Verizon Media continued its annual tradition of supporting multiple community agencies and their projects with the announcement of the recipients of the 2019 Verizon Media Community Benefit Fund for Lockport and the Verizon Media Community Fund for Niagara County.

Each year from 2015 to 2021, Verizon Media has committed to granting up to $500,000 to community organizations in Lockport and the surrounding areas. For 2019, a total of $381,470 was awarded to 15 different projects. 

Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul made the award recipient announcements on Monday afternoon at a press conference at the Verizon Media facility in Lockport. 

"Our regional economic development strategy is delivering real results for Western New York and our entire state,” Hochul said. “Verizon Media has made significant investments in Niagara County, and we have worked with them to ensure our investment at the Verizon facilities in Lockport results in economic development across the region. As we announce the latest winners of the Verizon Media Community Benefit Fund, we know the projects being funded are delivering on our efforts designed to foster entrepreneurship, workforce development, and smart growth.”

Four projects received funding from the Niagara County fund:

• Heart, Love & Soul was awarded $75,000 to develop a one-stop service center to help reduce barriers for helping low-income and marginalized populations achieve employment and career pathway goals.

• Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper received $43,200 for designing walking trails and access elements to a Cayuga Creek site.

• The Niagara Community College Foundation received $20,000 for the Niagara Small Business Development Center to give to start-up and small businesses focused on online marketing and social media platforms.

• Empower received $9,270 to establish a portable coffee cart for up to 12 workers to staff. 

Eleven projects received funding from the Lockport fund. 

The Historic Palace Theatre received $50,000 for renovations to its inner lobby. Lockport Ice Arena and Sports Center received $31,800 to purchase a used Zamboni. Community Missions of Niagara Frontier, Inc. received $23,828 to replace two minivans for the Aurora House. Heart of Niagara Animal Rescue, Inc., received $21,741 to increase available space.

The Lockport Locks Heritage District Corporation received $20,000 for security cameras. The Salvation Army received $20,000 for the Sister Mary Loretto Memorial Soup Kitchen and Youth Programs. Youth Mentoring Services of Niagara County, Inc. received $18,991 for an attic rebuilding. Save the Michaels of the World, Inc. received $17,000 for a Lockport Recovery Center to be created. The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra Society received $12,500 to continue its youth concerts at Lockport High School. 

Literacy New York Buffalo-Niagara, Inc. received $10,000 to provide its literacy tutoring at the Lockport literacy drop-in center. DeSales received $8,140 for the creation of a garden which would allow students to learn from a living science laboratory. 

Verizon Media houses media, technology and communication brands that people across the globe love and trust. As part of Verizon Media’s $170 million agreement with Empire State Development to establish a customer care center and expand its existing data center in Niagara County, the Community Benefit Fund was created at the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo in 2015 in addition to the initial commitment the company made to Lockport in 2010 with the Community Benefit Fund. The community initiative is part of Verizon Media’s commitment to drive economic development in Western New York, a hub of technical excellence for the company. 

The next round of annual funding will begin in the spring of 2020, with up to $500,000 available again through the two funds.