Impact Stories

We would like to share one of the most satisfying parts of our work by recognizing the people and agencies making a difference in our community, and how their work is affecting the residents of Niagara County.

Niagara Aquatics Club

Niagara Aquatics is dedicated to providing the best swim instruction services to both new and experienced swimmers of all ages and abilities via group lessons, private instruction, clinics, and other programming. Niagara Aquatics offers Learn to Swim programs for all ages, and an Adaptive Learn to Swim Program for Children with Special Needs or Children with Autism. The competitive team is a year-round, goal-oriented swim club offering professional, full-time coaching and an environment designed to assist swimmers in achieving their full potential. Niagara Aquatics Club has a mission to combat juvenile delinquency and community deterioration, while promoting social welfare and physical fitness.  They promote the development of good sportsmanship through the conduct of supervised swimming and other athletic activities.

Niagara Aquatics Club

“The grant absolutely made a difference in the quality of the services we provide.  The lane lines are necessary for training, so that swimmers can swim straight.  We were much more efficient and organized.  The reels allowed for safe storage of the lane lines.  The deck furniture with lounge chairs, chairs, umbrellas and small tables allowed for an inviting atmosphere and gave parents front row seats to our program.  The younger Learn to Swim kids especially benefited from having their parents nearby.  The Niagara Aquatics gear made our program look professional and helped us acquire more swimmers through direct marketing.  We had extra funds to purchase coaches shirts, a banner, championship t-shirts and sweatshirts, and we were able to treat the children from Youth Mentoring Services kids to 3 days at the pool.” – Niagara Aquatics Club – September 2021

Youth Mentoring Services of Niagara County

The Youth Mentoring Service’s Mission is to make a positive difference in the lives of children and youth primarily through a relationship with a caring adult, and to assist them in achieving their highest potential as they grow to become productive, responsible, and caring citizens. YMS addresses the needs of children and youth (ages of 7-19) who live in risk and their families by providing activities and other resources.

Youth Mentoring Services

“The grant we received was used to cover general operating expenses. Few grants include general operating aid. Sometimes the biggest challenge is ‘keeping the doors open.’ For families in eastern Niagara County, YMS serves as a centralized place to pick up resources (food, clothing, boots, backpacks, Christmas, etc.) The convenience, as well as personalized service, allows our families access with dignity to much needed supplies.” – Youth Mentoring Services – October 2021

WAHI Studio, Inc.

WAHI Studio INC is an art education 501(c)3 nonprofit serving Niagara County and WNY with memberships, programs, events, and creative joy. They take a therapeutic approach to creating art. WAHI Studio has a large collage media collection for art journaling and mixed media. You don’t have to be good at drawing to make something here.  WAHI Studio hosts free to the community events: Newfane Chalk Festival, Olcott Chalk Festival, and WAHI Festifall. During the summer months chalk art is the focus as they go out into the community with temporary murals. They make art accessible and work with both children and adults.
To learn more visit:

WAHI Studio, Inc. 


“This grant impacted the resident school district, Newfane. It gave a new option for extracurricular activities for an underserved group. Some students don’t get to participate in art at all or only a quarter even in the middle school grades. This grant made it possible to keep our doors open as we entered into fall of 2021. We had just celebrated our first year open.Being a new business in a small town, we found it difficult to get recognized as more than a business but a resource. The word is still getting out that we even exist. This program launched us into public view simply by what we do and the word-of-mouth advertising that followed from the families. The response has been so positive and gave us the momentum to keep expanding to provide more services like this program. Our volunteers are just as excited as the students are and there is such a sense of community inside our small space that the students want to return to.” 
-WAHI Studio, Inc. – March 2020

Aquarium of Niagara

With our community and partners, the Aquarium of Niagara celebrates our natural wonders and inspires people to make a difference for aquatic life. They impact over 306,000 guests annually through their education and conservation programs. Over the last 55 years, their collections have grown to include sea lions, seals, penguins, and hundreds of fish and invertebrates. They are proud to be a rescue facility for blind and permanently injured seals. For more information please visit:

Aquarium of Niagara Programs

“In 2021, The Aquarium received a Challenge Grant to help offset animal care costs. More specifically, funding was used to help cover the cost for the purchase of essential water treatment media used in critical life support systems for the Aquarium’s living exhibits. The grant made a significant impact during a period when the Aquarium faced tremendous challenges. We were able to leverage this grant to secure funding from other funders. The outpouring of support from local private foundations reinvigorated the Aquarium staff and ensure the Organization could continue to sere the community as a cultural hub of education and conservation..” 
-Aquarium of Niagara – October 2021

Locks Heritage District Corporation

The Lockport Locks Heritage District is a nationally recognized heritage attraction, featuring the fully restored and operating the circa 1842 Enlarged Erie Canal Flight of Five Locks adjacent to Barge Canal Locks 34 &35. The Locks Heritage District is easily accessible and fully interpreted, and it attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors annually.   
Visit the Flight of Five, Locks District Museum and Lock Tender Tribute, or schedule a Locks District Tour and see a Locks Demonstration.

Locks Heritage Attractions

“The committment of the Grigg Lewis Foundation has opened a number of opportunities for the LHDC to secure the funding needed to complete the Lock Tenders Tribute.  It is doubtful that so many private sector organizations would have considered our funding requests if not for the the prior approval of  Grigg Lewis. The target date for the completion of the Lock Tenders Tribute is October 2022.  ”       
– Locks Heritage District Corporation – October 2021