Florence Bank Awards $150,000 to Nonprofits in Customers’ Choice Community Grants
FLORENCE — In its 21st year, Florence Bank’s Customers’ Choice Community Grants Program awarded $150,000 to 46 area nonprofits in honor of the bank’s 150th anniversary.
“I know the total we announced we would award this year was $125,000, but I feel like $150,000 would be a more appropriate amount to celebrate the 150 years that Florence Bank has been in existence,” President and CEO Matt Garrity said in leading his first Customers’ Choice celebration on May 16. “It’s amazing to see so many community organizations being recognized, and the fact that the recognition comes from Florence Bank customers in the form of votes is really special.”
Garrity handed checks to 46 nonprofit leaders across the region, awarding 13 with $5,000 gifts — the most ever granted in 21 years — and presenting $500 surprise awards to 10 organizations that fell just short of the required 50-vote count.
These organizations received $5,000 grants: Dakin Humane Society, Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, Amherst Survival Center, Friends of the Williamsburg Library, Northampton Survival Center, Goshen Firefighter’s Assoc. Inc., Cancer Connection, Manna Soup Kitchen, It Takes a Village, Friends of Forbes Library, Cooley Dickinson Hospital, Our Lady of the Hills Parish, and Friends of Lilly Library.
These 23 organizations also received an award: Williamsburg Firefighter Assoc., $4,701; Bernese Auction Rescue Coalition Inc., $4,652; Easthampton Community Center, $4,309; Friends of M.N. Spear Memorial Library, $4,064; Northampton Neighbors, $4,064; Springfield Shriners Hospitals for Children, $3,917; Grow Food Northampton Inc., $3,819; Amherst Neighbors, $3,721; Smith Vocational High School PTO, $3,721; Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter School, $3,624; Performing Arts Charter School, $3,575; Therapeutic Equestrian Center, $3,575; Kestrel Land Trust, $3,427; Edward Hopkins Educational Foundation, $3,330; Northampton Community Music Center, $3,232; Safe Passage, $3,134; Empty Arms Bereavement Support, $2,987; New Hingham Elementary School PTO, $2,987; R.K. Finn Ryan Road School, $2,889; Whole Children, $2,693; Belchertown K-9, $2,595; Northampton Football League, $2,545; and Tapestry, $2,448.
Finally, these 10 organizations received unexpected $500 awards: the Children’s Advocacy Center of Hampshire County, Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity, Lorraine’s Soup Kitchen & Pantry, Boys & Girls Club of Greater Holyoke, Gray House, Holyoke Community College Foundation, Mental Health Assoc. Inc., Springfield Rescue Mission, the Parish Cupboard, and Thomas J. O’Connor Animal Control & Adoption Center.
Voting takes place all year long, online at www.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 2022, roughly 7,000 votes were cast, making 36 nonprofits eligible for a grant; the other 10 funded organizations were invited to attend the event and were surprised with their $500 award. Over the past 21 years, Florence Bank has donated a total of $1.5 million to 165 organizations.