The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation and the First Niagara Foundation, in partnership with KeyBank, has announced a $2.4 million grant to the Western New York Mentoring Collective, a group of nine mentoring programs serving western New York State.
The grant will enable the collective, which works to strengthen the field of youth mentorship across the region, to leverage the expertise of MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership and its statewide affiliate, Mentor NY, to create, over the next two years, a learning community of local mentoring programs.
Organizations participating in the initiative include Big Brothers Big Sisters of Erie County, Buffalo Prep, Classroom Champions, Chautauqua Striders, Compeer, the Edge Foundation, Hillside Work-Scholarship, Say Yes Buffalo, and Youth Mentoring Services of Niagara County. Community Connections of NY, a nonprofit management services organization, will oversee the grant on behalf of the collective and will be responsible for convening and connecting the nine organizations to MENTOR and Mentor NY throughout the process.
"There's tremendous value for children to have a caring adult role model, beyond their parents or guardians, to support, guide, and empower them on their journey into adulthood," said Wilson Foundation president and CEO David Egner. "We applaud the cohort organizations for their commitment to work together and help close the mentoring gap in Western New York."