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Delaware North, M&T Bank gift $200,000 to the African American Veterans Monument

Grant brings fundraising to 85 percent of $1.5 million goal

The African American Veterans Monument Committee is one giant step closer to its fundraising goal for a monument at the Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park, thanks to a $200,000 joint grant from Delaware North and M&T Bank.

Delaware North Co-CEO Lou Jacobs and M&T Bank Chairman and CEO René Jones announced the gift at an event this morning.

“Delaware North is honored to join our colleagues from M&T Bank to support the African American Veterans Monument, which pays long overdue tribute to those who fought for the very freedoms they were not always afforded at home,” said Delaware North’s Co-CEO Lou Jacobs. “By adding this monument to Buffalo’s bustling waterfront, we ensure that it becomes a fixture in our city’s treasure trove of cultural landmarks.”

“America’s minorities, or people of color, have fought in every American military campaign from the Revolutionary War to the current engagement in the Middle East, including more than a million who served during WWII,” said M&T Bank’s chairman and CEO, Rene Jones, whose African-American father was a veteran of World War II. “Their bravery and sacrifice deserve to be memorialized, and M&T Bank is honored to help make that happen.”

Since 2016, the African American Veterans Monument Committee has been working to secure funding for the new, first-of-its-kind monument estimated to cost $1.5 million. Today’s news brings the fundraising total to over $1.28 million.

“On behalf of the entire African American Veterans Monument Committee, I would like to thank Delaware North and M&T Bank for their support of the project,” said Warren Galloway, a U.S. Air Force veteran and chair of the African American Veterans Monument Committee. “The contributions of African Americans to the country’s military are an understated piece of history. We’re humbled by the community’s support
of our effort to shed a light on it here in Buffalo, and look forward to unveiling the monument this spring.”

“I am extremely grateful to the leadership at both Delaware North and M&T Bank,” said Buffalo Assemblywoman Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes. “They understand the historical cultural sacrifices and significance that this project symbolizes and the potential that this monument has from a national education perspective and as an attraction. I am very appreciative of their ‘community first’ mindset and hope that others may follow suit.”

When completed, the new African American Veterans Monument will be the nation’s first monument dedicated solely to African-American veterans and service members. It will consist of a dozen 10-foot-tall black concrete pillars, representing each of the country’s military conflicts that have occurred.

Ground was broken on the monument in November. With hopes for a mild winter, construction is expected to be completed by summer 2019.

PHOTO CAPTION (above): From left to right at today’s African American Veterans Monument grant announcement are Warren Galloway, chair of the African American Monument Committee; René Jones, chairman and CEO of M&T Bank; Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes, a Buffalo assemblywoman; and Lou Jacobs, Co-CEO of Delaware North.

PHOTO CAPTION (below): A rendering shows the future African American Veterans Monument, which will consist of a dozen 10-foot-tall black concrete pillars, representing each of the country’s military conflicts that have occurred.