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					First Niagara Awards $500,000 to More Than 35
Non-Profits in Upstate New York
Meets the Need to Mentor Today's Upstate New York Youth

Buffalo, Oct 27, 2011 -- Upstate New York youth received a big boost for their
opportunity to be mentored when First Niagara announced that more than 35 area
organizations have been selected as grant recipients of the bank's fifth annual
Mentoring Matters(SM) program.

During three news conferences held this week at the First Niagara Regional
Headquarters in Albany, Syracuse, and Rochester, a total of $350,000 was awarded to
support organized mentoring efforts in the Upstate New York community. A news
conference to be held on Dec. 5 at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo, N.Y., will
announce the remaining Western New York non-profits to receive the remaining
$150,000 in funding.

Mentoring Matters is First Niagara's charitable giving program that provides critical
financial and volunteer support for mentoring efforts conducted throughout the
Northeast. This year Mentoring Matters tops the $2.5 million total grant mark in
Upstate New York – positively impacting more than 46,000 youth in more than 200
organized mentoring programs.

"Through our Mentoring Matters program we are able to reinforce the importance
and showcase the positive impact mentoring has on the lives of today's youth and
why it is so needed in our communities today," said Peter Cosgrove, Upstate New
York Regional President for First Niagara. "Mentoring is a strong factor that so often
leads to positive changes in the professional, academic, social, emotional, and
cognitive growth of young adults."

According to a survey of past Mentoring Matters grant recipients the benefits of
mentoring include significant improvements in academic grades and school
attendance. The survey also found a high percentage of acknowledgement of the
effectiveness of mentoring in elevating self-esteem, communication skills, learning to
relate well to others, setting career goals and adopting new, positive behaviors.

In total, First Niagara has provided more than $3.25 million to support mentoring
initiatives conducted throughout its Upstate New York, Pennsylvania, and New
England service areas.

About First Niagara: First Niagara, through its wholly owned subsidiary, First

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                                   Niagara Bank, N.A., is a multi-state community-oriented bank that currently has $31
                                   billion in assets, $19 billion in deposits, 346 branches and 5,000 employees providing
                                   financial services to individuals, families and businesses across Upstate New York,
                                   Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Massachusetts. For more information visit

                                   Contact Information:
                                   Name: Carr Marketing Communications
                                   Company: First Niagara Bank

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