Daily News

Florence Bank Awards $150,000 to 40 Local Nonprofits

FLORENCE — Florence Bank awarded $150,000 to 40 area nonprofits through its annual Customers’ Choice Community Grants Program, through which bank customers cast votes to determine how funds are dispersed.

“Last year, for our 150th-anniversary celebration, we increased the total amount of our Customers’ Choice grant awards to $150,000 because it drew a nice parallel, and we wanted to continue that level of giving this year,” President and CEO Matt Garrity said during a celebration at the Garden House at Look Park on May 14.

“We are proud of the history of our unique grant program, and we respect our customers and enjoy giving them a chance to help decide where we allocate funds in the region,” Garrity added. “It gives our customers a voice and offers much-needed assistance to many organizations serving people in need.”

For the second year in a row, 13 organizations received $5,000 grants: Dakin Humane Society in Springfield, Cancer Connection Inc. in Northampton, It Takes a Village in Huntington, Friends of the Williamsburg Library, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Florence, Friends of Forbes Library in Northampton, Manna Soup Kitchen in Northampton, Goshen Firefighters Assoc., Food Bank of Western Massachusetts in Chicopee, Our Lady of the Hills Parish in Haydenville, Amherst Survival Center, Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton, and Northampton Survival Center. Click here for a full list of the 40 recipients and their awards.

“I appreciate Florence Bank’s focus on community involvement and its expansion of this program in recent years,” said Lev BenEzra, executive director of the Amherst Survival Center, which has received a grant annually for many years. “We love the approach of bank leaders looking to their customers who are community members in the region to identify meaningful organizations that are highly effective and doing good work. It’s an inclusive process and simplifies the process for organizations.”

Florence Bank’s community grants program is an annual offering founded in 2002 and, through it, Florence Bank customers are invited to vote for their favorite local nonprofit in hopes it will receive a share of grant funding.

Voting takes place all year long, online at florencebank.com/vote and in bank branches, and each customer has only one vote. To qualify for a community grant, organizations must receive at least 50 votes. In 2023, roughly 7,168 votes were cast, making 40 nonprofits eligible for a grant.