The 2016 Grow Your Community 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 Your Community Award winners!
President’s Award Winners
First Columbia Bank & Trust Company
Over the past six years, First Columbia Bank & Trust Company has invested thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours to host the First Columbia Teen Star Musical Competition, an annual American Idol-like event that supports talented students and music programs at the area schools. Since the show’s inception, the Bank has donated more than $30,000 to local schools’ music programs and awarded another $30,000 in prize money to Teen Star winners and finalists. Further, in discussions and roundtable forums with students, teachers and administrators, the Bank discovered the need for updated sound and lighting equipment to support musical productions, plays and concerts. With ever-tightening budgets, these upgrades were out of reach for a number of schools.
At the Teen Star finale in 2015, First Columbia made a surprise $200,000 donation to their local schools’ music programs. The schools used this donation to purchase state-of-the-art sound and lighting equipment to enhance the schools’ performances, as well as a corresponding classroom curriculum that teachers could use to instruct students going forward. A consultant worked one-on-one with the schools to identify their unique needs and custom designed theater technology that would be best suited to them. In addition to stepping up the sound and lighting for choral concerts, plays and musicals at local schools, the Bank directed funding to local Vocational Technical Schools.
First Columbia is committed to helping their community grow and prosper, and they understand just how important young people are to creating a strong and vibrant community.
Sewickley Savings Bank
LifeSpan, Inc. is a private, nonprofit organization that has been providing services to Allegheny County’s senior population in the southern and western areas of Allegheny County for more than 40 years. Through a feasibility study, LifeSpan identified the need to re-design their senior center delivery system from small restrictive centers to large holistic vibrant wellness senior centers that provide a wide array of health, wellness, education, recreation, nutrition, benefits assistance and a multitude of social interaction opportunities for county residents age 60 and above.
As a result, Sewickley Savings Bank, through the SECORO Foundation, contributed $30,000 towards the renovation of the kitchen facility that is used to feed seniors on-site along with the preparation of the meals to be delivered to seniors at their home. The location of this new facility will enable seniors to use public transportation and free parking and conduct other personal business at local shops and stores. Additionally, this center will serve as a “community” resource where LifeSpan can host public meetings, economic development programs, real estate assessment sessions and other educational and informative programs for area residents.
Rebuilding Together Pittsburgh/SECORO Foundation
The purpose of Rebuilding Together Pittsburgh (RTP) is to create safer and healthier homes for residents and contribute to community stabilization and revitalization. This is accomplished through three primary programs: Core Home Repair, Rehab-for-Resale, and Jobs First.
For the past eight (8) years, Sewickley Savings bank, through the SECORO foundation, has partnered with Rebuilding Together Pittsburgh to sponsor improvements to homes both financially along with hands-on assistance. In February 2016, the Bank contributed $8,000 towards repairs and improvements to two homes in the area, completed in April 2016.
Somerset Trust Company
Somerset Trust Company has embraced the long-standing tradition of the bank’s founding fathers to provide excellent personal service and financial products to customers, and to contribute to the overall growth and economic development of the region it serves. Somerset Trust Company is committed to reinvesting in the community to make the quality of life ever better for local residents.
When President and CEO of Somerset Trust Company, G. Henry Cook, heard about the Entrepreneurship Program being developed at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, it seemed a natural step for the bank to offer its financial support to the program and continue the tradition of promoting industry and independent spirit in Western Pennsylvania.
On March 11, 2015, Somerset Trust Company announced a $1 million unrestricted gift to the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown’s Entrepreneurship Program. This philanthropic commitment to Pitt-Johnstown will be paid in $100,000 installments over 10 years, beginning in 2015. A gift of this magnitude will unquestionably make a great difference toward strengthening Pitt-Johnstown and its mission of educating area students for success in the real world.
In conjunction with the gift, Somerset Trust Company opened a bank branch in the campus’s Student Union building. Somerset Trust’s UPJ Branch offers students access to all of the resources and financial services available at any other branch, allowing those young people the opportunity to start building credit, saving money and learning financial responsibility.
