first niagara

New York-based First Niagara Bank, which entered the Massachusetts market last year after its purchase of Connecticut-based NewAlliance Bank, plans to donate $50,000 to the Mass. Mentoring Partnership, with a focus on initiatives in Western Massachusetts.

The Mass. Mentoring Partnership (MMP) is a Boston-based nonprofit organization that serves as an umbrella organization for youth mentoring statewide, according to a statement.

This month is national mentoring month. As part of that initiative, First Niagara said it will support MMP’s efforts to promote the importance of mentoring through a multi-faceted marketing campaign with a focus on Western Massachusetts. The partnership falls under First Niagara’s flagship mentoring program, Mentoring Matters, which was been successfully launched in Western and Upstate New York, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, the bank said. Throughout National Mentoring Month, MMP aims to help Massachusetts mentoring programs “celebrate the everyday people who are making a difference for young people in their communities,” according to a statement.

First Niagara said it will work with MMP to identify high-performing mentoring programs and organizations that yield measurable results, and will provide funding for expansion of these programs in order to serve more youth. Currently operating a statewide network of 190 mentoring programs that serve almost 23,000 young people, MMP has plans to double the number of young people in quality structured mentoring relationships by 2013.

“First Niagara’s contribution will allow us to reach an even greater number of students, and provide them with the tools needed to excel inside and outside the classroom,” MMP Chief Program Officer Marty Martinez said in a statement.

Since 2007, First Niagara said it has provided $3.1 million in support of mentoring programs throughout its footprint.