, the Foundation Board formally reviews grant applications three times annually. While it will provide regular communication during the process, you should allow up to four months from the date of submission for a final decision on funding.

Below are suggested dates for application submission:
- March 1, 2020 - Spring Cycle for Decision in May
- August 1, 2020 - Fall Cycle for Decision in October
- November 1, 2020 - Winter Cycle for Decision in January

An organization may apply no more than once a year.


Application Timeline:



Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Online application portal:

Please contact the Foundation with any questions regarding the online system or application process:
Nancy Gleason
Foundation Administrator

First Niagara Foundation
726 Exchange Street, Suite 700
Buffalo, NY 14210

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: New York: Erie and Niagara Counties

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