Give the gift that keeps on giving
Last month, I was honored to attend my first meeting of the Texas Bankers Foundation Board of Directors. The Foundation’s programs, which include financial education, scholarships, Robbery Rewards, giving back to communities and bank/banker recognitions, touch every segment of the banking industry.
Many of our Texas banks, bankers and communities have benefitted over the years from the Foundation’s programs. I’ve seen what it means to a 50-Year Banker to be honored for his or her well-deserved career or for Emerging Leaders to be acknowledged for their contributions early in their careers. Our bank and its employees have been recognized for community service and financial literacy efforts in the communities we serve through the Cornerstone and Leaders in Financial Education Awards as have many of yours. And several of our employees have received scholarships to help them advance in their banking careers.
Perhaps the program that made me an even bigger fan of the Foundation was the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund, which distributed more than $1.5 million in contributions raised from banks and bankers across Texas and the rest of the country, to 732 bankers in Texas who had lost their homes, cars and personal belongings. That program hit close to home for me when I saw first-hand the devastation from Hurricane Harvey that impacted many of our employees and their families and how the relief funds helped each of them in such an immense time of need.
This past year, the Foundation added a number of new programs as well while expanding others. The Foundation added the Governor Dolph Briscoe Scholarship, which requires recipients to attend an approved financial literacy course, and the Future Banker Scholarships for deserving undergraduate students in the Banking and Financial Institutions program at Sam Houston State University and the Commercial Banking Program at Texas A&M University.
In fact, educating the next generation of bankers has become one of the Foundation’s top priorities, which is proof positive that your TBA is leaning forward to ensure that the banking industry has the top talent that it needs to thrive for generations to come. We must attract talent into our industry and the best way to do it is to invest in our future bankers and let them experience the career possibilities available in this noble profession.
To further this mission of attracting diverse talent to our industry, the Foundation has been reaching out to historically black and Hispanic colleges and universities to introduce business and finance undergraduates to banking careers. The Foundation will be offering scholarships at these colleges to encourage diversity in the Texas banking industry.
Amplifying the good things banks and bankers do in their communities is another Foundation priority. TBA CARES (Crisis Assistance, Response and Emergency Support) is designed to assist communities impacted by localized disasters by providing checks to banks so they can, in turn, deliver them to organizations that are helping communities deal with the tragedies and disasters.
Over the last year, the Foundation provided checks totaling $23,000 to our banks to distribute to organizations dealing with flooding and tornados in their communities, including Junction, Llano, Dripping Springs, Franklin and others. The program was expanded in the aftermath of the tragic shootings in El Paso and Odessa to provide funds to assist the victims and families in those communities.
In addition, in June we launched the 4-H and FFA Financial Literacy Grant Program to amplify the outstanding financial literacy efforts of our state’s rural and agricultural community banks. The Foundation grants of $250 are awarded to local 4-H or FFA chapters after a member bank makes a financial literacy presentation.
What I’ve mentioned here is but a snapshot of the great things the Texas Bankers Foundation is doing for our banks and communities, and the list continues to grow.
As you can imagine, all of these efforts require funding. The Foundation is primarily funded by the generous donations of our banks and our bankers and so I am asking for your help.
Donations are accepted throughout the year; however, the Foundation is currently in the midst of its annual fundraising campaign. What better time to give to the Texas Bankers Foundation than during this season of thankfulness and giving! I am asking that you help pay it forward by making a contribution to help support the Texas Bankers Foundation’s programs in 2020. Online donations can be made at www.texasbankers.com/tbfdonate or for more information, please contact Foundation Director Jocelyn Carby at [email protected] or 512-472-8388.
Your donation no matter how great or small is truly a gift that keeps on giving!