OLEAN — When Della Moore was informed by Eric Garvin of Community Bank that the African American Center for Cultural Development would receive a $5,000 donation from the bank, she began to cry.
Moore, director of the African American Center in Olean, said the announcement of the donation was a big surprise to her, and comes at a time when the facility is observing Black History Month.
“That was a beautiful thing out of the blue,” Moore said of the donation. “I appreciate it very much … We are grateful to receive this generous donation from Community Bank. I can’t tell you how very blessed I am to live in an area where neighbors are willing to help each other, to give back to, and to reinvest in their community, unselfishly.”
The nonprofit Center, which moved into its new home at 214 N. Barry St. in November, “values, promotes and integrates the rich and diverse history and culture of the Southern Tier region of New York state through the celebration of the talents, lives and history of the African Americans in the region.”
The donation, which is not earmarked for any specific projects at the Center, will be used, in part, to make a new sign for the Center.
“That’s what we’re going to do for the Center,” she said, noting the facility plans to work with a local artist for the creation of the sign.
Community Bank regional manager Eric Garvin said the bank is “excited to donate to this creative and transformative organization that will add to the cultural, economic and educational vibrancy of the Olean area.
“The organization will help to highlight the achievements of many of our local African American Pioneers and their journeys,” Garvin said while explaining why the bank selected the Center to help.
“When you think about all the things that are going on in Olean these days, you hear about the negative things, but you don’t always hear about the great things that are happening,” Garvin said. “This particular project (African American Center) was unique in and of itself. Community Bank is always looking to help out and serve the different unique needs that have or have not been met throughout the community.”
He said the bank decided to “expand its horizons” by helping Moore and others with the Center, which has a passion for enriching the community.
Garvin, who sits on several committees in the community, said he heard of the Center’s goals last month, and along with the local branch manager, secured the donation for the facility.
He said the donation is not just a one-time project, as the bank has helped other local nonprofits and entities that include the Warming House, Olean General Hospital and the Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation.
“As Community Bank, we continue to live up to that name,” Garvin remarked. “So many of our managers are actively involved in the community and help us follow up on ideas that provide back to the community, not just in Olean but throughout the regions we serve.”
He said the donation to the Center, located near Jamestown Community College, is expected to add to the vibrancy of the overall community and enhance Olean.
“We want the best for Della and the organization … she’s put her heart and soul into this,” Garvin concluded. “We’re certainly happy to partner with these folks.”
Community Bank N.A. operates more than 235 customer facilities across Upstate New York, Northeastern Pennsylvania, Vermont and Western Massachusetts. Throughout its more than 150-year history, the bank has remained committed to a community-focused approach that puts customers first.
For more information about Community Bank, visit cbnanews.com.
(Contact reporter Kate Day Sager at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter, @OTHKate)