First Financial Northwest Bank has shared this outstanding achievement with us and we are please to share it with our Mill Creek Town Center community:
First Financial Northwest Bank, a leading community bank with a 93-year history of serving the needs of our customers, is pleased to announce new contributions to the communities we serve. At First Financial, lending money is only one way we serve our communities; we also support many local organizations with donations of our resources and time, including the funding of projects within our communities.
As a community bank, we encourage volunteerism and join together to support service organizations that play an essential role in the growth and well-being of our communities. Our employees are actively involved and support community service organizations with their time and resources. By meeting their minimum required number of community service hours during 2015, our employees invested more than 934 hours in community service time to organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, YWCA, Junior Achievement, and the Renton School District.
The Bank is a strong advocate for financial literacy education. We recognize that financial literacy is essential for the average family as they work to decide how to balance their budget, buy a home, fund children’s education, and ensure adequate retirement income. To this end, we have been hosting Renton School District’s middle and high school students in financial literacy programs providing information and the basics of banking. Our work in this area was recently recognized by EverFI and Nasdaq, and we have been selected by them to receive an Innovation in Financial Education Award in April for our extraordinary efforts to improve the financial capabilities of the individuals in the communities we serve.
Our Bank invests in the future of our community’s youth by promoting their education. We recently purchased $500,000 of municipal bonds, the proceeds of which provide funds for the Renton School District schools that are essential not only for the education of our children but also for their well-being, as over half of these students qualify for free or reduced price meals.
Our employees also invest in our area’s future through support of numerous non-profit businesses who serve children, teens, and families in need of food, clothing, or counseling services. The Bank staff participates in frequent “Dress Down for Charity” days when they donate cash in order to “dress down” for the day and wear stickers indicating which local organization is being supported. Historically, the donation recipients have been the Renton Salvation Army, the Renton office of the Emergency Feeding Program of King County, Renton Area Youth and Family Services (“RAYS”), and Northwest Harvest. For example, over $500 was raised for RAYS in the February 2016 “Dress Down For Charity” day. The Bank also conducts a popular annual community event that has been a tradition with us since 1969; it is our Knitten-Mitten Tree. A large Christmas tree is set up in the Bank lobby just before the holiday season and members of our community as well as staff and their families knit warm mittens, gloves, scarves, and other related items to decorate it. These colorful, heartfelt gifts of warmth are donated to the Renton Salvation Army, where they are given to those less fortunate in our community.
Finally, another resource used to support to our communities is a charitable foundation, the First Financial Northwest Foundation (“the Foundation”), which we established in 2007 when our parent company, First Financial Northwest, Inc. (“FFNW”) went public. FFNW funded the Foundation through an allocation of approximately eight percent of the shares sold in the 2007 offering, valued at approximately $17 million. Since 2007, the Foundation has made donations to various charitable causes in our communities, with cumulative grants of over $1.2 million. Through the Foundation, we have been able to make meaningful differences in local communities and services in areas of health, education, economic development, human services, and the arts.
Although our focus this fall has been centered on the Renton community in King County and will continue with our “coming soon” branch at The Landing, we also are committed to carrying out this same passion for community service to a wider geographic area with the opening of our Mill Creek and Edmonds branches in Snohomish County. We are proud to be a community bank. We live in neighborhoods near you, share similar interests, and believe in supporting the needs of our communities. For information on how you can join in any of our fundraising efforts, please feel free to call our Bank’s headquarters at (425)255-4400 and ask for Stephanie Baxter.