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Buffalo City Mission Cuts Ribbon For the KeyBank Skills4 Life Center

Stuart Harper, right, Executive Director of Buffalo City Mission and Marie Hare, left, VP of Philanthropy KeyBank
KeyBank understands that the most direct path out of poverty is education—and underscored their support this week with a $20,000 investment to launch the KeyBank Skills4Life Center.

Recently a New York City study found that half of all homeless parents have not earned their high school diploma; limiting them at best to low-wage, dead-end jobs.

With the most current economic downturn, those without a GED lost their jobs at double the rate of people with the degree, and more than ten times the rate of college graduates. With the unemployment rate continuing to rise, an education is crucial in obtaining and maintaining jobs.

The City Mission understands the need for education well. The Mission’s dream is to provide an opportunity for all clients to live in safe affordable permanent housing working towards a living wage job while walking in God’s light. The goal is that everyone who leaves the Mission is enrolled or has enough training to get a good job they can build a life on.

The Mission’s dream is predicated on the fact that certain pieces must be in place before individuals and families can overcome their homeless condition. This is where partners like KeyBank and ECC are critical.

“We thank KeyBank for their vision,” stated Stuart Harper, Executive Director of the Buffalo City Mission. “Their generous gift will give mission residents the skills they need to lift themselves out of poverty.”

In related research, the State Department of Education identified that the GED programs that succeed are those that focus on the GED as a stepping-stone to gain acceptance into college. This lends much credence to the Mission’s present approach.

Last December, the Mission coordinated an innovative program to provide GED training and pre-collegiate studies to residents of the men’s community center and its women and children’s shelter, Cornerstone Manor. The “College For The Homeless” was launched in partnership with ECC, enlisting instructors to work with Mission residents with the goal of enrolling residents at ECC for a one-year certificate program or two-year degree that could ultimately lead to employment. Residents begin by taking GED classes, and then move into pre-collegiate studies. KeyBank has signed on as a major collaborator to this project.

This week, KeyBank announced that their funding would be directly channeled to this educational initiative, redesigning a classroom space with new computers and workstations at the men’s center. The KeyBankSkills4 Life Center will be open to all residents of both the men’s and women’s centers.

It is a great privilege for KeyBank to partner with the Buffalo City Mission in such a significant way”, said Marie E. Hare, Vice President of Philanthropy & Civic Affairs for KeyBank. “The KeyBank Skills4Life Center will be the ideal place for individuals whom the mission serves that is seeking further educational opportunities, GED, pre-collegiate studies, career readiness, workforce development and other skills necessary to obtain meaningful employment.”

About KeyBank Foundation

KeyBank Foundation, through its philanthropic investments, corporate contributions, and volunteerism supports organizations that foster economic self-sufficiency, principally where KeyBank operates.
As a corporate neighbor, KeyBank advances economic self-sufficiency through their funding priorities, which help communities and individuals prosper: Financial Education – Fostering effective financial management and understanding of financial services and tools; Workforce Development – Providing training and placement for people to access job opportunities and Diversity – Promoting inclusive environments by employing systemic changes to improve the access of individuals of diverse backgrounds

About The Buffalo City Mission
The Buffalo City Mission, founded in 1917, is a not-for-profit organization that provides preventative, emergency and long-term recovery services to thousands of people who are homeless or impoverished. The Mission includes: Women and Children’s Shelter (Cornerstone Manor); the Men’s Community Center; the Mission’s Vehicle Donation Program; and their Dick Road Thrift Store Location to better serve our community. For more information, please visit www.buffalocitymission.org or call 854-8181.