STAMFORD, CT – November 19, 2015 – The Stamford Public Education Foundation (SPEF) today announced First Niagara is supporting its 2015 Mentoring Matters grant application with a grant of $5,000. First Niagara’s Mentoring Matters program provides specialized support to exceptional mentoring-based programs throughout the Bank’s footprint. “SPEF’s Mentoring Program is an excellent example of the high impact initiatives that change lives, and we are thrilled to take a leadership role in supporting it,” said Barbara Astarita, Regional Coordinator, Charitable Giving, Tri-Star Regions for First Niagara Foundation. “At First Niagara, one of our priorities is helping young people achieve their full potential. We believe that investing in programs and initiatives that offer mentoring, skill building, job training, financial literacy and access to education for young people creates positive and lasting outcomes in the communities where we live and work.” SPEF’s nationally-recognized Stamford Mentoring Program serves elementary, middle and high school students in the Stamford Public Schools. It provides students who need additional academic and/or social support with resources and guidance required to be successful. Our traditional program partners college, community and corporate volunteers with students for weekly one-on-one mentoring sessions with students in grades 6 – 8; for grades 9 – 12 the sessions are bi-weekly. The four primary objectives are: help students set goals, improve their academic standing, become engaged in positive after-school activities and prepare for college, and career training or full-time employment after high school graduation.