BUFFALO — Buffalo-based First Niagara Financial Group is donating $500,000 to help revive the Empire State Games this summer, after New York’s budget crisis forced the cancellation of the 2009 competition.
The bank’s donation Wednesday brings the state halfway to a $1 million private fundraising goal announced by the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation in September. The fundraising is part of a four-point plan to stabilize the games’ finances without relying so much on tax dollars.
The 2010 summer games will be held in Buffalo in July and the region expects they will mean $15 million for the local economy. About 6,000 amateur athletes are expected to participate.
The governor praised First Niagara for stepping up during difficult economic times.