Woodforest National Bank® and Woodforest Charitable Foundation® employees, families, and friends recently held a dedication ceremony for their fourth Habitat for Humanity home built in Northwest Harris County. The new three bedroom, 1358 square feet home located in Spring, TX was proudly built for Charles and his family who moved in to their new home just in time to enjoy the holidays.
Brian Kolenda, Vice President of Woodforest National Bank said “At Woodforest National Bank, giving back to our community, promoting financial literacy, and playing an active role in the community is an essential part of the Woodforest culture. Our dedicated employees had an unwavering commitment to Charles and his family. It was rewarding to witness the pride our employees and Charles took in building Charles’ family home from the ground up. This donation to Habitat aligns perfectly with our fundamental value of community partnership – to help ensure that everyone has a safe, decent, and affordable home.”
As part of the qualification of homeownership at Habitat for Humanity Northwest Harris County, Charles and his family were required to complete 200 hours of “sweat equity” by working to build his home alongside the Woodforest team and other community volunteers before receiving the keys to their home.
“Our main focus it to assist future homeowners achieve the strength, stability, and independence they need to build a better life for themselves and their families. We are grateful for our ongoing relationship with Woodforest National Bank and their continued support” said Soleil Watt, Executive Director for Habitat for Humanity Northwest Harris County.
For information about Woodforest National Bank®, please visit www.woodforest.com. For information regarding Habitat for Humanity NWHC and how you can volunteer or assist with a home build, visit www.habitatnwhc.org.
Favorable loan terms offer enhanced financing options statewide
(AUSTIN) — Prospective, lower-income first time homebuyers in Texas now have an additional resource to help with down payment and closing costs. The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (“TDHCA”), Texas’ only State housing finance agency, recently entered into a $10 million loan agreement with Woodforest National Bank® to address the need for low-cost homebuyer assistance funds.
“The favorable terms of this note allow TDHCA to leverage existing funds and to expand financing options available to lower income homebuyers in Texas,” said TDHCA Executive Director Tim Irvine. “This loan agreement was a key factor in reducing TDHCA’s first mortgage loan rate by approximately .375 percent. This is a tremendous savings to those who have steady incomes but, due to the challenges of rising rents and student loan payments, could use a little help in achieving the dream of homeownership.”
The loan agreement will fund down payment and closing cost assistance in conjunction with approximately $250 million in first lien mortgage loans and $10 million in 30-year, zero interest, second lien mortgage loans that are due on the earlier of sale, refinance, or maturity of the first lien mortgage loan.
This loan agreement demonstrates TDHCA’s and Woodforest National Bank’s commitment to give back to the community. The response has been overwhelmingly positive. Since Oct. 1, 2016, TDHCA has seen twice the amount of average daily reservations for homebuyer assistance funds compared to the most recent 12 months of activity.
The Department’s need for a source of low-cost down payment assistance funds, combined with Texas based Woodforest National Bank’s goal of being a catalyst of change in the communities it serves, has resulted in this ground-breaking public-private partnerships in the area of single-family housing finance.
“Down payment assistance is one of the biggest needs for very low, low, and moderate income homebuyers,” said Woodforest National Bank Executive Vice President Doug Schaeffer. “Woodforest National Bank is thrilled to partner with TDHCA on this innovative opportunity to directly increase home ownership in our Texas communities.”
About The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs
The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs is committed to expanding fair housing choice and opportunities for Texans through the administration and funding of affordable housing and homeownership opportunities, weatherization, and community-based services with the help of for-profits, nonprofits, and local governments. For more information about fair housing, funding opportunities, or services in your area, please visit www.tdhca.state.tx.us, or the Learn about Fair Housing in Texas page.
