The 2017 GROW Award winners exemplify the importance of community banks. These projects and stories are just a taste of what our members are constantly doing to ensure the success of the communities in which they serve. Look for more detailed examples of these and other community bank projects in future Transactions Community Bank Profiles. Community banks help to grow their communities in more ways then we’ll ever know, and for that, we thank you. Congratulations to all of this year’s GROW Award winners!
President’s Award Winners
Ambler Savings Bank
Ambler Savings Bank has entered into a multi-year partnership with the Center for Autism. Since 2016, Ambler Savings Bank has donated $80,000, and has plans to donate another $90,000 over the next three years. The Center for Autism has two treatment centers in Philadelphia and is the oldest non-profit autism treatment center in the country. As a leading provider in the region, the Center offers evaluation and treatment to over 1,500 children and families each year.
The Center will use the donations from Ambler Savings Bank for evaluation services, treatment programs, and to acquire specialized therapeutic equipment for the treatment centers.
Brentwood Bank made a $40,000 monetary contribution and is working with NeighborWorks Western Pennsylvania to support their educational efforts with the local immigrant Bhutanese population. In addition to offering financial education assistance, Brentwood Bank hopes to be the institution that provides home purchase financing to the Bhutanese graduates of the education and counseling programs when they’re ready to buy their homes.
Additionally, Brentwood Bank partnered with Rebuilding Together Pittsburgh to improve a home in the local Knoxville area, which is part of Brentwood Bank’s South Hills community. The sponsorship allowed the bank to bring volunteers to work on this house. Twelve volunteers from the Bank worked to replace doors, paint interiors, scrape exterior walls, and clean out the basement of old and dangerous items.
Roughly sixteen Brentwood Bank team members were involved with one or both of the projects. The bank hopes to involve more team members through continued service with the Bhutanese community, and expects to be involved with another home rebuilding project in the future.
Marquette Savings Bank
The city of Erie has one of the highest poverty rates in PA. In addition, the downtown and center city areas are in a state of decline brought on by crime, drugs and M & A of companies. Recently, the city invested in the development of an award winning master plan to re-establish a safe and vibrant community.
Marquette Savings bank took a leadership role in providing a multi-year, ½ a million dollar, commitment to help fund the Sisters of Saint Joseph neighborhood Network and the Our West Bayfront Commitment. These initiatives are part of Marquette’s Mpowering Communities to be Better Places Program. The program scores community giving based on priorities established by the community itself.
Marquette Savings bank is committed to making their communities stronger, safer and more beautiful for their customer, neighbors and friends.
New Tripoli Bank
The Community Fire Company of New Tripoli (CFNT) is an all-volunteer fire department founded in 1945. What began as a one-room schoolhouse has grown into the current fire station, however it is now no longer adequate.
New Tripoli Bank is a central part of the community, as is the Fire Company. Founded in 1910, New Tripoli Bank prides itself on giving back to their customers and their communities.
Noticing all of their current needs, the CFNT recently launched a fundraising campaign, as the estimated cost for the expansion will cost approximately $1.3 million. On April 10, 2017, New Tripoli Bank proudly kicked off the campaign with a $100,000 donation. The bank is proud to be a part of a project that benefits so many people, honoring their bank tagline, “Because People are more Valuable than Money”.
Woodlands Bank has created “The Everyday Hero” service award, put into place to honor the local volunteers who serve their non-profits and community with grit & sweat equity. This is something that mirrors bank culture, mission, and beliefs. Woodlands Bank is using this award’s publicity to highlight the benefits of giving back, and to advocate for their community. The bank received 28 nominations from 17 separate non-profit organizations, 4 winners were selected to receive the award.
Community Impact Award Winners
First Columbia Bank & Trust Company
The Hope to Reach Just One. First Columbia Bank & Trust Company has a hope to reach one…one young person…one family…and help them on the path to recovery from drug or alcohol abuse.
Being a community bank, First Columbia loves the spring—awarding scholarships, sponsoring Little League teams, and hosting their signature annual event, The First Columbia Teen Star Musical Competition. While all of these efforts are important investments in the local youth, none has been more meaningful than hosting former NBA player Chris Herren to speak with young people about the life altering and life-threatening effects of substance abuse. Because, in the end, all the awards and opportunities they give students don’t matter if they make the wrong choice when faced with the decision to drink or do drugs. The fact is that 90% of adults addicted to drugs and alcohol began using in their teenage years.
In May, over the course of two days, the bank orchestrated field trips to Bloomsburg University for all high school students from nine of the area high schools to hear Chris’ presentation. With a full team of bank volunteers on hand to direct 80+ school buses and seat 3,600 students, they were able to bring these students, teachers and administrators together to hear his message, centered on the straightforward question of, “Why do you need drugs and alcohol to change who you are?” He challenged those who are suffering to dig deep, share their struggle, and ask for help. He advocated for reaching young people at the beginning of their struggle and not to wait until they hit bottom.
First Federal Savings & Loan Association of Greene County
First Federal Savings and Loan Association of Greene County continues to make investments in their communities that benefit not only customers but all residents. From awarding higher education scholarships to constructing the first new building in their hometown in decades, they are proud to see opportunities for growth and the potential to make positive changes in local neighborhoods. At First Federal, employees believe in being good neighbors and passionate stewards.
