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THE POST-SIGNAL / Desiray Seaux
Among those on hand for the check presentation were, from left, Cynthia Miller, First National Bank; Audry Spencer, Empowering the Community for Excellence; and Melanie Dill, Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas.

Banks partner for donation

First National Bank of Louisiana and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB Dallas) recently awarded a $24,000 grant to Empowering the Community for Excellence in Crowley.
The Partnership Grant Program (PGP) funds will help pay for computer equipment, instructional materials and two high school-aged tutors to provide academic assistance to at-risk, elementary, middle school and high school students.
Audry Spencer, founder of the Empowering Excellence program and a retired teacher of 38 years, said she saw a need in the community and created the program to address it.
“This is our seventh year of offering free tutoring to low-income, at-risk kids after their school day,” Spencer said.
“We serve about a hundred kids, and based on our new diagnostic program, all of our students during the 2018-2019 school year met our goal of 85 percent proficiency in language arts and math.”
The organization depends on donations and grants to achieve its mission.
“We’ve been blessed,” said Spencer, who proudly notes that one of her high school students is now a freshman at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
“First National Bank has worked with Empowering the Community for Excellence for a number of years, and this is the fourth PGP grant they’ve received,” said First National Bank of Louisiana President and CEO Randy Prather. “It warms our hearts to see Ms. Audry and her organization give these young students a helping hand toward academic success.”
Through the PGP program, FHLB Dallas member institutions contribute from $500 to $4,000 to a community-based organization, and FHLB Dallas matches at a 3:1 ratio. Grants are awarded annually through FHLB Dallas’ member institutions via a lottery system. In 2019, FHLB Dallas awarded $300,000 in PGP funds that were combined with $142,500 contributed by 25 FHLB Dallas member institutions for a total of $442,500 in grants.
“We are proud to join First National Bank of Louisiana in supporting the vital work that Empowering the Community for Excellence does in tutoring at-risk students,” said Greg Hettrick, first vice president and director of Community Investment for FHLB Dallas. “By providing a 3:1 match of First National Bank of Louisiana’s initial funding, we are able to dramatically increase the financial support to Empowering the Community to $24,000.”

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