About Woodforest National Bank
Headquartered in The Woodlands, Woodforest National Bank offers both consumer and business products and services at more than 740 branches in 17 states across the United States. Woodforest National Bank is privately owned and its Employee Stock Ownership Plan is the largest shareholder. In the spirit of “true ownership” Woodforest National Bank employees strive to offer quality banking service and to understand the financial needs of every customer they serve. Its employees live, work and “give back” throughout its many banking communities by supporting organizations and civic events with countless hours of volunteer time and financial support.
Woodforest National Bank® employees recently donated 10 shiny new bicycles to Family Promise of Lake Houston. This donation will allow all ten children currently in the Lake Houston program to wake up with an extra surprise on Christmas morning.
Ben Cline, Branch Manager at Woodforest National Bank® stated, “We are pleased to partner with Family Promise of Lake Houston in providing a little something extra for these children. It is our hope that these gifts will bring a smile to their faces and they will know that we care about each of them, not just at Christmas time but throughout the year, as well.”
Carole Brady, Executive Director of Family Promise Lake Houston remarked, “If a child has to wake up on Christmas morning in a homeless shelter, the gift he or she receives that day needs to be amazing and from the heart. This wonderful donation of bikes from Woodforest is just that, amazing and from the heart! Family Promise of Lake Houston is so grateful that this year the children will be waking up to a gift given by such a wonderful group of people who truly do give from the heart. We are truly blessed to have Woodforest National Bank in our community.”
For information about Woodforest National Bank®, please visit www.woodforest.com. For information regarding Family Promise of Lake Houston and how you can help, visit www.fplh.org.
(Photo left to right) Bill Chapman, Asst. Branch Manager of Woodforest, Joshua Dandy, Branch Manager of Woodforest, Ben Cline, Branch Manager of Woodforest and Family Promise Board Member, Brooke Farr, Branch Manager of Woodforest and Family Promise Board Member, Cathy Nash, President and CEO of Woodforest, Rebecca McDonald, Regional Manager of Woodforest, Mike White, Retail Divisional Manager of Woodforest, and Hugo Reyna, Branch Manager of Woodforest and Family Promise Board Member.
It is through partnerships with caring and compassionate individuals, organizations, and businesses like Woodforest National Bank that enable our organization to serve the community.
Woodforest National Bank has been an active partner with Big Brothers Big Sisters since 2013. A grant in 2014 allowed our organization to purchase a new computer for our mentoring center. As a data driven organization, the technology allows us to track demographic information, allow staff to manage more matches and service them effectively, and administer gather important outcome measurement data used to improve our impact. A gift in 2015 purchased a color printer for local use. This allowed us to produce high quality informational and marketing pieces to tell the BBBS story.
In 2016, a $1,000 grant will be used to update aged furniture in the Mentoring Center. The Center is open daily and welcomes volunteers and families enrolling and actively participating in our one-to-one mentoring programs.
The investment by Woodforest National Bank, which seems small to some, has had a significant impact on our success. The enrollment of children and volunteers has increased steadily over the past four years. The average length of the matches in our care has also increased significantly due to our improvement efficiencies.
Joni Todd, Woodforest’s Macomb Branch Manager, has been an active member of our Community Board for 3 years, and her support has been substantial and invaluable. Joni is an outstanding person, cares about kids and her community, and has facilitated the partnership between BBBS and Woodforest National Bank since the very beginning. We are glad and proud to have her as a member of our team.
On behalf of all the kids, parents, and volunteers at Big Brothers Big Sisters, we thank Woodforest National Bank for its continued and very generous support. We would also like to thank Joni for her outstanding service to our organization and the community!
Small business is BIG business in Texas. 90% of all Texans work for a small business. With thousands of entrepreneurs creating jobs and building upon new ideas, it is easy to think that the American Dream can be accessed by all. Yet, many women, minorities, veterans, and low income struggle to climb the economic ladder. Thanks to Woodforest, PeopleFund is able to provide access to affordable small business loans so entrepreneurs can build their credit, grow healthy small businesses, expand their financial literacy, and provide goods and services that benefit us all.
