The First County Bank Foundation, the philanthropic arm of First County Bank, exceeded $5 million in total grants awarded since its formation in 2001. This milestone will be celebrated during its year-end gala planned for Wednesday, Dec. 5, at the Italian Center of Stamford from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
“We did it! We surpassed the $5 million mark in total grants awarded to nonprofit agencies in lower Fairfield County since the First County Bank Foundation was established in 2001,” said Rey Giallongo, chairman and CEO of First County Bank and president of its foundation.
In 2012, the foundation awarded 124 grants totaling $603,570 to nonprofits that support community and economic development, and children and families. Including 2012 grants, the First County Bank Foundation has awarded a total of 768 individual grants, worth $5.2 million since 2001, when it was established to honor the bank’s 150 anniversary.
“This is a real milestone for the foundation and we want to celebrate it with our nonprofit partners,” said Katherine Harris, First County Bank president and COO, and vice president of the foundation. “I was around when the foundation was established and during that first year, we awarded $173,000 to area nonprofits. This is a real testament of our core principles to maintain our commitment to support local communities through philanthropy and volunteerism.”
As part of the Dec. 5 celebration at the Italian Center, Cause Effective Executive Director Judy Levine will be giving the keynote address on fundraising strategies to an audience of approximately 200 nonprofit executives and their guests. Levine has trained, consulted and authored materials for more than 1,000 nonprofit organizations. Her expertise is in cultivating support from individual donors, fundraising planning, and board and organizational development. Nonprofit executives interested in attending the Dec. 5 event at the Italian Center should call 203-462-4858 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We think First County Bank, its foundation and the work it does in the Stamford community and surrounding towns have been spectacular,” said Ross Burkhardt, president and CEO of New Neighborhoods Inc.
New Neighborhoods is Fairfield County’s oldest active nonprofit housing developer, redeveloper and manager of rental and owner-occupied housing. “First County represents what community banking is all about. I can’t say enough good things about the bank. Congratulations on surpassing the $5 million mark in total grants awarded.”
Indeed, many grant recipients gave similar praise when hearing about this year’s milestone. “The partnerships the First County Bank Foundation has forged with the community and organizations like ours have made a huge difference,” said Shari Shapiro, executive director of Kids in Crisis. “First County Bank Foundation is an ongoing contributor and the results of that partnership speak for themselves. If everybody could be as community-minded as First County, we would be thrilled.” The Kids in Crisis mission is to protect infants, children and teens from abuse and family crisis.
Another long-term recipient of First County Bank Foundation grants is the Housing Development Fund Inc. HDF was established in 1989 as a nonprofit organization to finance the development of affordable housing.
“The First County Bank Foundation continually demonstrates its commitment to the community and to the everyday and sometimes invisible services that glue communities together,” said Joan Carty, president and CEO of HDF. “That’s the kind of support the foundation offers and the kind of services it values. And because it consistently and persistently supports local nonprofits, the First County Bank Foundation is an invaluable partner to us. That $5 million was so wisely invested that it has the ripple effect of 10 times that amount. Thank you for your continued support of HDF.”
“Hitting the $5 million mark is a tremendous milestone for First County. First County Bank and its foundation have had a major impact in the community over the years,” said E. Philip McKain, president and CEO of CTE Inc.
“For CTE, we wouldn’t have been able to sustain the Education and Youth program for thousands of youths. For a community bank to be able to give out that much financial support to nonprofits is a real testament to its commitment to the community it serves. Given its size, compared to some of the other major corporations in town, its financial support surpasses all others,” McKain explained. “If you look at nonprofit boards, (First County) bank executives are involved in all aspects of the organizations. First County Bank and its foundation have improved the quality of life in lower Fairfield County.” CTE is the federal and state designated Community Action Agency for Stamford, Greenwich and Darien communities.
The First County Bank Foundation supports another long-standing nonprofit cause: SoundWaters. Foundation grants support scholarships for underserved students of Fairfield County to experience outdoor science enrichment during their summer vacations.
“Because of First County Bank Foundation’s generosity, students in our region have the chance to learn, explore, play and adventure here along the coast of the Long Island Sound,” explained Leigh Shemitz, executive director of SoundWaters. “With the support of the First County Bank Foundation, SoundWaters brings children outdoors to learn and play. They study the science of the sound; they swim off the beaches; they sail in the harbors. These activities are good for children’s health, their growth, their learning, and it is all possible through the support of the First County Bank Foundation.
“This partnership,” Shemitz continued, “has helped Camp SoundWaters to grow into a successful and innovative learning program. SoundWaters is tremendously grateful for the support of the First County Bank Foundation and its commitment to protect the Long Island Sound through hands-on education.”
“I just want to thank all of our nonprofit agency partners for all of their hard work and commitment to bettering the lives of individuals and families throughout Fairfield County,” added Giallongo. “Their goals and the goals of the First County Bank Foundation are the same. We appreciate everything they do and wish them a successful 2013.
“Delivering results for our customers is reflective of our ability and commitment to help the communities in which we live. It is that commitment to increase opportunity and equity for those most in need that drives our passion to serve,” concluded Giallongo.