First County Bank Foundation

First County Bank Foundation Gives $27,500 to Greenwich Nonprofits

Abilis Inc., Greenwich Alliance for Education, Kids in Crisis and Greenwich United Way received a total $27,500 in grants from the First County Bank Foundation.

2011 is a special year for the First County Bank Foundation. It marks the 10th year this organization has been donating money to very worthy causes throughout lower Fairfield County. This year also marks the 160th anniversary of the bank.

“These Greenwich-based organizations all offer something special for those living in the community. It’s our job as residents and employers in lower Fairfield County to help these organizations help others through financial contributions and volunteering,” said First County Bank Foundation Vice President Katherine Harris. “These grants are part of a greater effort that constantly needs our attention and financial support.”

Abilis Inc., which received $5,000 from the First County Bank Foundation to support youth services, provides people with developmental disabilities and their families with support and advocacy for building able lives and strong communities. Abilis believes that all people deserve to live, learn, work and enjoy life based upon their personal preferences.

The Greenwich Alliance for Education, which received $5,000 from the First County Bank Foundation, plans to use the money toward its Going Places with Books program. It brings a specially-designed RV — the Storymobile — to preschools around the community, providing interactive read-aloud experiences that integrate multimedia and bilingual elements into a carefully-designed literacy curriculum.

Connecticut’s only facility for children newborn to age 17, Kids in Crisis, provides free, temporary shelter, therapeutic counseling, comprehensive medical care and specialized educational support for children struggling with a wide range of issues including abuse, neglect, abandonment, family health issues and family conflict. First County Bank Foundation donated $15,000 to Kids in Crisis’ Safe Haven for Kids Shelter program.

Greenwich United Way, which received $2,500 in grant money from the First County Bank Foundation, mobilizes the community in strategic efforts to identify and address critical human service needs. Greenwich United Way achieves measurable and sustainable results through comprehensive planning, efficient fundraising and effective investment in the community.

Established in 2001 in honor of the bank’s 150th anniversary, the First County Bank Foundation was created to distribute funds annually to nonprofit organizations that support community and economic development for children and families. As a mutual bank with no shareholders, First County Bank considers contributions made by the foundation a means of paying dividends back to the local communities it serves. Through 2010, the foundation has been able to award 426 grants totaling more than $4 million to various community organizations.

To be eligible for First County Bank Foundation grants, organizations must have nonprofit tax exempt status under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code; be located in Stamford, Darien, Greenwich, New Canaan, Norwalk or Westport; have community support; address community needs; have measurable outcomes; and demonstrate fiscal and administrative responsibility. Special consideration is given to those agencies or programs benefiting low to moderate income populations.

Although the deadline for applying for First County Bank Foundation grants has passed, a new smaller grant application, called CommunityFirst, is available Jan. 1 until the end of the year. The CommunityFirst applications are for grants of $2,500 or less for those applicants who fit regular grant criteria, and $1,000 or less for those applicants that do not fit regular grant criteria. CommunityFirst Grant Program applications are available at http://www.firstcountybank.com/application-process-0.

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