With the support of Somerset Trust Company, the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown’s Entrepreneurship Program hopes to provide business opportunities across the Laurel Highlands and establish Johnstown’s position as a hub where ideas, people and funding connect to launch innovative business concepts to fuel the economy and create the region’s next-generation of job and economic growth.
Woodlands Bank was founded by the community, for the community, 25 years ago. Throughout its existence it has been the local bank that developed many small businesses and poured endless contributions and support into the community. The Go Local campaign is an outlet to allow Woodlands to tell its story and encourage the community to take a thoughtful approach on spending and giving, and it is growing the community in multiple ways. The multi-facet approach involved the community audience and small local businesses, locally supporting non-profits and our employee base. Creating an inclusive local campaign allows the customer base and non-customers to identify Woodlands by the values they embody and define their brand by showing their authenticity towards the company mission. Woodlands Bank is – local, progressive, impactful – growing their communities!
Community Leadership Award Winners
Allegheny Valley Bank
For the 2015-2016 school year, Allegheny Valley Bank proudly sponsored Pittsburgh Arsenal School through The Education Partnership’s “Adopt-A-School” Program.
Upon “adopting” Pittsburgh Arsenal, Allegheny Valley Bank employees joined together for two separate volunteer projects. First, the “Power Tool Homework Kits” had to be assembled. Thousands of school supplies were delivered to Allegheny Valley Bank’s headquarters. Then volunteers formed an assembly line right in the center of the branch to prepare the kits, which included items such as pencils, notebooks, folders, glue, tissues and other basic supplies.
A few days after the kits were completed and ready for the students, Allegheny Valley Bank representatives were invited by the students and teachers of Pittsburgh Arsenal to an assembly at the school. All were gathered in the school auditorium where Justin Brown, Executive Director of The Education Partnership, and Andy Hasley, President & CEO of Allegheny Valley Bank, spoke to the students about the importance of education. The assembly concluded with the Homework Kits being distributed by bank employees to each and every student at Pittsburgh Arsenal, grades 6-8.
Ambler Savings Bank
Ambler Savings Bank employees, as well as volunteers from the Wissahickon Valley Watershed Association, held a Give Back Day on Columbus Day, October 12, cleaning up the Byrne Family Preserve.
Ambler Savings Bank employees and their families volunteered 80 hours building a fence at the preserve’s entrance, weeding and installing a temporary fence around the drained pool area, and cleaning up the work shed area of the barn.
“The volunteers jump-started the improvement of the barn, which will someday serve as the headquarters of the Preserve. The work that the enthusiastic Ambler Savings Bank volunteers completed will allow the WVWA to begin habitat restoration and trail system design. This was a major first step that we could not have done without them,” said John Ferro, Director of Conservation Resources.
Brentwood Bank has partnered with Women’s Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh to support their mission to advance the safety and well-being of victims of domestic and intimate partner violence and to prevent and respond to such violence through social change.
Women’s Center & Shelter provides high quality, confidential and free programs. Current programs include: 24-Hour Emergency Shelter, 24-Hour Hotline, Children’s Program, Empowerment Center (Support Groups), Legal Advocacy, Medical Advocacy, Civil Law Project, Education and The Men’s Group. Each year, WC&S serves nearly 7,000 individuals through their programs and services.
Brentwood Bank is proud of their association with the Women’s Center & Shelter and the tireless work they do. To support the Shelter, Brentwood Bank has an employee who is a member of the fundraising arm of the organization that solicits much of the funding and support that allows the Shelter to operate. In addition, the Bank supports the various efforts through team member participation along with cash and in-kind donations.
Coatesville Savings Bank
To welcome Sonia “Sonny” Huntzingeras the new Coatesville city economic development administrator, Coatesville Savings Bank hosted an after-hours reception for approximately 100 people at the bank. All three County Commissioners attended along with City Council members, key business people, and developers from the area.
As part of establishing a social media presence, the Fleetwood Bank team decided they wanted to highlight the benefits of dealing with a local, community bank and came up with the idea of performing weekly ‘Random Acts of Kindness’. Every week, employees go out into the communities they serve and perform Random Acts of Kindness in hopes of making a difference in someone’s life, and in their community.
