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FirstBank Spreads the Wealth, Announces Grant Recipients

Nov. 13, 2008 –Something different was on the program at the St. Croix Chamber Business After Hours Thursday night. FirstBank, which hosted the regular monthly gathering, announced the recipients of its Neighborhood Grants.
More than 100 people attended the gathering in the lobby of the Innovative building.
The grants, from $500 to $2,000, are awarded to non-profit organizations for projects promoting or sustaining economic development or assisting in revitalizing or stabilizing low- and moderate-income communities.
"We feel the need to give back to the communities where we have branches," said Sadie Taylor-Clendinen, marketing relations manager at FirstBank.
Over the last five years FirstBank has contributed $1.25 million dollars to local programs, events, projects, and organizations that benefit the community; $210,000 of that through the Neighborhood Grant Program.
The four grant categories given out are, Primary Focus, Community Connection, Dollar Days and First in Service.
The First in Service Grant is awarded to and shared by a student and the community organization where they have volunteered for at least a year. Mariecia Wilkinson got $500 and Women's Coalition, where she volunteers, got $500.
Another organization garnering a grant from the bank was the Salvation Army.
"We have been honored for the second year in a row to receive the grant," said Linette Gallimore, Salvation Army Captain. "FirstBank is the only bank I know that offers this help to the community."
Gallimore said the $2,000 the organization was awarded will go towards the after-school youth programs.
"There are so many things we can use the grant for, like software or even sleepovers," Gallimore said. Gallimore had three Junior Soldiers with her at the affair.
"At the Salvation Army I have learned patience and to wait and good things will come," said Brandon Titre, a student in the program.
Students from the Good to Chew culinary arts class at the Career and Technical Education Center catered the affair. The students under the direction of Chef Anton Doos have started to make a name for themselves as caterers with tasty dishes and hors d'ouevre. The presentation was professional, with mirrored serving platters, and the students were impeccably dressed in white.
"This is a good way to promote the kids in the culinary arts," Taylor-Clendinen said. She added the organizers really appreciated the students.
Taylor-Clendinen and Linda Pukenas, marketing and public relations manager, chose those who were awarded grants. Taylor-Clendinen said it was really tough choosing from among the applicants.
"We got a record amount of applications," Taylor-Clendinen said. "Because of the economy any little amount they get helps."
The honorees were Beyond Visions Foundation, Ten Thousand Helpers, V.I. Housing Authority, Lutheran Social Services, Women's Coalition, Mariecia Wilkinson, St. Croix Swimming Association, Salvation Army, Inter Island Parent Coalition for Change, Covenant Point Institute, Strategic Solutions Network, Boys & Girls Club of the VI, Access to Racial Health and Cultural Institute, Women With Focus Institute and Lighthouse Mission.
FirstBank on St Thomas held an event last week honoring recipients there.

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