Give A Hand Up
Community Helping Hands In $10K Challenge
A local nonprofit organization is in the running to receive a $10,000 windfall, but needs community support in order to receive it.
Community Helping Hands is up against four other Northeastern U.S. nonprofits in M&T Bank’s first-ever “Understanding What’s Important Business Challenge,” an initiative that celebrates local businesses and the organizations they support to make a difference in their communities.
M&T launched the initiative earlier this year to celebrate the community impact of local businesses. Any business across M&T’s footprint that stretches across the Northeast was eligible to enter and nominate a community organization to win up to $10,000 on their behalf.
Community Helping Hands was nominated by Jim Holler, owner of Trinity Guitars in Jamestown and a Community Helping Hands board member. Holler said he felt the organization exemplified the characteristics of the kind of community-minded entity the “Understanding What’s Important Business Challenge” seeks to honor.
“I’ve worked very closely with (Community Helping Hands) and know all the stuff they do down there; it’s pretty phenomenal,” Holler said. “They do really help this community a lot, and not just with handouts. There are a lot of opportunities for folks to work there; maybe someone who’s just getting out of prison or on a work permit. But because of the environment down there it ends up being transformational for a lot of people. A lot of times people who finish their requirements end up volunteering there, and so I nominated them specifically to help them fund this workforce development program.”
As one of the competition’s five finalists, Community Helping Hands will automatically receive $1,000. If it s deemed the grand prize winner, it will receive an additional $9,000 — making for a total prize $10,000.
Amy Rohler, Community Helping Hands executive director, said $10,000 would be a great boost to the organization’s workforce development program.
“We’re really excited to have made as far as we have in this competition; we had no idea we would ever make it to the top five and compete against such other worthy organizations,” Rohler said. “Essentially, (the workforce development program) is a relationship-based approach to help people who have traditionally struggled to find, and keep, a job find employment success. It mobilizes relationships and resources. The money will help us pay for the equipment, staffing and incentives we need to make the program successful. It basically helps us stretch our resources further in this area.”
The top five finalists are now competing head-to-head in an online voting platform which runs through noon Wednesday, Nov. 22. People can vote for Community Helping Hands by visiting bank.mtb.com/BusinessContest, selecting the organization and casting their vote. Voting can also be achieved through Community Helping Hands’ Facebook page. One vote per person can be cast each day.
“I know it’s hard to think about voting every day, but we really appreciate everyone pulling together,” Rohler said. “It only takes a few minutes each day, and it would be really cool for this little section of New York to show what we can do.”
The other four finalists in this year’s challenge include: Benedictine Health Foundation in Kingston; LifePath Christian Ministries in York, Pa.; There Goes My Hero Inc. in Lutherville, Md.; and Waggies by Maggie and Friends in Wilmington, Del. Finalists were selected based upon independent scoring criteria that weighed key factors including why the community organization is important to the nominating business, the business’ involvement with the organization and the impact of the prize money.
To learn more about the finalist organizations and their nominating businesses, and to cast your vote, visit bank.mtb.com/BusinessContest.