Fleetwood employees have performed many acts ranging from delivering tissues and hand sanitizer to elementary schools, snack baskets to local police departments and fire companies, and taking spring plants to clients that are on the Meals on Wheels route. They have delivered pretzel trays to local school staff and to local realtors, handed out gift cards in a local grocery store, and delivered donuts to local businesses. When people are the recipients of an unexpected kind gesture, their smiles and gratitude help employees realize how they impact lives, even in small ways.
Harleysville Savings Bank
Harleysville Savings Bank purchased four new scoreboards for their local little league sports complex. Baseball is a big part of Harleysville and the Bank feels that it is important that they be able to support the local youth and community. The brand new scoreboards were unveiled as part of the Opening Day ceremonies this year.
Mid Penn Bank
Mid Penn Bank is constantly focused on supporting the community and the various organizations that directly impact the areas they serve. While the bank makes many monetary donations throughout the year, the decision was made to hold a charity golf tournament to raise a noteworthy amount of money for a specific cause.
Mid Penn is very conscientious about choosing organizations that are local and provide direct support to the community. This year, all proceeds from the 2016 Mid Penn Bank Charity Golf Tournament were dedicated to the PA Breast Cancer Coalition (PBCC). PBCC is an organized statewide non-profit designed to extend public awareness of breast cancer, and to encourage increased public and private funding for research, legislative advocacy and high quality screening, diagnosis and treatment.
The golf tournament required the time and care of many employees from across the bank. The hard work paid off when it was announced at the conclusion of the event that $25,000 was raised for PBCC. As a community bank, Mid Penn is proud of the direct community impact we were able to make with this event.
The Neffs National Bank
During the month of April, The Neffs National Bank was able to give back to the community through the celebration of “Community Banking Month”. The Bank started the month off with a visit from Lehigh Gap Nature Center. Their mission is to preserve wildlife and habitat through conservation, education, and research for the benefit of the earth and all its inhabitants.
The following week, they enjoyed Busy Bee Quilters and the Grundsau Lodsch. Customers were able to watch the ladies from Busy Bees and see just how quilts are made. Grundsau Lodsch, or Groundhog Lodge in English, is an organization dedicated to preserving the Pennsylvania Dutch culture and heritage.
In addition to these events, The Neffs National Bank also enjoyed visits from American Legion, the Upper Lehigh Lions Club, and a 4-H group. They also held a blood drive, their annual shred event, and a food drive to help out a local food bank.
On the last Friday of April, they held their Customer Appreciation Day, providing free ice cream, refreshments, balloons, contests, PitStop the clown, a local radio station broadcast, and a visit from The Sanctuary of Haafsville.
All in all, The Neffs National Bank is a small town community bank who values the relationship with the employees, the customers and the community.
Washington Financial Bank
On June 9, 2015 devastation hit not only the City Mission, but the city of Washington, PA, when a horrific fire destroyed the kitchen and dining areas of the main building’s campus. The fire caused heavy smoke and water damage to dormitories, offices, medical facilities and a chapel in the main building. Nearly 60 of Washington’s homeless population were displaced after the fire.
To accommodate the men who were displaced, temporary housing from community organizations was provided, but the need to provide 300 meals a day was still a concern. Washington Financial Bank has a long history of supporting City Mission, and as soon as they heard about the tragedy, they sprang into action. The Bank presented City Mission with a $5,000 donation to assist in providing food to the homeless and the needy, but still wanted to do more.
Washington Financial made a direct pledge of $50,000 to the construction of a new Veteran’s shelter through its Charitable Foundation. In addition, they offered to be the Sponsor Bank for City Mission’s three Federal Home Loan Bank Affordable Housing Program applications, which awarded $500,000 for each project.
William Penn Bank
In the spirit of giving back to the community, William Penn Bank continues its employee volunteer program “Doing Goodwill with Bill.” This program allows employees to volunteer at local organizations during work time. During the past year, the Bank had an employee participation rate of 42% in the program. Some employees volunteer on a regular basis, while others volunteer on an as-needed basis.
William Penn Bank also offers financial literacy training. In the past year, the bank’s financial literacy representative provided a six-week financial literacy course at a local YWCA family center to twenty low-income adults as part of the YWCA’s self-sufficiency program. The adult students learned everything from how to open a checking account to establishing good credit and budgeting skills.
