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Nonprofit Leaders Attend Zoominar on Florence Bank’s Customers’ Choice Program

FLORENCE — Twenty-six Hampden County nonprofit leaders attended Florence Bank’s first Zoominar event in mid-October to learn about participation in the bank’s Customers’ Choice Community Grants Program.

The organizations have since launched individual efforts to raise awareness about their missions in hopes of helping them gain votes — and funds — at the bank’s 20th annual Customers’ Choice celebration in May 2022.

“So generous,” said Laurie Flynn, president and CEO of Link to Libraries. “Thank you so much. Florence Bank is such a wonderful community partner.”

Nonprofit leaders who missed the Zoominar and would like a link to the video can contact Erin Defoyd, Marketing Communications manager/officer, at [email protected].

Florence Bank held the informational event as it now has three branches in Hampden County — in West Springfield, Springfield, and Chicopee — and bank leaders want all nonprofits to be aware of the grant program so they can take advantage of the opportunity.

“Part of our mission is philanthropic in nature,” President and CEO Kevin Day told attendees on the Zoominar. “We provide support to the communities we serve in many different ways. Twenty years ago, the bank began asking our customers where some of the bank’s donations dollars should be spent, and our Customers’ Choice program was launched. Listening to customers was a natural extension of how we run our bank.”

Zoominar attendees also heard Defoyd give an overview of the materials in the bank’s Customers’ Choice PR kit and talk specifically about using social media to promote the program. Janice Beetle of Beetle Press, who partners with the bank’s marketing team, talked about how to customize the press-release template.

Monica Curhan, senior vice president and Marketing director, served as moderator and also introduced the managers of the three Hampden County branches: Emily Tower, West Springfield; Nikki Gleason, Springfield; and Kimberly Downing, Chicopee.

To qualify for a community grant, organizations must receive at least 50 votes from Florence Bank customers. In the past 20 years, Florence Bank has donated $1.3 million to 158 nonprofit organizations. In 2020, almost 7,000 votes were cast, and 32 nonprofits accepted grant awards in May, with a total of $100,500 handed out.

These nonprofits attended the Zoominar: Homework House, Litwin School PTO, Square One, Link to Libraries Inc., Shriners Hospitals for Children – Springfield, Boys & Girls Club of Chicopee, Boys & Girls Club of Greater Holyoke, Boys & Girls Club of Greater Westfield, Chicopee Fire Department, Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts, Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity, Greater Holyoke YMCA, Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts, Kiwanis Club of Springfield, Randall Boys & Girls Club, Revitalize CDC, Rick’s Place, Ronald McDonald House of Springfield, the Gray House Inc., the Parish Cupboard, Therapeutic Equestrian Center, Transitions Through Motion, Valley Opportunity Council, and YMCA of Greater Springfield.

These organizations are listed on the voting page and in a promotional piece being handed to customers in the Hampden County branches through Dec. 31, when voting closes.

The bank’s kit for nonprofits includes an information sheet on the Customers’ Choice program, a sample flyer to display, and a press release leaders can adapt and send to the media. To access the Community Grants Kit, visit www.florencebank.com/customer-choice-kit.

Customers of Florence Bank can vote for a nonprofit by visiting www.florencebank.com/customers-choice-community-grants or voting in a Florence Bank branch.

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