Kennebunk, MAINE – For each of the last 26 years, supporting the community for Kennebunk Savings has typically meant sponsoring over 300 nonprofit events and organizing hundreds of bank employees who don their green T-shirts to volunteer at them. However, as the reality of the pandemic set in, the bank quickly realized that the needs of the community were going to shift drastically.
With no safe or simple way to gather crowds of supporters, typical avenues for fundraising are closed. Races have gone virtual, conferences have become webinars, and festivals have been postponed indefinitely. When area nonprofits started to cancel their events, the bank’s Community Relations team proactively reached out to them to offer their support. Kennebunk Savings asked event organizers to apply grant funding toward operating costs instead.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has led many organizations like Kennebunk Savings to make adjustments to their giving programs to help area nonprofits maintain the critical work that is being done to address the vital needs of our communities right now. The bank was acutely aware that the events these nonprofits host each year represent a primary and sometimes sole source of fundraising for the organizations. Kennebunk Savings also understood that the needs of the community were likely to spike due to the ripple effect of the pandemic, making access to funds critical for the nonprofits to continue their work.
“We are proactively reaching out to many of our nonprofit partners to assess how their needs have changed during this crisis and what it will take to keep the lights on for the remainder of the year,” said Bradford C. Paige, President and CEO of Kennebunk Savings. “The reality is that the multitude of societal issues addressed by the groups we support have only been exacerbated by the pandemic. We’re in constant conversation with our community partners and grant recipients.”
Fair Tide, a nonprofit based in Kittery which helps to find permanent housing for individuals and families who experiencing homelessness in the Seacoast area, initially received a sponsorship for their Spring Dinner fundraiser. That money was redirected to a COVID-19 Emergency Fund. The Ogunquit Playhouse cancelled their season of theatre for the first time since World War II. Kennebunk Savings’ planned sponsorship of “Dirty Dancing” was redirected to operational costs to ensure a lively season of theatre next summer.
Kennebunk Savings has also allocated COVID-19 response funding to organizations in the community that are specifically working to help vulnerable populations impacted by the pandemic. This includes donations to the United Way of York County’s and the United Way of the Greater Seacoast, as well as donations to Caring Unlimited and HAVEN, organizations that provide direct support for community members experiencing domestic abuse and violence, which have been rapidly forced to adjust to new and changing health and safety guidelines. To date, over $99,950 has been directed towards COVID-19 response.
Despite the inherent challenges that 2020 has presented, the bank is proud to announce that the as of July 17th, it is well over the halfway mark for its annual giving goal of $1 million to nonprofits in York County, Maine and Seacoast New Hampshire. “The number right now is $625,276,” said Paige. “But more checks will go out today. This is both despite, and indeed because of, the many cancelations and changes inflicted by COVID-19.”
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