• FAQs

  • How do I submit an application for a charitable contribution to First Niagara?

    All applications must be submitted electronically. Review our grant guidelines, select the charitable giving programs that best fit with your request, and complete the charitable contribution request form online. (Note: Requests under $500 are not required to complete the online application; those requests should be made through your local First Niagara branch.)

    What is the difference between a Regional Community Grant and a Regional Community Sponsorship?

    Regional Community Grants support programs of 501(c)(3) charitable organizations. Regional Community Sponsorships support events (luncheons, dinners, galas, walks, rides, etc.) and other special fundraising and awareness building event-related activities that may include tangible benefits, such as tickets to an event. View more information.

    What are the focus areas of First Niagara’s charitable giving?

    First Niagara may support any organization that meets the eligibility criteria; however, as the needs of our communities are many, First Niagara seeks to support organizations and programs that focus on one or both of the following areas that we believe are critical to enriching our communities.

    • Youth and Education: Initiatives that directly support youth and enhance their capacities through mentoring, skill building, job training, and access to education.
    • Community Development and Neighborhood Revitalization: Initiatives that advance and increase self-sufficiency, stabilize housing, improve neighborhoods, encourage community collaboration and build partnerships.

    Special consideration will be given to those programs/projects which will directly impact low- to moderate-income individuals while taking care to promote diversity, inclusiveness and respect for all across our footprint.

    How does First Niagara make its funding decisions?

    At First Niagara, we believe that decisions are most effectively made at the local level. Therefore, each region in our footprint has a Philanthropic Committee that meets regularly to review each grant and sponsorship application that is received. Funding decisions are based upon this Committee’s recommendations. Requests must meet our eligibility criteria, be submitted via our online application system, and fall within our areas of focus to receive consideration.

    Are the grants only available to nonprofit organizations?

    A Regional Community Grant may only be made to a charitable, nonprofit organization as defined in section 501(c)(3) of the IRS tax code. Regional Community Sponsorships are not limited to 501(c)3 organizations and may include other types of organizations or groups hosting events to raise funds and awareness provided that the request meets all guidelines and eligibility requirements.

    How often can my organization apply to First Niagara for funding?

    An organization may receive funding from First Niagara only once in a 12-month period.

    How long will it take for First Niagara to make a decision on my grant application?

    Timing on decisions depends on several factors, including First Niagara’s grant request volume, regional committee meeting schedules, and the type of request that you submit. To be considered, an organization must apply at least 90 days in advance of the date of the actual program/project start and/or event date.

    How far out from my program/project start or event date should I apply to First Niagara for a grant?

    You must apply at least 90 days in advance of the date of the actual program/project start or event date. We recommend that you apply as soon as you have full details about the program/project or event for which you are seeking funding.

    What are the geographical restrictions to First Niagara charitable giving?

    Organizations must serve communities within First Niagara’s footprint, which includes counties throughout New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Massachusetts. The online application will ask you to select the primary county your organization/program serves to ensure this criterion is met.

    I have questions regarding my application, whom should I contact?

    Contact your region’s coordinator. View contacts.

    Will I hear from First Niagara even if my request is declined?

    Yes, all applicants will receive a decision from First Niagara on its ability to fund a request, either as an approval or as a declination.

    Why was my application declined?

    First Niagara recognizes that there is a broad range of organizations engaged in worthy activities in our communities. The funding requests we receive greatly exceed our annual charitable giving resources. We regret that we are unable to fund or support every application request and often must decline support to worthy organizations and programs. Such a response does not reflect in any way a negative appraisal of the applicant organization or the value of its services.

  • View First Niagara’s grant and sponsorship application process.
  • First Niagara’s contributions reach a broad spectrum of community organizations.
    Need help or have questions? Your regional coordinator can help.
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