Fulton Bank Supports Big Brothers Big Sisters’ High School Bigs & “BLAST” Programs Through Educational Improvement Tax Credits (EITC)

In photo L to R: Sue Lonergan, (President) Suzanne Hartshorne (VP) & Louis Lombardi (Sr VP) of Fulton Bank; Rachel Kurtz & Laura Jones of BBBSBC

Jamison, PA (March 8, 2019) – Fulton Bank designated $1,250 of their Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) dollars to support Big Brothers Big Sisters of Bucks County (BBBSBC), in support of the agency’s innovative High School Bigs and “BLAST” programs. The High School Bigs program is in the Council Rock, Pennsbury, and Quakertown School Districts. In this program, high school students, called “High School Bigs,” are matched as mentors one-to-one with elementary school students, called “Littles,” within their district. In the 2017-2018 school year, 70 elementary school students were matched with High School Bigs. The Littles in this school-based program made significant improvements both academically and socially, while they also increased their ability to avoid risky behavior.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Bucks County’s “BLAST” (Bigs & Littles Autism Support Team,) program was launched in 2015, in the Council Rock School District. In this unique program, specially-trained High School Bigs are matched two-to-one with elementary-aged Littles who are diagnosed with having Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). BBBSBC staff provides ongoing training, support, and coaching to the High School Bigs, specific to meeting the needs of children with ASD.  In both of these programs, the high school students receive leadership education and training, and experience the value of community service. The younger students benefit from having older role models who encourage, motivate and inspire them to learn new skills, and achieve their goals. All EITC funds go directly toward supporting the in-depth screening and training of the High School Bigs, as well as the on-going coaching and guidance provided to both the Bigs and the Littles. This type of “match support” is a hallmark of the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, and helps to create successful, long-lasting mentoring relationships, with significant, positive outcomes.

Fulton Bank is a long-time supporter of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Bucks County. Suzanne Hartshorne, Vice-President, Premier Division, of Fulton Bank, is a former board member, and Fulton Bank has contributed to the High School Bigs programs for several years through the EITC program.

“Our team at Fulton Bank is passionate about strengthening the communities we serve by changing lives for the better,” said Louis Lombardi, SVP Commercial Market Executive for Fulton Bank.  “One of the ways we do this is by volunteering and supporting organizations like Big Brothers Big Sisters of Bucks County.  Suzanne Hartshorne, VP at Fulton Bank, has been volunteering at Big Brothers Big Sisters for over 20 years serving on various committees and many years on the board of directors.  The team at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Bucks County, and volunteers like Suzanne, have been helping children reach their full potential for decades—and Fulton is proud to support them and their mission.”

Fulton Bank has been a vital part of the growth and development of south central Pennsylvania since 1882. As one of the leading financial institutions in the region, they provide consumer retail and business customers with the best in banking services and products, investment management and trust services. They are a full-service commercial bank operating 116 offices and 132 ATMs.

The Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCEC)’s Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program allows Pennsylvania businesses to designate a portion of their tax dollars to support eligible educational improvement programs, in lieu of paying PA corporate income taxes. Businesses apply to the DCEC in early July each year, and are notified if they are eligible for the EITC program. The tax credits are applied to scholarship and educational improvement organizations.  For more information on the EITC program, please go to www.newpa.com.

“These programs give outstanding high school students the opportunity to gain valuable leadership experience and training, while providing the elementary students with positive role models,” said Ursula Raczak, CEO, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Bucks County. “We are grateful for the generosity of local corporations like Fulton Bank for helping us to continue our commitment to the High School Bigs & BLAST programs.”

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Bucks County, located in Jamison, Pa., is a donor supported, volunteer driven organization affiliated with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.  As the premiere mentoring organization in Bucks County, BBBSBC has over 55 years of service to our local youth.  Programs provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one relationships that change their lives for the better, forever.

Visit: www.bbbsbc.org. Call: 215-343-8260.

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