On April 11, 2016, the bank broke ground for a new building adjacent to their main office location. This event was a milestone for both First Federal of Greene County and Waynesburg Borough, as this was the first newly constructed building in the downtown business district in decades.
Additionally, in a tradition dating back nearly 20 years, First Federal of Greene County awards scholarships to area high school graduates pursuing higher education. Since 2001, the Association has awarded more than $300,000 in funds for students from Greene, Fayette, and Washington counties. First Federal of Greene County is beyond proud to make such a financial investment in the area’s youth and assist them on the path to their futures.
In December 2009, Fleetwood Bank opened their doors to the Shoemakersville community, welcoming everyone to their new office and kicking off the holiday season with a tree lighting event. This marked the start of a tradition. The 2016 event was held on a Friday afternoon, and was a partnership with many local community members. Local businesses donated a bounty of food items, a local landscaper helped decorate and string the lights on the outdoor evergreen, the Shoemakersville Recreation Board helped promote the event and the Shoemakersville Fire Company volunteered to lend a hand as well. In addition to those community groups, the event had entertainment by two different church choirs and the local Elementary School’s 5th grade Chorus, all singing traditional holiday favorites. Santa arrived by fire truck and spent a few hours taking pictures with children of all ages, and then closed out the evening by helping to ‘light the Christmas tree’ as everyone was gathered around singing “Oh, Christmas Tree.” The holiday spirit was definitely being spread throughout Fleetwood Bank.
This event has grown throughout the years, bringing different members of the community and organizations together all for one reason – COMMUNITY. Being the only remaining community bank in Berks County, Fleetwood Bank takes pride in being able to continue these traditions and strengthen the connection they have with their customers and communities that they serve.
The Gratz Bank
The Gratz Bank has donated a building that it owned in the Elizabethville community to the Elizabethville Historical Society to commemorate the Elizabethville bicentennial. The building will be used to display historical memorabilia and will be open to the public during the bicentennial celebration and thereafter.
InFirst Bank prides itself in being a true community bank—their customers and community are their lifeline. To help give back to their hometowns, the bank held the Annual Shred Day event at three of their branches. Shred day is a free service the bank provides to the community as a way to encourage people to make identity protection part of their regular routine and lessen their risk of identity theft. An addition to the Shred Day event this year, they also held a Food Drive. News of this addition spread far and wide and the bank had a record number of attendees to this year’s event!
InFirst Bank collected over 1000 pounds of non-perishable food that was donated to ICCAP Food Bank, the Pathway Homeless Shelter, and the Punxsutawney First Church of God Food Bank. These non-profit organizations are vital links in food distribution in the local communities. Indiana First Bank was honored to contribute to them and assist in nourishing residents in need in their hometowns. The bank believes that no one in their community should ever need to go to bed hungry.
Mid Penn Bank
In 2016, Mid Penn Bank employees held a “No Shave November” campaign and raised $11,000 for Penn State Cancer Institute. The bank’s donation supported prostate cancer research performed by Jay D. Raman, M.D., chief of the Division of Urology at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.
Throughout the month of November, male employees at Mid Penn Bank were challenged to grow their facial hair and remain unshaven in support of changing the face of men’s health. The bank held several employee fundraisers, including a challenge to keep President and CEO Rory Ritrievi unshaven throughout the month. Several contests were held among employees to keep the beards growing, including a “Ready, Set, Grow” contest, a “Mountain Man” contest and a “Most Creative” contest. The bank also had dress down days and other small fundraisers to keep employees engaged.
The bank originally set a goal of raising $5,000, and the team rallied behind the cause and exceeded the goal by raising $11,000. It was an incredible display of generosity that greatly benefited the research being performed by Dr. Raman, while also helping to change the face of men’s health.
PeoplesBank, A Codorus Valley Company
At the 2017 PeoplesBank Annual Associate Meeting, 338 associates worked together to build 45 bikes. The bikes were then donated to the United Way of York County, United Way of Central Maryland, United Way of Lancaster County, and the United Way of the Capital Region to be distributed to local deserving children.
This team-building activity was kept a secret from all associates until the project was announced that evening. PeoplesBank associates were seated at tables of eight by randomly selecting seat assignments upon arrival to encourage meeting new people. Each table of eight received a box with an unassembled bike, tools, and brief instructions. The Build a Bike exercise tied to the three areas of PeoplesBank – People, Process, and Profit, because it took all of the PEOPLE in the room to complete a PROCESS so we could donate to a non-PROFIT! In less than an hour, all 45 teams were able to build a bike by working together as a team and walked away knowing that they made a difference in the life of a child.
William Penn Bank
At William Penn Bank, employees are committed to making an impact on the community in a variety of ways. Promoting good savings habits at an early age is a priority for the bank. To encourage this, their financial literacy officer is always looking for opportunities to teach basic banking skills at local schools. To help promote their youth savings program, Penn’s Little Savers, they recently unveiled a new mascot, Pockets the Kangaroo. Under the program, kids can earn buckaroos for good savings habits, good report cards, etc.
