Today, in honor of what would have been his 84th birthday on April 20, M&T employees volunteered in and around Buffalo Promise Neighborhood (BPN)—a place near and dear to Wilmers’ heart—to honor his legacy of community commitment.
Volunteer activities included cleaning, landscaping, light construction, moving furniture and organizing at sites throughout BPN and along Bailey Avenue. Among the sites were several community pocket parks and garden boxes, including the Baily-Dartmouth Garden and the Westminster Community Charter School teaching garden, which helps teach students where foods come from, their benefits, how to prepare them and the importance of being good stewards of the earth.
“Community involvement has long been a vital part of M&T’s success. Our late Chairman and CEO, Bob Wilmers, believed that the only way our company can succeed is if the communities we serve are constantly improving,” said Rene Jones, Chairman and CEO at M&T Bank. “It’s fitting to celebrate this day and honor his legacy with a day of community service in the Buffalo Promise Neighborhood.”
Wilmers’ connection to Buffalo’s East Side began in 1993 when he adopted a struggling school and led a group of M&T Bank employees to help revitalize the school, now known as Westminster Community Charter School. He and the team ultimately brought the national Promise Neighborhood model to Buffalo in 2012, establishing BPN. Today, BPN works to promote academic achievement and healthy development at three schools—soon to be four with the opening of the BPN Children’s Academy at Gerard Place in September—within their corner of the city, while also constructing physical, cultural and economic assets to help lift the neighborhood out of poverty.
The lights atop M&T’s headquarters, One M&T Plaza, were also lit green on April 20, bringing additional awareness and celebration of Wilmers and all that he meant to the company and stood for in the community.
M&T Bank supports its employee volunteer efforts in a number of ways. The company allows all eligible employees 40 hours of paid time off each year to volunteer in their community, and M&T Bank employees participate in community outreach activities organized through the company’s 12 local employee-led Resource Group chapters.
In 2017, local M&T Bank employees reported spending more than 144,000 hours volunteering. In addition, local employees pledged $782,000 through the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County, which was broadened in impact through a company gift of $250,000 for a total of more than $1 million in funding to help advance the community.
About M&T Bank
M&T Bank Corporation is a financial holding company headquartered in Buffalo, New York. M&T’s principal banking subsidiary, M&T Bank, operates banking offices in New York, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Connecticut, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia. Trust-related services are provided by M&T’s Wilmington Trust-affiliated companies and by M&T Bank.
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