BUFFALO, N.Y., Jan. 05, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Eight not-for-profits are vying for $20,000 in grant funding and the public will choose the winners in the 2016 First Niagara Mentoring Matters SM Grant Giveaway by casting votes on Facebook for their favorite submissions. 

Individuals whose lives have been impacted by mentoring were asked to create and submit a 90-second video about their mentoring experience and nominate a not-for-profit organization that offers mentoring services in the four-state footprint that First Niagara serves. The First Niagara Foundation announced today the eight not-for-profit organizations that are finalists in this year's grant giveaway.

"We at First Niagara have seen first-hand the incredible impact mentoring has on young people and our communities," said Elizabeth Gurney, Executive Director of the First Niagara Foundation.  "We are very proud to support organizations that provide and promote mentoring as an effective means of influencing positive behavior and improving lives.  Each video provides an inspiring story, and now it is up to the public to vote on who should receive the grant funding we are providing.  Voting takes place throughout the month of January, which is National Mentoring Month."

Members of the community can vote for their favorite video by visiting the bank's Facebook page to view the submissions and vote for their favorite entry.  Voting will close at 11:59 p.m. EST on February 1, 2016.  The mentoring organization with the most votes will receive a grant of $10,000 from the First Niagara Foundation, the first runner-up will receive $4,000, and the remaining runners-up each will each receive $1,000. 

First Niagara has long been committed to the cause of mentoring and has provided more than $8 million to mentoring programs over the past eight years.  The company launched Mentoring Matters SM with the goal of supporting organizations whose great work helps children improve their grades and school attendance, enhance their self-esteem, avoid the dangers of drugs and alcohol, and have a better opportunity for a brighter future.

To learn more about how you can make a difference as a mentor, visit www.mentoring.org.

About The First Niagara Foundation

The First Niagara Foundation is a not-for-profit charitable entity. Founded in 1998, the First Niagara Foundation is committed to supporting organizations in the communities in which we live and work, with specific focus on Youth and Education, Community Development and Neighborhood Revitalization. In 2015, First Niagara contributed more than $6 million in charitable grants and sponsorships to community partners across the bank's four-state footprint.  For additional information on First Niagara, visit us at www.firstniagara.com, follow us on Twitter @FirstNiagara, or like us on Facebook at FirstNiagaraBank.


First Niagara ContactNews Media:Jodi JohnstonDirector, Corporate Media Relations(716) 270-8612Jodi.johnston@fnfg.com

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