PeopleFund is a community development nonprofit that creates economic opportunity and financial stability for underserved people through access to capital and education. We inspire, educate, fund, and elevate small businesses, nonprofits, and startups each and every day to make the American Dream a reality for those who need it most. Over the last 20 years, we’ve lent over $45 million, created 3,800 jobs, and provided 55,000 hours of business and financial education, but female entrepreneurs in our community still need our help to create jobs and achieve the American Dream.
So far this year, Woodforest and PeopleFund have teamed up for technical assistance training across Texas, partnered with low interest loan capital, and grant support for our Innovation Week education events in Austin and Houston.
Woodforest National Bank has been valued partner of Central South Carolina Habitat for Humanity for the past four years.
Members of the Columbia branches have participated and contributed not only on the build sites, but through teaching Financial Literacy Workshops to those completing the Habitat program, being a part of the Homeowner Services Financial Committee, taking the role of two Chairs of Columbia Habitat Young Professionals, and serving on the Central SC Habitat Board of Directors. Monetarily Woodforest National Bank has partially sponsored two homes and a multitude of Habitat’s fundraising and advocacy events.
Central SC Habitat for Humanity is proud to continue the development of this partnership and cannot thank Woodforest National Bank enough for all their support, on and off the build site. Their partnership is solid proof that Woodforest Cares, Invests, and Supports its local community and those who reside in it.
Woodforest National Bank teaches financial literacy through Junior Achievement (JA) to several of the Houston and surrounding area schools.
Woodforest volunteers teach students of all ages the importance of financial literacy, work readiness, and entrepreneurship. Depending on the program, the volunteers and students complete several activities, each activity is specifically designed for the student’s grade level.
Students in participating schools learn essential life skills to prepare them as they grow up and approach the world of work. The goal for the volunteers is to make the connection to the “real world”. The goal for the students is to make the connection between working, earning, and saving. The techniques the students learn from Woodforest volunteers and the JA curriculum help the students make informed choices in regards to their financial future.
About Junior Achievement of Southeast Texas
Since 1945, Junior Achievement of Southeast Texas’ (JASET) purpose has been to inspire and prepare young people to succeed in a global economy.
JASET is part of a global organization that operates in 123 countries and reaches 9.7 million students. It is the world’s largest and fastest-growing non-profit economic education organization. Its programs are taught by classroom volunteers from the business community in your area, parents, college students, and many more.
JA's national headquarters are located in Colorado Springs, CO. JA maintains an active vision, front and center, on how it can have a positive impact on the lives of more students, guided by its core values:
For more information about JASET and volunteering in the classroom go to www.jahouston.org or call its main office at (713) 682-4500.
Woodforest National Bank (Woodforest) has been a supporter of Feeding America, Kentucky’s Heartland (FAKH) for several years and their community partnership with us is one that continues to grow.
The regional food bank located in Elizabethtown, Kentucky has been a benefiting organization of the Woodforest Charitable Foundation® since 2012. Each year, FAKH receives funds raised by the branches located within their service area to support children who are at risk of going hungry on the weekends when school meals are not available. Through their BackPack Program, these children receive a bag of food to take home each weekend during the school year. With the help of donors like Woodforest there are currently over 5,000 students in 35 Kentucky counties who benefit from this program.
However, since 2012, Woodforest and its employees have expanded its support from being solely monetary to now include volunteer efforts and participation in FAKH’s Board of Directors. In 2015, Jared Grant, Regional Manager for Western Kentucky, joined FAKH’s Board of Directors. As a Board Member Jared not only attends meetings where he provides insight on how to improve FAKH and better serve those in need, but he continues to find new ways to be engage with FAKH. One example is the Hunger Action Month Day of Service that is hosted by FAKH each September. This day is a special volunteer event where, in addition to the local community, local officials, State Representatives and Senators, and Board Members are invited to the Volunteer Center to “join in the fight against hunger”. Jared has participated every year. Not only does he make an effort to be involved himself, he also encourages his employees to do the same.
