Local Nonprofits Bolster Programs Thanks to Florence Savings Bank Customers

FSB’s Customers’ Choice Community Grants

to be announced at an awards ceremony March 5


FLORENCE— Judith Corey, 67, boosts her brain almost every week using a program at the Easthampton Senior Enrichment Center that uses words and numbers to test her memory.

“I love games of any kind,” said Corey, of Easthampton. “The program makes it fun, plus I know it’s helping me.”

Linda Talbot, executive director of the center, said the agency purchased the brain fitness program in 2013 using $1,800 in funds from Florence Savings Bank’s Customers’ Choice Community Grants program.

Now, five days a week, clients like Corey can spend up to a half hour each using the brain fitness computer program, which tests a person’s cognitive function, including long-term memory, short-term memory and critical thinking. Talbot said the goal is to improve a person’s memory, enhance focus, strengthen concentration and help delay or prevent the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

“The bank has always been very supportive of the community,” said Talbot, noting that the purchase would not have been possible without the grant funds. “Allowing its customers to vote on which organization or agency should receive part of the funding motivates us to have our own customers vote for us. It’s a great way to get funding for much-needed programs for our seniors.”

The Easthampton Center is one of 36 nonprofit organizations in Hampshire County that received grants from the bank’s Customers’ Choice Community Grants program last year. For the past 12 years, customers of Florence Savings Bank have had the opportunity to vote for their favorite local nonprofit organization to have a chance at receiving a share of the grants. The organizations that qualified for the 2012 awards received amounts ranging from $500 to $5,000 in March 2013. Those amounts make up a total pool of $75,000 awarded.

Once again Florence Savings Bank will be distributing shares of $75,000 to the top vote-getters from 2013 at an awards ceremony on Wednesday, March 5 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Northampton Council on Aging & Senior Center, 67 Conz St., Northampton. Representatives of the selected nonprofits, as well as Florence Savings Bank President John F. Heaps, Jr., bank officials and board members will also be on hand.

The bank will announce the recipients of the 2013 Customers’ Choice Community Grants to customers and the general public on March 6 on its Facebook page, website (www.florencesavings.com) and in its branch locations.

“The first year we implemented the program was just incredible. That’s when I realized that this was something people wanted us to continue,” Heaps said. “It was so clear to me that we had hit a home run for our customers and the community.”

Although the bank had been making charitable contributions to the community for many years, Heaps and his late wife, Jane, felt it was important to seek out what the bank’s customers believed were the neediest organizations, so in 2002 they provided a program by which customers could vote for their favorite nonprofit.

“The program is very empowering to our customers as well as to the community. It’s a really good way for our customers to make their voices heard in the community,” he said. “We are connecting with the community in a very meaningful way with this program, and that’s inspiring to me.”

Since its inception in 2002, Florence Savings Bank’s Customers’ Choice program has awarded $575,000 to 98 organizations with more than 78,000 votes cast.

About Florence Savings Bank

Florence Savings Bank is a mutually-owned savings bank chartered in 1873. Currently, the Bank serves the Pioneer Valley through nine full-service branch locations in Northampton, Easthampton, Williamsburg, Amherst, Hadley, Belchertown and Granby as well as through 26 ATMs.  Florence Savings Bank offers a wide range of financial services, including investment management through Florence Savings Bank Financial Services to consumers and businesses.  John F. Heaps Jr. is the Bank’s President and Chief Executive Officer.  Main headquarters are at 85 Main St., Florence, MA 01062.  For additional information on the Bank or its services please visit www.florencesavings.com or call 413-586-1300.

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