Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

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April 7, 2013

Lawmaker questions Yahoo! fund


Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — “We are regional. We have for years been doing tremendous things in Niagara County,” she said.

Yahoo! will set up a charitable fund through the Community Foundation as part of the deal it struck to get 7.2 megawatts of low-cost hydropower, and up to $2 million in state Excelsior tax credits, for Lockport data center expansion and opening of a call center next door. One hundred fifteen new jobs are in the offing, the company says.

Establishment of a charitable fund through the Community Foundation is per Yahoo!’s request, according to Pete Gallivan, acting spokesman for the ESD Western New York region.

In the course of negotiating a Community Benefits Agreement with the state, Yahoo! representatives “wanted to put (money) in a community fund rather than give it to Empire State Development,” he said.

Disbursements from the fund are to be approved by a committee of ESD representatives with “advisement” from Yahoo!, Gallivan said.

Eligibility criteria for Yahoo! grants are to be determined by ESD and the Community Foundation jointly. Generally, according to Gallivan, money will go to projects and programs that are in line with the economic development priorities of the five-county Western New York regional council: supporting job readiness, smart growth, entrepreneurship, and building up target industries such as advanced manufacturing, agriculture, logistics, life sciences and tourism.

Counties in the ESD Western New York region are Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie and Niagara, which will receive a “special focus” from the Yahoo! grant committee, Gallivan added.

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