Over the past few months Jared has recruited several Woodforest employees from his region to participate in various FAKH volunteer events. In August he and two others spent several hours at the monthly food distribution in Bowling Green, Kentucky where they helped provide food to local individuals and families who struggle with hunger. In September, Jared continued these efforts by getting local employees to join him for this year’s Hunger Action Month Day of Service.
The support FAKH continues to receive from Woodforest, Woodforest Charitable Foundation, and others across its region is vital to its mission of serving those in need across their 42 county service area in Kentucky. If you want to learn more about how you can help Feeding America, Kentucky’s Heartland provide food to those it serves visit its website at www.feedingamericaky.org. or at 270-769-6997.
About Feeding America, Kentucky’s Heartland
Feeding America, Kentucky’s Heartland is a regional food bank that provides assistance to more than 174,500 people in 42 Kentucky counties each year. Through support from individuals and organizations, such as United Way, FAKH distributes over 14 million pounds of food to approximately 200 food pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters. FAKH also sponsors various hunger relief programs including the BackPack™ Program and Senior Box (CSFP) Program. FAKH’s main office and warehouses are located on Peterson Drive in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. For more information or to volunteer, sponsor a fundraiser or a food drive, or to make a secure online donation to Feeding America, Kentucky’s Heartland, visit their website at: www.feedingamericaky.org.
Established in 2008 and opened for business in 2011, Transitions Recover Center, located at the corner of Main and Calhoun streets in downtown Columbia, is the largest and most comprehensive homeless center in the Midlands. As its name suggests, the mission of Transitions is to help people transition from homelessness into stable and independent living situations as part of becoming productive members of the community.
In the 5 years since Transitions opened its doors, Transitions continues to develop new programs to meet the health, job, and life skills training needs of the homeless population. On August 1st, it began a pilot program to address a very important need that was going unmet in our area — support for unaccompanied youth, ages 18-24. Some are homeless because they had aged out of the Foster Care system, others because they had been disowned by their family. But the staff and collaborative partners that work with Transitions, have stepped in to provide the safe and stable environment our homeless youth need while they receive the help needed to move forward in a positive direction with their lives.
Woodforest is proud to support Transitions. We recently stopped by the Center to present a grant check and were treated to a personal tour of the 260 bed facility, by CEO Craig Currey and Development Vice President ,Liz Igleheart. We encourage everyone to call for a tour and to look at volunteer opportunities at Transitions. Check out its website at www.transitionssc.org to learn more. Columbia is very lucky to have this organization, which recently received the prestigious 5 Star Charity Navigator rating, and Woodforest is glad we can be a part of making a positive difference in our community.
Woodforest National Bank teaches financial education to the residents of Ruth’s Place Women’s Shelter. Woodforest teaches the residents the importance of saving money for retirement, education, down payments, and ways to handle unexpected events. The residents complete several activities including defining individualized savings goals and strategies to accomplish these goals. Woodforest also covers a variety of other financial education topics during these classes.
The residents of Ruth’s Place Women’s Shelter learn these crucial life skills to assist them when they exit the shelter. The goal is to help them manage their personal finances and obtain permanent housing. The techniques learned help residents make informed choices when it comes to their financial future.
About Ruth’s Place
Ruth’s Place, a program of Volunteers of America® of Pennsylvania, is dedicated to providing shelter and case management services for women experiencing homelessness while honoring the dignity of each guest. Using evidence-based practices, the program provides safe, temporary and short-term emergency shelter for women experiencing homelessness in Luzerne County; coordinates and collaborates with other service providers and volunteers to assure the provision of services that address their basic physical, financial, health and spiritual needs; and assists sheltered guests to form and follow a permanent housing plan to quickly achieve stable, long term housing. Ruth’s Place is a faith-based program founded by the Methodist Urban Ministry in 2003. It operated as Ruth’s Place: House of Hope, Inc. from 2008 to 2013. In July of 2013 Ruth's Place merged with Volunteers of America of Pennsylvania.
