A letter from our President and CEO, Mark Francis:
To our Communities,
The Independent Community Bankers of America, a Washington D.C. based trade organization representing all of the country’s community banks has announced that Golden Valley Bank is the 2019 Grand National Winner of the organization’s Community Bank Service Award, the highest recognition they award in the nation for community service.
None of us can forget November 8, 2018, when the Camp Fire destroyed Paradise and burned into Butte Creek Canyon. We all know many co-workers, family and friends - so many people who have been directly affected by the worst wildfire in California history. It happened in our backyard and it happened to our people. That we cannot and will not forget.
As the details of the fire unfolded almost everyone wanted to help. For us, we thought whoever can raise money needs to raise money – and we had the perfect vehicle – The Golden Valley Bank Community Foundation, staffed by Bank employees. We all immediately went to work raising funds for fire relief.
We thought about the Carr Fire in Redding and the Bank’s $50,000 commitment to the Foundation to be directed by our Redding employees. Could we do that again and would some of our customers appreciate the opportunity to join us? Natasha Beehner, our Marketing Manager, was on it immediately and with Jaci Phelps, our Marketing Officer’s help, got the ball rolling with fundraising efforts. It started with a unanimous vote of our Board to commit “at least” $50,000 (the second time they had done that in four months). One of the first customers to join our effort was NorthStar. When other businesses heard we could establish “Funds” and they could make recommendations on how to spend the money AND we charged no administration fees plus paid them interest, businesses jumped at the chance to join in.
Laurie Kee, our VP Relationship Banking Manager stepped up and became the face of our overall effort – going to meetings (many on her own time), processing funding requests, granting awards and speaking to the public. I think that Natasha, Jaci and Laurie have spent well over 1,000 hours on Camp Fire relief! It was so chaotic in the community and at the Bank in the weeks following the fire we really didn't keep track of all the hours! In total we have received thousands of individual contributions to our Foundation.
The Bank, along with our 40 local business partners, each of us using our individual contacts with suppliers, customers and even competitors, in just nine months have raised over $13,000,000 and distributed over $4,000,000 to survivors, non-profits and other agencies for direct relief and for dozens of local projects. Did you know we are funding a Disaster Relief Coordinator position for the City of Paradise, or that we purchased a new vehicle for Meals on Wheels so that they could take care of all the eligible Paradise refugees who had landed in Chico, or that we are funding the establishment of a survivor’s mobile home park at the Landmark Missionary Baptist Church on Cohasset Road? And the donations continue to come in from around the country and internationally. In December, Recology gave us $100,000. The Sierra Nevada Resilience campaign runs through our Foundation. It is truly amazing and I am very proud of the team’s efforts.
I wish the Camp Fire would have never occurred and we wouldn’t have had the opportunity to receive this recognition. However, I am very proud of how our team – employees, our Board of Directors, our Bank’s Founders responded to this tragedy. We are a true community bank – and the Best One in Town! Maybe even in America . . . .
Thank you for all of your support!