Small Business Innovation Lab
Our Small Business Innovation Lab is a partnership with Canisius College. Piloted in Buffalo, it delivered a curriculum for multicultural business leaders, culminating in a pitch competition. Thirty-two small businesses participated, and three winners earned financial awards. The program will be expanded in 2022.
Buffalo Promise Neighborhood
M&T’s commitment to education began in 1993 when we partnered with Westminster Community Charter School and, in 2010, Buffalo Promise Neighborhood was established. This unique initiative brings together a team of dedicated professional M&T employees with backgrounds in business, academia and human services who focus on revitalization through education.
Most graduates of our Buffalo Promise Neighborhood schools have gone on to attend criteria-based public and private high schools and 50 students have attended private high schools through scholarships awarded through our Promise Scholars Program.
Buffalo Promise Neighborhood also includes two early childhood education centers for infants through Pre-K and an innovative parent support program that provides one-on-one coaching to assist with financial stability, continuing education and career advancement.
Our overall focus on family well-being extends further into community initiatives such as neighborhood beautification projects and health and wellness programs.
In our fast-paced and changing world, it’s crucial we invest in growing our tech talent through resources and programs that enable them to continually upskill and reskill, to meet the ever-evolving demands of the market. The Tech Academy was created to address these needs in our organization and throughout our communities.
In 2021, in partnership with global technology training provider General Assembly, the Tech Academy trained M&T employees – through virtual, instructor-led classes – in skills such as Cloud Computing, Java, SQL and Python. Employees also spent almost 12,000 hours learning on-demand through Pluralsight’s online technology skills platform.
In December 2020, in response to the negative economic impacts of COVID-19, the Tech Academy launched the Western New York Tech Skills Initiative, with General Assembly and a coalition of 12 regional stakeholders and industry partners. With this program, we strove to reach a diverse audience using the relationships and influence of community-based organizations. Since the program started in December 2020, we engaged a group of more than 1,200 people: 50 percent of those were female, 66 percent reported an annual income of $50,000 or less, and 38 percent did not have a college degree.
While we recognize the power of arming people with new skills in high-demand career areas, we also see a need to connect community members to real jobs. In the summer of 2021, M&T began collaborating with four regional employers, TechBuffalo and General Assembly to plan the inaugural Tech Academy Community Bootcamp: a 12-week full-time bootcamp to train 19 community members in Data Analytics, at no cost to the students. Offering an opportunity to interview for a job in Data Analytics with one of our employer partners at the end of the program, the inaugural bootcamp, launching in 2022, will give deserving community members the opportunity to start a career in technology.
Improving access to food and farmland - Providence Farm Collective
Since 2019, M&T has provided several capacity building grants to Providence Farm Collective, a nonprofit organization empowering just and equitable access to food and farmland to under-resourced communities.
This newly established organization is growing quickly to accommodate high demand from New Americans for food resources. In the 2021 growing season, Providence Farm Collective was home to 275 farmers and 84 summer youth employees, representing seven unique communities who worked together to manage 16 diversified, organic farms.
From cladding to chipping - Reuse marble
Our recycling effort is not limited to technology, paper and coffee pods. At our headquarters in Buffalo, New York, we are removing about 350,000 lbs of worn exterior marble cladding. Having mandated a ReUse solution at the start of the project, we have partnered with two companies who will repurpose the better pieces into benches, pavers and other elements. Any remaining cladding will be converted into decorative landscape chips. Our intent is to prevent any cladding going to landfill.
Funding a sustainable future - PUSH
We are long-time supporters of People United for Sustainable Housing (PUSH Buffalo). PUSH’s workforce development programs place workers in the renewable energy and green construction sector. They offer training to Buffalo’s low-income residents who are underemployed, jobless, returning citizens and youth not on a college track. Trainees are subsequently matched with contractors, building relationships for long-term workforce development.
Our Charitable Foundation has approved a $250,000 grant, over three years, for PUSH’s 2,500 square foot Net-Zero Sustainable Workforce Training Center.
Currently in its design and construction phase, the center will be a demonstration space for sustainable technology and construction, and a venue for PUSH’s workforce development and training.