Additionally, William Penn Bank is proud to announce that they have renamed their employee volunteer program to “William Penn’s Pals”. Through the program, employees volunteer during work time for local organizations. Some employees volunteer on a regular basis, and others volunteer as-needed by the organization. The bank is proud to say that over the last year, they had an employee participation rate of 47%!
Grow Your Community Award Winners
Coatesville Savings Bank
Coatesville Savings Bank, along with The National Iron & Steel Heritage Museum, recently hosted the 11th Annual Rebecca Lukens Award Presentation. The 2017 recipient was Frances Sheehan, the former president and CEO of the Brandywine Health Foundation, who was recognized for her service to the community.
Supporters gathered at a garden party reception in the Lukens National Historic District to honor Sheehan, who served as president and CEO of the Brandywine Health Foundation in Coatesville for 15 years and helped distribute millions in funding for services and programs for Coatesville area residents. Her involvement has included Planned Parenthood of Chester County, the Chester County Women’s Commission, Philanthropy Matters, and president of the Brandywine Health Foundation. Under her guidance, the foundation supported non-profits with $14 million in grants. In January 2017, Sheehan became president of Crozer-Keystone Community Foundation.
Established by The Graystone Society’s National Iron & Steel Heritage Museum, the award honors individuals who exhibit the qualities of Rebecca Lukens, the matriarch of the steel company that is now part of ArcelorMittal.
Community State Bank of Orbisonia
On Saturday, March 18, 2017 Community State Bank of Orbisonia partnered with the American Red Cross and the Orbisonia/Rockhill Volunteer Fire Co. going door to door offering to install new smoke alarms and to check and replace batteries in the homeowners’ current detectors. They also talked to the families about fire safety and helped them to plan an escape route in case their home caught fire. 226 smoke detectors were installed.
In February the local Boy Scout Troop 237 and the Orbisonia United Methodist youth group distributed informational fliers to all of the homes, so that the homeowner could pre-register. The American Red Cross provided the smoke detectors, CSB provided breakfast and lunch for the volunteers, and labor was provided by all three organizations.
County Savings Bank
County Savings Bank hosted a fundraiser for Vest-A-Cop on November 18, 2016. The bank sold Chick-Fil-A sandwiches, hot dogs, chips, soda, water and baked goods in their lobby and outside under their tent. The proceeds from this fundraiser were then used to purchase bullet proof vests for local police officers. The goal of Vest-A-Cop is for every police officer in Delaware County to be protected. County Savings Bank raised $2000.00 and were pleased to be able to purchase two vests. The program is a very worthwhile cause, and one that every employee at the bank was grateful to be a part of.
Eva Interiano, 5, of McClure, was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 2. On February 15, 2017 Eva lost her courageous battle with the disease. Eva was loved by many and made a large impact on the community, including the staff at MCS Bank. In memory of Eva, MCS Bank donated a tree, bench and plaque to Eva’s family, which was planted at one of Eva’s favorite parks, Derry Park in Lewistown. A dedication ceremony was held as a part of the 2017 Mifflin-Juniata County Relay for Life event, with Eva’s family installing the memorial plaque. MCS Bank’s hope is that this space will provide Eva’s family and friends a lasting place to reflect on all of the memories that they shared with Eva.
The Neffs National Bank
The Neffs National Bank takes great pride in being involved in their community. They value the relationship with their customers and their community as a whole. During the month of April, they were once again able to give back to the community through their annual “Community Banking Month” with special guests and events held every Friday. These events included visits from the Busy Bee Quilters, the Lehigh Gap Nature Center, the Easter Bunny, the American Legion, and the Grundsau Lodsch.
In addition to the weekly events, The Neffs National Bank held their annual collection of donations for local food banks and hosted their annual Miller-Keystone Blood Drive. Thanks to the generosity of bank directors, employees, customers and non-customers, 313 pounds of food were collected and distributed to the local food bank, and a total of 15 units of blood were donated to the local blood bank.
The final Friday of the month brought with it The Neffs National Bank’s annual Customer Appreciation Day. The festivities included free refreshments, ice cream, balloons, multiple contests for customers, and visits from PitStop the Clown and furry friends from The Sanctuary of Haafsville.
Washington Financial Bank
Washington Financial Bank was proud to partner with the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy and Highland Ridge CDC in sponsoring Mayor’s Park in Washington, PA. This vacant lot was donated to the Highland Ridge CDC by a neighboring homeowner to enhance the community garden. Mayor’s Park is located in a moderate census tract in Washington, PA, and has been adopted into the Staying Green Program through the Highland Ridge CDC. Washington Financial donated $2,500 to this green space and the Bank’s CRA Officer and BSA Officer currently serve on the Board of Directors of the Highland Ridge CDC. The Bank’s CRA Officer also participated in the initial greenspace planning.
Washington Financial Bank has also been a proud supporter of Community Action Southwest for many years. Through this partnership, Washington Financial participates in Assets for Independence, a matched savings account program designed to help individuals develop savings habits and enhance their quality of life. The bank feels this program is a great opportunity to address the unbanked and underbanked residents in their community.