For more information about Ruth’s Place visit www.ruthsplace.com.
Just imagine you are standing in front of Mark Cuban, Barbara Corcoran, Robert Harjavec and Lori Griener on the set of the TV hit series “Shark Tank” pitching your business in 30 seconds or less and maintaining your cool. Now imagine you are one of eight non-profits pitching your business in front of a group of engaged bankers, community leaders and informed citizens. Hopefully the latter is a little less stressful. This spring, Woodforest National Bank presented two nonprofit organizations with grants of $10,000 each to aid with specific goals and organizational needs following a “Shark Tank”-style competition. I was fortunate enough to attend one of the grant competitions in Raleigh and spoke with Matthew Clatworthy, vice president of Woodforest National Bank. Just imagine you are standing in front of Mark Cuban, Barbara Corcoran, Robert Harjavec and Lori Griener on the set of the TV hit series “Shark Tank” pitching your business in 30 seconds or less and maintaining your cool. Now imagine you are one of eight non-profits pitching your business in front of a group of engaged bankers, community leaders and informed citizens. Hopefully the latter is a little less stressful. This spring, Woodforest National Bank presented two nonprofit organizations with grants of $10,000 each to aid with specific goals and organizational needs following a “Shark Tank”-style competition. I was fortunate enough to attend one of the grant competitions in Raleigh and spoke with Matthew Clatworthy, vice president of Woodforest National Bank.
Source: Kathleen Donnelly, Carolina Banker
Woodforest is the “can-do” crew. When in doubt we can always turn to their friendly team for a helping hand! Our community partnership with Woodforest National Bank has resulted in a mutually beneficial relationship for our young families, the health of our agency, and for the development of Woodforest staff. We appreciate having Woodforest volunteers who work alongside staff in the followings ways; development and delivery of financial literacy program, board and committee involvement, ‘flash-mob’ volunteers with high-level customer service skills and great personalities.
In the past 15 months, Woodforest has generously offered 49 financial literacy classes, collectively contributing over 11,500 hours of volunteer service. Woodforest tailors curriculum and realistic shopping experiences for our young moms which help them to visualize themselves as the sole providers for their households. Not a week goes by without Woodforest volunteers modeling community responsibility on our campus. Mommy’s Place at Seton Home, sponsored by Woodforest, challenges our agency to rethink how we provide for our families – shifting to a model which encourages independent decision making.
Woodforest’s planning and extraordinary effort with Seton Home program staff has made it possible for Seton Home moms to earn leadership points which translate into buying power at Mommy’s Place. Since the Mommy’s Place Award Program started in December Seton Home moms have earned over 2,400 leadership “bucks” from doing extra housework, job shadowing, having perfect attendance/punctuality, and for going out of their way to befriend their peers. Woodforest has gone out of its way to make Mommy’s Place parallel the real-life struggle that we all have when it comes making the decision to either purchase material items or save our money. The program teaches consumer choices and helps our moms learn how to best manage limited resources. With the help of Woodforest volunteers, Seton Home moms are setting financial goals and making progress toward those goals.
In the San Antonio region, Woodforest has garnered 100% volunteer participation from all 19 bank locations with each local branch manager serving on a board or committee of a local nonprofit. We are fortunate to have local branch managers serving on special event and development committees as well as on our Board of Governors. Other agencies benefited by the bank include San Antonio Food Bank, Christian Hope Resource Center, and Guadalupe County United Way. Woodforest employees advocate for the success of our young families in 4 area counties: sporting volunteer shirts on Fridays, making special appeals which encourage local philanthropy, and never ceasing to surprise us! Seton Home proclaims, “Woodforest is an especially noteworthy organization in the San Antonio community!” They make an effort to consider how they can really be of help before they are even asked. They serve not only with resources and talent, but also with true heart.”