The bank also delivers training on financial exploitation of older adults using the FDIC Money Smart for Older Adults training guide. In the fall of last year, William Penn Bank was invited by a local organization to be a featured speaker on “Scams and Frauds that Target Older Adults” at a Senior Health Fest.
In addition to volunteer and financial literacy programs, the bank has a charitable foundation which annually provides much needed funds to charities in the area that support community and economic development, educational programs, and health care and human services.
Grow Your Community Award Winners
County Savings Bank
Every year, County Savings Bank sponsors the Ridley Run & Health Awareness Day where the branch office is located. The Bank is the results tent sponsor and employees greet the participants of the race and help them to check their race results. At the health awareness portion of the event, they provide healthy snacks and water for the public. They also play a guessing game with prizes for the kids and have giveaways. Employees distribute financial health information and answer any questions the public may have. This event helps to support the Ridley Community YMCA and the Ridley Educational Foundation and their efforts in the local community.
First Federal Savings and Loan Association of Greene County
Efforts by First Federal Savings and Loan Association of Greene County staff in nine branches have raised more than $10,000 in the past year for non-profits. First Federal has historically supported several nationwide groups such as the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association, and has partnered in the last few years with other regional and local organizations also focused on community health issues. The outpouring of support often stems from employees’ own personal ties to diseases that have impacted themselves, friends and family.
First National Bank of Mifflintown
Since 2005, The First National Bank of Mifflintown has been a co-sponsor of the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra Concert’s performance in Juniata and Perry County the Monday after Independence Day. This concert brings in a very large crowd each year and is free of charge to all who attend. The Bank sees the importance of exposing their local communities to arts as they are essential to the health and vitality of our communities. They enhance community development; attract new businesses; draw tourism dollars; and create an environment that attracts skilled and educated workers.
Indiana First Bank
The Business & Professional Women’s Club of Indiana County started and sponsors “Bras For A Cause” to raise money for Birdie’s closet, a program of the Indiana Regional Medical Imaging Center that provides cancer patients with wigs and clothing.
For the past 5 years, Indiana First Bank participated with the “Bra” contest by submitting a “Bra” and winning the contest 5 years consecutively. Indiana First Bank was #1 in overall donations five years standing. The Bank also raised in excess of $10,000 over the past 5 years of participation with “Bras for A Cause” by holding various employee fund raising events. For the past two years, they achieved success with 100% employee participation with their employee fund raisers.
Jim Thorpe Neighborhood Bank
Jim Thorpe Neighborhood Bank celebrated their 160th Anniversary this past year and wanted to take this opportunity to highlight their accomplishment during a community banking celebration. The celebration kicked-off with their Annual Shareholder’s Meeting, highlighting the bank’s history and their commitment to community service. Additionally, they held their Student Achievement Awards presentation and honored 14 area students for their outstanding scholastic and/or leadership skills, co-hosted a blood drive with local charity, Turn to Us, Inc., and hosted an Annual Community Hot Dog Roast. These events gave employees the chance to get out and have some fun visiting with the community.
Jonestown Bank & Trust Company
JBT continues to encourage all employees and directors to support their community by volunteering time and expertise in line with their interests. In 2015, this resulted in the roughly 126 employees of JBT contributing over 2,000 service hours for the year. Organizations that benefit from this investment include volunteer fire companies, youth sports, food banks, service clubs, educational foundations and a variety of well know causes such as the American Cancer Society, Heart Association and the Salvation Army. Of the 2,000 hours, over 330 can be directly traced to organizations specifically designated as CRA qualified. Included in these hours are organizations such as Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Junior Achievement, P.R.O.B.E. and Lebanon Family Health Services. In addition, 2015 marked JBT’s first donation of a property to Habitat for Humanity.
West View Savings Bank
Each year West View Savings Bank sets aside a week of celebration for their customers. This is their way of showing how much both old and new customers mean to the Bank. They advertise in advance to invite all to stop and visit any of their branches to join in the fun. West View Savings Bank has a very festive atmosphere at all locations, with special decorations, balloons and popcorn, along with various other treats. They even “turned the clock back” giving out coin saver cards, piggy banks and various other items to those who wanted them.