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Banking on the future

Partnerships with local banks benefit students in many ways

A bank is one of the first business relationships that Americans form in their lives. Sometimes this relationship begins with something as simple as a savings account to deposit birthday checks from grandma. Later in life this relationship grows to encompass more. However we first meet them, banks play a big role for individuals, businesses and communities, and banks continue to sustain important and long-term relationships with Colorado Mesa University and its students.

Area banks support CMU in almost every imaginable way according to Liz Meyer, CEO and vice president of development of the Colorado Mesa University Foundation. Support takes the form of scholarships, internships, event sponsorship, serving on advisory boards, emergency funding and even teaching financial literacy skills.

“Some banks have been supporting CMU for more than two decades,” said Meyer. “Every area bank provides some kind of support for students.”

“ANB Bank really focuses on helping people in rural Colorado build skills,” Meyer said. “A recent gift from ANB Bank and the Sturm family went to building the state-of-the-art Sturm-ANB Bank Mobile Learning Lab for Western Colorado Community College. The 53-foot-long by 8-foot-wide lab brings mechatronics courses to students across Colorado.”

Home Loan State Bank supports a number of programs, among them the Hardship Fund. This emergency fund provides quick solutions to very practical problems for students.

Home Loan State Bank president Craig Springer cites the example of a single mom whose car broke down and was faced with dropping out of school to work more hours to fix her car. A car can be repaired fairly quickly if the funds are available, but ending her education could affect that mom’s lifetime employment prospects.

Springer said they have supported the Hardship Fund for three years, and they receive “a pretty good stack of
thank you cards each semester” from recipients.

In addition to generous scholarships, an internship program and backing for athletic teams comprises part of US Bank’s support for CMU. “We’re passionate about volunteerism,” said Randall Cupp, community bank president for US Bank in Grand Junction. “One such volunteer effort includes financial literacy seminars hosted by bank employees for the benefit of students.”

Local banks have donated $1.9 million to CMU throughout the years, said Meyer. “It’s really meaningful support for our students.” •

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Written by Deborah Dawes