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Charitable Giving contest winners announced
Eric McKinney

Charitable Giving contest winners announced

Making outreach in Stockbridge

CHARLOTTE, Mich. – The vitality of a community is driven by the financial success of local businesses and the people who live and work there, yet those foundations are threatened more than ever by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Help is needed. In virtually all aspects of life. Even non-profit organizations whose sole purpose is to help, need help. So in the spirit of community and charitable giving, Eaton Community Bank donated $9,000 to local non-profits through a social media contest designed to bring awareness to five organizations.

“It just made sense on the most basic level,” said Timothy Jewell, president of Eaton Community Bank. “Helping our communities achieve and maintain financial health is what we’ve always done and giving back to our communities is simply a part of our core values.

“This pandemic is challenging all of us in ways we’ve never thought of before. As a community bank who not only serves our communities but is itself a collection of people from within our communities, we wanted to help in a meaningful way.”

In October, Eaton Community Bank launched its new website as part of brand refresh. Highlighted within that launch was its community to community strength and the announcement of the Charitable Giving contest, which was promoted through social media, digital ads and the landing page.

Five non-profits representing the seven mid-Michigan communities Eaton Community Bank serves were featured on the website and promoted on social media throughout October and into November. Voting was open to everyone with $5,000 awarded to the winning non-profit and $1,000 to each of the other four participants.

The five organizations were:

  • Crosswalk Teen Center located in Charlotte, which teaches youth to make positive choices while navigating life’s intersections by providing free programs during afterschool and unsupervised hours where students can engage in a safe environment.
  • Canines for Change located in Grand Ledge, which provides the highest quality services dogs to enhance the lives of individuals with disabilities by empowering them to maintain an independent and active lifestyle.
  • Heroes Haven located in Eaton Rapids, which offers mental, physical and spiritual health to first responders, veterans and their families through various programs to instill desire, hope, purpose, readiness and a will to live during and after service.
  • Princess Alli Foundation located in Olivet, which supports family-centered inpatient care in hospital settings by providing meals and toiletry support to families of children with illnesses.
  • Stockbridge Community Outreach located in Stockbridge, which provides assistance with food, utilities, housing, transportation and prescriptions to those living in the Stockbridge School District.

After more than a month of social media promotion and online voting by community members through Eaton Community Bank’s website, the winner was Stockbridge Community Outreach.

“We were so excited to participate in this contest, and to win just means so much to us and all the families we help,” said Karen Smith, program director for Stockbridge Community Outreach. “The holidays are always a busy season for organizations like ours, and this pandemic has increased needs while decreasing resources. So this comes at a crucial time for us, and we couldn’t be more grateful.”

Smith said donations are down with financial hardship hitting local businesses, and that Stockbridge Community Outreach is preparing to enter 2021 with an operating budget down more than $40,000 at a time when need has never been higher.

“Because of COVID we’re distributing food once a week instead of once a month,” Smith said. “We also help with utility payments, prescription payments and rent payments. And we’re in the middle of our Holiday Assistance program Adopt-a-Family; last year we had 128 families. So this money will go towards helping a lot of people.”

Anyone interested in learning more about the five participating non-profits and how to donate, can do so through

“I’m so happy for Stockbridge Community Outreach. They’re a wonderful organization and a very important part of our community,” said Heather Marks, Eaton Community Bank’s Stockbridge branch manager. “To not just support but also increase awareness for five deserving non-profit organizations within our communities made this contest a lot of fun for all of us at Eaton Community Bank.”

Eaton Community Bank serves mid-Michigan communities by creating a great customer experience delivered by team members passionate about building relationship that make it easy for businesses and people to get help with any financial decisions they face. A member of the FDIC and Equal Housing Lender, Eaton Community Bank is your resource for any financial decision.

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