Article provided by Seton Home
Ways to Work is a unique Community Development Financial Institution based in Milwaukee, WI. Through a network of loan offices across the country, Ways to Work provides financial education and short-term, low-interest loans to working families with challenging credit histories. Most clients use their loan to purchase a reliable pre-owned vehicle to enhance their ability to remain engaged in the workforce and better manage their lives. The program provides an alternative to predatory lending for people with a demonstrated commitment to achieving increased economic self-sufficiency and who are intent on pursuing a higher degree of success in mainstream financial markets. All agencies that operate the Ways to Work program are members of the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities, a national network of nearly 500 human-serving organizations.
Woodforest recently donated a Ford-F250 truck to Days of Caring, a division of Montgomery County United Way, which assists low income or disabled residents with minor home repair projects. The donation was made in memory of Robert Hall, one of the Bank’s long tenured employees.
Robert passed away approximately a year ago, well before anyone at Woodforest was ready to see him go. He was the Bank’s head courier, managing a fleet of vehicles and scheduled deliveries for the bank. As Robert conducted his daily responsibilities for Woodforest, he became somewhat of an institution throughout the Bank and the communities it serves. Robert possessed a giving heart, and through his daily travels, offered a kind word to everyone he met and was always ready to lend a helping hand, regardless of the situation. Robert possessed a true spirit of giving and is missed by everyone who knew him.
After his passing, Robert’s truck was seldom used by another courier or Bank employee. It just didn’t seem right, so rather than sell or retire Robert’s bank vehicle, it was only fitting that the truck continue to carry on Robert’s legacy. As it would not be the first time the truck would be used to help others, the F-250 was completely overhauled, shined up and given a new home. In September, 2014, Robert’s truck was donated to Days of Caring to assist with their daily needs, the type of assistance that Robert would have been so pleased to be a part of.
Coburn Place is a non-profit organization located in the heart of Indianapolis. This organization serves victims of domestic violence through a safe house and program that allows these individuals and families to become self-sufficient after leaving a violent situation. The staff at Coburn Place seeks to empower their clients through on-site transitional housing, supportive services, and advocacy for up to 24 months. The housing offers residents a safe environment to live as each of the former classrooms have been transitioned into one, two or three bedroom apartments with private kitchens and bathrooms. Also, offered on-site is an outdoor playground, picnic area and meditation garden for the residents.
Through the outreach of Branch Manager, Jacob Brown, Woodforest has partnered with Coburn Place to assist in meeting the needs of our community. On July 30, 2013, Woodforest sponsored two apartments with an investment grant of $5,000 to provide fresh paint, furniture, and other household items for incoming families. In addition, a team from our Indianapolis branch located at 4545 Lafayette Road, Indianapolis, IN serves the organization by assisting with the upkeep of apartments for new clients. Jacob consistently advocates for the Coburn Place, serves as an advisor to their Board, and on two of their committees.
Woodforest is excited to share the Community Partnership we have created and if you would like more information on the organization, please visit their website.
Woodforest National Bank provided a grant in the amount of $75,000 to Junior Achievement BizTown in Charlotte, NC. The grant will be used to benefit low-to moderate-income elementary schools within the Charlotte Mecklenburg School System where Woodforest operates branch locations. Woodforest National Bank branded the "BANK" storefront located in the Junior Achievement BizTown facility in Charlotte, NC. The Junior Achievement BizTown facility is the only one of its kind in North and South Carolina and is one of only 24 similar programs in the nation. The 9,000 square foot facility features 15 storefronts designed to reflect businesses in the community. Through daily lessons, hands-on activities, and active participation in this simulated community designed to support differentiated learning styles, students develop a strong understanding of the relationship between what they learn in school and their successful participation in a worldwide economy. Woodforest has had over 130 employee volunteers that have assisted with the Junior Achievement Biztown experience.
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