GUILFORD >> After supporting its own community for years, Guilford Savings Bank is extending a helping hand elsewhere on the shoreline.
The Madison Foundation and Branford Community Foundation will receive about $10,000 to start endowment funding through the bank.
Eunice LaSala, president of the Branford Community Foundation, said the new funding is a great way for the bank to invest in her community.
“Guilford Savings Bank is like our hometown bank,” LaSala said. “We don’t have anything like them over here.”
The Branford foundation gives grants to nonprofit organizations for educational, land preservation, cultural and basic needs, according to LaSala.
“We’ve learned that one in five of our residents need help with basic day-to-day issues,” LaSala said.
Nancy Gearson, president of the Madison Foundation, expressed her gratitude to the bank.
“It’s wonderful that they have that kind of vision and such a leadership role,” Gearson said.
The bank began its local support in 2009 with the Guilford Savings Bank Scholarship solely for Guilford High School seniors to further their education.
Funding in town, Madison and Branford will now be extended to low- to moderate-income families and individuals, general needs of the community and needs of the three foundations.
Tom Pinchbeck, president of the Guilford Foundation, said the bank has “always been a major proponent of his foundation.”
“It’s not just scholarship money anymore. The bank is opening up the scope to other needs in town,” Pinchbeck said.
He added the funding expansion has been a work in progress for a year.
“They’re interested in doing the same for other foundations along the Shoreline by supporting local nonprofits in the area,” Pinchbeck said. “They see the value in supporting local foundations and the citizens of the town.”
The Guilford Foundation, or “the hub of philanthropy in the Shoreline” as Pinchbeck referred to it, works to create an endowment fund or an “unofficial savings account.”
For example, the Guilford Women and Family Life Center started an endowment fund to support the organization’s fundamental needs.
“Whatever they have in the fund that year, they can spend it to support their project,” Pinchbeck said. “It gives them a sense of assurance they have something to count on every year.”
Pinchbeck said the foundation has not only benefited from the bank financially but had the privilege of having bank employees on the foundation’s board of trustees.
“I think the other towns can look forward to having community support and can imagine it to be on all level of needs,” Pinchbeck said.
Tim Geelan, incoming president and CEO of the Guilford Savings Bank, said it was important to use the impact the bank’s fund had made in town and extend it to Branford and Madison.
“The community foundations are really the cornerstones of philanthropy in these communities,” Geelan said.
The bank official hopes the endowment extension will bring all three community foundations together to “join forces.”
“We’ve worked together before to aid with fuel assistance to meet the needs of those who needed help,” Geelan said. “We hope they work more with each other. We essentially have the best feet on the street, these people know the communities the best.”