Earlier this month, we gathered at the First Niagara Center Harbour Club for our annual Report to the Community, and we were very pleased to see more than 150 representatives from local companies, foundations, government, and nonprofit agencies there.

The event included an address by John Koelmel, president and CEO of First Niagara, who offered his perspective as a local business leader and a long-time United Way volunteer.  We also heard from United Way board chair and CEO of Merchants Insurance Bob Zak, Campaign chair and Regional Executive of National Grid Dennis Elsenbeck, and our president Michael Weiner; as well as a panel discussion facilitated by Steve Finch, United Way vice chair and GM Powertrain plant manager.

We are very excited about our accomplishments over the past year, and Bob Zak highlighted some of them. We raised $13.3 million, increased investments in community programs and eliminated our processing fee on donor designated contributions.

Michael Weiner went on to present an overview of some of the outcomes achieved by our funded programs over the past two years. Through programs in Education, 25,538 children were enrolled in high quality child care; 15,449 children improved their average daily attendance; and 15,737 youth improved their grade point average. In Income, 18,627 individuals utilized free income tax preparation services, 1,647 individuals secured employment, and 174 individuals purchased homes with the support of homebuyer education and matched savings programs. Outcomes achieved by programs in Health & Wellness include 1,080 at-risk mothers being enrolled in prenatal care or receiving other assistance to improve the health of their children; 11,386 children and youth avoiding institutionalization or foster placement; and 3,788 seniors receiving transportation to health professionals or grocery stores.

We are so very proud of what we achieved – and it would have been impossible to do without our Program Partners, our community, and YOU! Thank you to everyone that helped us have such a successful year!

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