2016 Habitat for Humanity Campaign

First American’s 2016 Bankwide Spring Fundraiser benefitted Habitat for Humanity.  We chose this organization because they are local to each of our branch markets and, more importantly, because they are doing great works in our communities.  Habitat offers a “hand up” to folks in need, right here in our neighborhoods.  They offer permanent solutions for families in need, rather than placing a Band-Aid over their situations.

To fundraise for Habitat we held a Shred Day event, hosted bake sales, gave our employees the opportunity to participate in Jeans Fridays, and sold house cutouts in each of our branches.  To support Habitat additionally, we placed item collection boxes in our branches to give customers and employees the opportunity to donate new or gently used items such as: framing hammers, nail aprons, safety glasses, and tape measures.

We have two Build Days scheduled for later this summer – something that we participated in last summer and was thoroughly rewarding – and eagerly anticipate this year’s opportunities.  We look forward to this experience, once again, and appreciate that all skill levels are welcome to volunteer.  Oftentimes, the individual whose home you are building is also on site assisting with the build, which allows you to put a face with the name for whom you are building and get to know that person’s story.  It’s truly a wonderful day.

Originally our fundraising was supposed to conclude at the end of May.   However, we are so passionate about this cause and want to raise the maximum amount of funds possible, so we have extended our Jeans Friday fundraiser and house cutout sales through the end of July.  I am pleased to say that throughout the month of May we raised $1,500 – we look forward to raising more throughout the next two months for this worthy organization.  Once our campaign concludes, funds will be distributed to the Habitats in the markets in which they were raised: Athens Area Habitat for Humanity, Habitat for Humanity of Rabun County, and Barrow County Habitat for Humanity.

We love supporting our communities and have thoroughly enjoyed our Habitat for Humanity Spring Fundraiser.  For more information on Habitat for Humanity, and to learn how you can support them, please visit their website.  And, be sure to stop in to purchase a house cutout before the end of July – they cost just $1 each and you can fill in your name and be displayed in one of our branch lobbies as one of Habitat’s faithful supporters.  Thank you for supporting us in our 2016 Bankwide Spring Fundraising Campaign and for helping to make it a true success!

Equal Housing Lender logo MEMBER FDIC

author abby

We Honor Those Who Serve

First American is committed to thanking those brave men and women who serve our country. We not only offer free and discounted banking services to veterans and active duty military (all benefits listed on our website under Additional Services/Military Banking), but also offer one $500 scholarship to Athens Technical College every year to a local veteran. To qualify, veterans must have graduted from any high school in Clarke, Barrow, Madison, Oconee, or Oglethorpe County. The student must apply through the Student Aid Office at Athens Technical College.

We feel that these military benefits improve the communities we serve by thanking our military, enhancing their educational opportunities, and helping Athens Technical College to improve the workforce skills in Northeast Georgia. It’s the least we can do to show our gratitude for the brave men and women who protect our country.

Equal Housing Lender logo MEMBER FDIC

mr heath

2015 United Way Campaign: The Power of Ten

On Friday, November 20th First American wrapped up our annual United Way fundraising campaign. This year’s campaign theme was “Power of Ten.” The campaign focused on what a 10% increase in donations could do for each of the organizations United Way supports. So, we ran with the theme and set a company fundraising  goal of $18,000 – the largest fundraising goal we’ve set to date. I’m pleased to announce that we raised $18,527.13! Funds were raised through a variety of ways, including: Jeans Fridays, Penny War: Change for Change, 3rd Annual Gift Basket Drawings, Inaugural Charitable Chili Cook-Off, and 5th Annual Grillin’ Up For a Good Cause Cookout. Employees also had the opportunity to make payroll deduction pledges, and the bank made a corporate donation towards our fundraising total. If you participated in any of these events, made a contribution, or simply passed along words of encouragement for a successful campaign we are here today to say “THANK YOU!”

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Jars full of change from Penny Wars: Change for Change

The United Way of Northeast Georgia serves 29 agencies in our area. $0.99 of every dollar stays local, and $0.89 of every dollar goes directly to services. We continue to fundraise for this organization as we support the ongoing great work they are doing in our community, and we are encouraged by the many services that they help provide. Serving 29 agencies gives the opportunity for everyone to connect in their own, unique way with somewhere the United Way supports. While one employee may feel strongly connected to one agency, another will find his niche with a different agency. The wide variety provides a diverse and broad range of services that gives all employees an opportunity to give towards something which they can relate.
Each year I am reminded of the group effort that it takes to pull off this campaign; it cannot be completed with merely a few participants, but rather requires participation from all of our employees and many generous individuals in our community. The instant I have a doubt that a fundraising event is going to execute smoothly or have a moment of fear that we are not going to finish our campaign successfully, it never fails that someone comes alongside me and shares a word of hope or encouragement, that we are in this together and can do it. Looking at this in a broader perspective, it makes me think of the many who experience lost hope or fear concerning day-to-day life scenarios, and just when they are about to lose all faith, United Way comes alongside them and says, “we are in this together and here to support you.” This is why First American feels so strongly about the United Way and the work they are doing in our community. This is why our company supports this organization. This is why we fundraise.
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FABT's 5th Annual Grillin' Up For a Good Cause Cookout
Through all of the good times during this year’s campaign, the absence of one particular individual was felt by our entire First American family. Earlier this year, we lost our beloved friend and colleague, Miss Janey Cooley. Miss Janey was a huge supporter of our annual United Way campaign; she believed in and supported this organization with all that was within her. I believe that I can speak for our entire First American family and say that this year’s campaign efforts are dedicated in her memory.
Thank you to everyone for pulling together and for making this year’s campaign possible. Thank you for all of the time, money, effort, and love you poured into this campaign. Each year as we fundraise, I am reminded of just one of the many reasons I love our Athens community so much, and that is the togetherness that support like this brings. You each shined in your own unique ways, and together we have been able to not just meet, but exceed, our 2015 fundraising goal. I am positively overwhelmed. Thank you!
author abby

Read All About It: Art Book and Exhibit

msr fabt

The First American team has been hard at work on a new project for several months, and we are delighted to be able to reveal it at last: The 2014-2015 Clarke County School District Art Book and Exhibit! We’ve been collaborating with Clarke County art students and teachers on this biennial project since 2009, and each year we are more and more impressed with their submissions.
This year’s theme for the book was “Imagine.” Students were asked to push the boundaries of what they could envision, ranging from the inventive to the fantastical. We saw dreams of hamburgers, abstractions of diversity, huge textile collaborations, and much more. The book is an inspiring and touching look at what the kids living and learning just down the street are imagining—for the world, for the future, and just for fun.
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In addition to being published in the book, these works will be on exhibit in the Lyndon House Arts Center from November 15, 2015 to January 17, 2016. The show is free and accessible on Tuesdays and Thursdays from noon to 9pm, and Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 9am to 5pm.

We want to say a big thank you to everyone who contributed to this book, and to encourage you to visit the exhibit. The students of Clarke County have made some fun, incredible artwork!

author megan