LOCKPORT — Nearly $500,000 was awarded to eight local projects — the first recipients of the Yahoo Community Fund for Niagara County.
The fund, created in 2015, is a result of the tax breaks and incentives Yahoo received to build its data center in the Town of Lockport, Yahoo is committed to granting $500,000 each year to local organizations in the area. The funds will run as long as the breaks and incentives expire in 2021, meaning the Internet giant will have awarded $3.5 million by then.
It’s also the second of two funds Yahoo has committed to awarding each year. The first is the Yahoo Community Benefit Fund, which is designed to provide funding for Lockport-centric projects and agencies. Those awards – totaling $250,000 – were announced last month in coordination with the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo.
Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul made the countywide announcement Tuesday at the Lockport data center on Enterprise Drive and Lockport Junction Road. In a statement, Empire State Development, which administers the program with Yahoo, said the projects align closely with the state’s economic development strategies, supporting job growth, entrepreneurship and career advancement.
“Yahoo has already made a huge investment in Western New York, creating jobs to attract and keep talented workers in the region. This year’s recipients will help strategically spread the benefits of this grant funding across Niagara County to further boost the region’s economy,” Hochul said in a statement.
The next round of annual countywide funding will begin in the spring of 2017, with nearly $250,000 available through the fund.
“At Yahoo, we know that our success in Western New York is a direct result of the talented workforce, business-friendly environment and access to renewable energy resources. That’s why we’re proud to give back to help keep the region strong,” Paul Bonaro, senior director, Yahoo Data Center Operations, said in a statement.
The awards include:
• $160,982 – Orleans Niagara BOCES for workforce ready adult education training.
• $124,985 – Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper for Stella Niagara Preserve kayak launch and shoreline enhancement project.
• $54,661 – Cornell Cooperative Extension of Niagara County for Eat Fresh WNY.
• $50,000 – Lumber City Development Corp. for Historic Downtown Improvement Program.
• $33,000 – YWCA of the Niagara Frontier, Inc. for investigating the feasibility of repurposing its 49 Tremont Street, North Tonawanda location.
• $23,080 – F Bites Culinary for a program that provides a series of instructional classes in hospitality, tourism and culinary skills to youth and adults throughout the community.
• $20,000 – On the Line Foundation for Kid’s Cove Community Fishing School.
• $15,000 – Niagara County Community College Small Business Development Center for an entrepreneurial training program.