KeyBank and its partner the First Niagara Foundation announced Thursday they are donating half a million dollars to Explore & More Children's Museum's ongoing construction project on Buffalo's waterfront.
The presentation was held in the offices of law firm Phillips Lytle LLP in a room overlooking the construction site. The new Explore & More facility is expected to open late this year.
"I love the vantage point. A great spot, particularly, where we can oversee construction progress. Just a great spot," said Gary Quenneville, Upstate New York Regional Executive for KeyBank as he opened his remarks.
KeyBank is providing half of the $500,000 gift. The other half comes from its partner First Niagara Foundation, which was formed in 1998 by the former Lockport Savings Bank, which later became First Niagara and later merged into KeyBank.
"The museum, of course, will enable the kids to learn and develop in an environment that is totally unique for Buffalo," said Quenneville.
Explore & More's ongoing capital campaign, known as Play It Forward, seeks to raise approximately $20 million. Thursday's announced gift leaves them about seven million dollars away from that goal. David McNamara, the campaign's chairman, says the enthusiasm of those learning about the construction is encouraging.
"Thirteen is now our lucky number," he said. "With the commitment that we're announcing this morning, we will have raised $13 million in our capital campaign."
Students from Buffalo's Waterfront Elementary School were invited guests, and spent the time during the news conference painting small piggy banks, in which Mayor Byron Brown and others later deposited pennies.
The school learned it, too, will receive a gift. Elizabeth Gurney, executive director of the First Niagara Foundation, announced the school will soon receive $5,000 worth of books for its library.