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First Niagara teammates give generously of their time and talent because they care about the health and vitality of our communities. Whether they’re mentoring a young student, teaching financial literacy or just lending a hand for a good cause, in 2014 alone our 5,600+ employees recorded over 26,000 volunteer hours of service to hundreds of nonprofit partners across our footprint.
First Niagara's Employee Volunteer Council (EVC) encourages employees to volunteer at a variety of not-for-profit organizations. The EVC not only helps raise money and awareness for charities, it also unifies employees around the importance of giving back.
If you are looking for volunteer support for your organization, please contact us.
Hands Across Buffalo, an event put on by the Homeless Alliance of Western New York, was an effort to promote racial unity and community commitment. First Niagara teammates joined in along with 5,000 other community members to link hands across the length of Ferry St. from the Niagara River to Bailey Avenue. This initiative demonstrated harmony across a racially and economically diverse neighborhood of the city and was followed by a series of discussions and programs at various locations on specific topics of race and poverty.
First Niagara WNY teammates are also proud to support Dining Out For Life, an annual fundraising event that benefits Evergreen Health Services, an organization that has been on the front line fighting HIV/AIDS while providing critical services to those living with the disease. First Niagara teammates participated in a variety of ways to support this cause, including volunteering help at participating Dining Out For Life restaurants and sponsoring an employees’ Jeans’ Day.
Our RNY teammates proudly supported the United Way Day of Caring again this past year, gathering together in First Niagara fashion to lend a helping hand to those in their community. Employees spent the day at the School of the Holy Childhood painting, cleaning windows, gardening and performing many other volunteer activities. The United Way Day of Caring provided nearly 7,000 volunteers to help more than 350 not-for-profit organizations.
Members of the RNY Employee Volunteer Council collected clothes for Volunteers of America’s Working Wardrobe. The Working Wardrobe offers work and interview appropriate clothing, along with training, resume writing, and an array of different training and development options to help those in need to assist them in getting back into the workforce.
First Niagara partnered with the Rescue Mission to help collect hundreds of gently used shoes. Special collection bins went out in Syracuse, Auburn, and Binghamton locations. Rescue Mission is a 127 year old organization with programs and services in four communities throughout Central New York. The organization’s mission is to end hunger and homelessness, change lives and strengthen communities.
The Auburn Tomato Fest supports several food pantries in Cayuga County, and each year First Niagara CNY teammates support this event by staffing the Fried Green Tomato Tent. A group of 10-15 employees prepare, cook and sell the tomatoes. Since its inception in 1986, Tomato Fest has raised more than $300,000 and collected more than 20,000 canned goods to help feed the hungry through donations to participating area food pantries.
Our ENY teammates were hard at work helping local students prepare for the workforce at the Northeast Parent & Child Society’s YouthBuild Schenectady “Speed Mentoring” event held at our regional headquarters. The students had the opportunity to sit with First Niagara teammates and help them prepare for interviews, learn about different career opportunities and build confidence as they enter the workforce after graduation. YouthBuild Schenectady is a nine month program designed to engage at-risk, low-income young people ages 18-24 striving to complete their high school education and receive career training.
This is the second year that First Niagara ENY teammates have volunteered at the Electronics Recycling Drive held in Colonie, NY. Volunteers collected enough electronics to fill 19 tractor trailers, five more than they filled up last year! Teammates also collected several boxes of used cell phones to donate to local womens’ shelters. This drive encourages the community to save energy through conservation, innovation and recycling.
More than 50 First Niagara employees volunteered to teach a day-long financial literacy program at elementary schools in Norwalk, West Haven, Hartford, and Springfield through Junior Achievement’s JA in A Day program. The NE employees enjoy giving back to the community by serving underprivileged students, and the team-building experiences it provides for the company. According to Junior Achievement, evaluations have shown that students retain just as much information from a JA in a Day session as they do at their regular weekly classroom visits.
Several New England Employee Volunteer Council (EVC) members participated in LEAP's (Leadership Education Athletics Partnership) Read-In located outside our First Niagara offices in New Haven, CT. The children gathered around our First Niagara teammates as they read a short story and promoted the importance of literacy. The event is part of the LEAP's summer camp programs and encourages students to read during their summer vacation.
Our First Niagara Nyack Branch kicked off October with a visit from 21 juniors and seniors from Spring Valley-Ramapo High School interested in learning about careers in the corporate world. The event was put on by Junior Achievement’s Job Shadow Day, and the participating students were able to meet with 16 First Niagara employees to tap into their expertise and experience. They spent the day rotating through four sessions, including financial budgeting, credit, interview skill building and resume building led by First Niagara bank volunteers. This helped the students to begin thinking about launching their own professional careers someday.
First Niagara teammates from our Nyack Branch and Commercial Banking group showed their hometown pride by hitting the streets in support of Keep Rockland Beautiful main activity, The Great American Clean Up. The group of volunteers collected seven bags of garbage and one of recyclables from the parking lot and surrounding area of the Nyack Branch.
First Niagara employees from four states sponsored a Jeans’ Day event and donated funds to the cause of helping administrators, teachers and staff recovering from a tragic event earlier this year at Franklin Regional High School. The check and 1,200 Franklin Regional Rally towels were used for this year’s homecoming activities.
First Niagara volunteers from Western PA spent a morning on an assembly line packing boxes for the Great Pittsburgh Community Food Bank’s Commodity Supplemental Food Program which serves 6,402 senior citizens at more than 200 sites throughout Southwestern Pennsylvania. Registered seniors are eligible to receive one of these boxes which contain healthy, nonperishable foods.
The Southeastern PA employees of First Niagara donate their time and attention to the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Philadelphia. Twice a month, our team members participate in a program, Beyond School Walls, taking an active role in helping local children reach their full potential with one-on-one mentoring. This year alone, more than 39,000 children will be positively impacted by First Niagara’s commitment to mentoring.
First Niagara team members are often found spending their free time volunteering and helping those in need at Handi-Crafters, which runs one of the largest employment and disability focused support programs in Southeast Pennsylvania. Each year they help over 400 individuals to access rewarding employment opportunities in the community and in their Skill Development Center. They achieve their goals through partnerships with great employers and the acquisition of work contracts with businesses that choose socially responsible outsourcing to meet their production, assembly and packaging needs.
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