For nearly half a century, Colony Bank has operated on the belief that their customers deserve more than just a bank. They deserve guidance that helps them make better choices and achieve their goals.
“Our goal at Colony Bank is to help both kids and adults have the proper tools to be able to save money, distinguish the difference between wants and needs, manage a budget, pay their bills, buy a home, pay for college, and plan for retirement.”
So, when a local school reached out in 2020 and asked if Colony Bank would sponsor the Foundations in Personal Finance curriculum, the natural answer was yes.
“We need to invest in our youth. We need to give back and grow the next generation because they’re making lots of big decisions now that can impact their future later,” said Courtney Crews, the marketing manager for Colony Bank.
And going that extra mile to serve their customers has definitely paid off. Since they opened in 1975, Colony Bank has expanded into 37 locations, spreading from their headquarters in Fitzgerald, Georgia, to as far as the Tennessee and Florida borders, and finally into the Birmingham, Alabama, market.
Reinvesting in Their Community
At the heart of Colony Bank is a desire to reinvest in their community. “We strive to give back to our communities,” said Kimberly Dockery, chief administrative officer. “That is part of our culture—our mission, if you will.”
And providing financial literacy education is one of their biggest investments because they believe everyone needs to know how to properly handle their money. “We are strong believers that the next generation is going to control our world, so we want to do as much as we can to provide them with financial literacy. And that’s where the Ramsey Education sponsorship fits in,” Kimberly said.
“Our CEO really wanted us to pursue getting more financial literacy out into the general community,” Courtney added. “That is an area that a lot of youth and even adults feel like they lack that knowledge and that security. So, this Ramsey Education sponsorship offered a really good opportunity for us to promote something that, as a bank, is very important to us.”
Then, Colony Bank decided to expand their sponsorship throughout their whole service area—even as they continued growing. “We thought it was a great giveback opportunity, so we asked if we could do it throughout all of our footprint,” Kimberly said.
Colony Bank also invests in their community through their youth leadership program called the Colony Leadership Academy. Four times a year, Colony brings in 40 high schoolers from all over the state and teaches them leadership skills through seminars, workshops and interactions with local leaders.
Giving Students a Prepared, Fresh Start in Life
By providing financial literacy education in local schools, Courtney is able to meet a need she’s seen up close.
“When I was in college,” Courtney explained, “I heard a lot of feedback from peers that they didn’t feel like they were prepared for the real world. They didn’t understand budgeting or what it meant to take out a mortgage. They didn’t feel like they got those pieces in high school. So, I think the best part about this program is that we’re able to help fill in the gap.”
For Kimberly, sponsoring these schools means she can be a part of giving students a fresh start in life. “Some of our schools are in the lower economic areas,” she said. “And it’s important to us to break generational poverty. If students aren’t receiving financial education from their parents and grandparents, then at least this provides an opportunity for them to get that knowledge so they’re not going down the same path their parents might have. This class gives them an opportunity to view the world a little differently and have hope for their future.”
Having seen the impact in providing financial literacy for local students, Courtney believes other local businesses should be doing the same. “I would definitely encourage other businesses to sponsor a school. We need to invest in our youth, and I think it’s very important to give back and grow the next generation.”
So how about it? Want to help equip students with the money skills they need to enter adulthood with confidence, security, and hope? You can by sponsoring Foundations in Personal Finance in your local community! Reach out today and we’ll get you connected with one of our Sponsorship Advisors.