If you were to choose one word to sum up the current economic climate, “difficult” seems appropriate. For businesses and individuals, the economy has made many things a struggle, and for the non-profit community, it can be even more challenging. Susan Calegari, the CEO and President of Spaulding Youth Center in Northfield, an organization dedicated to improving and enriching the lives of young people with developmental and behavioral challenges, knew there would be some obstacles as they began the process of seeking financing for their newly opened 22,000 square foot, energy-efficient and educationally empowering school building.
“We enjoyed tremendous community support in our fundraising efforts, but given the economic environment, we thought that we may run into some resistance from lenders on the financing side,” said Calegari. “Luckily for Spaulding, Franklin Savings Bank has been a long-time supporter. Members of their team have been volunteers and board members here for years, so when we approached them about financing for the project, not only did they know us, and know the importance of the project, they were willing to work with us on the terms of the loan so that we could make the building a reality in spite of the economy.”
For Franklin Savings Bank’s President and CEO, Jeffery Savage, the bank’s work with Spaulding is just one example of how their local knowledge and active involvement in the community helps the bank meet its mission of supporting local organizations and individuals.
“Our decisions are made with the local community in mind. With this full spectrum of knowledge, we at Franklin Savings Bank are able to see things differently than institutions relying solely on data from spreadsheets,” said Savage. “We have professionals who are local residents and volunteers. We know the Central New Hampshire community and its needs, and how we can work with our customers to support them and help grow this local economy.”
But for Franklin Savings, helping to grow the economy and support the community goes well beyond lending. It’s that community commitment that led to the creation of the Franklin Savings Bank Fund for Community Advancement, established in 1997 to provide support for substantial projects that will significantly enhance the lives of people in the communities that make up the primary market area of the bank.
The areas served by the fund currently include Franklin, Tilton, Northfield, Bristol, Boscawen, Hill, Sanbornton, Belmont, New Hampton, Andover, Alexandria, Laconia, Gilford and Gilmanton. Grants are awarded bi-annually after a competitive process review and are generally in the $2,000 – $7,500 range.
“The grant award process for The Franklin Savings Bank Fund for Community Advancement is always highly competitive because so many worthy organizations submit applications,” adds Savage. “With our 16th year in 2013, we continue to encourage applications for projects that benefit the lives of those in Central New Hampshire. For the upcoming grant period, we will be looking for those applications in late December.”
Already in 2012, grants have been used to send local under-privileged youth to camp for a week at the Copper Cannon Camp in the White Mountains, install a Teaching Garden at the Franklin Middle School, support local hunger relief, and back homebuyer programs in Laconia.
In the coming weeks, information on seven more community projects and programs assisted by the FSB Fund for Community Advancement grant will be shared in detail. Total awards now exceed $700,000 given to over 130 grant recipients.