FirstBank Fights Aftermath of COVID-19 Head-On
When the pandemic hit – and businesses started shuttering, and hospitals were desperate for protective equipment — several leaders within FirstBank started scrambling to find solutions, including Roaring Fork Market President Dave Portman.
The company, which touts “banking for good” and believes you’re only as strong as your community, launched several creative initiatives aimed at boosting local businesses, nonprofits and hospitals alike, while also giving back to essential workers.
Giving Back to Essential Workers
For instance, Portman and his team surprised grocery stores across the Valley. Partnering with local food trucks and restaurants such as Slow Groovin BBQ, FirstBank was able to provide free lunches to over 200 City Market employees in Glenwood Springs, Carbondale and Aspen. Companywide they’ve supplied more than 1,000 meals to essential workers.
“Grocery store employees, in particular, have been the unsung heroes throughout this crisis,” said Portman. “They work long hours, risk their health and safety, and they don’t always receive the respect they should. This effort allows us to not only support local restaurants, but also show these folks a small token of our gratitude.”
Helping Roaring Fork Valley Nonprofits and Relief Efforts
The bank was also adamant in making contributions that could have a lasting impact. Throughout the Roaring Fork Valley, FirstBank supplied $20,000 to local food banks and emergency relief funds to help those negatively impacted by the pandemic, including youth and low-income families. This included donations to nonprofits such as LiftUp, Stepping Stones and Valley Settlement.
Additionally, FirstBank contributed $75,000 to the Colorado COVID Relief Fund, aimed at providing needed resources to Colorado communities hardest hit by the outbreak.
Getting Protective Equipment and More to Local Hospitals
Perhaps what’s most notable is FirstBank took an especially instrumental role in the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) crisis that left hospitals reeling and healthcare workers vulnerable. After the bank got wind of Make4Covid — a new customer and Colorado-based start-up that creates and distributes PPE using 3-D printing technology – the company did everything possible to help ramp up its production.
For starters, FirstBank supplied resources. It rallied partners, Community First Foundation and El Pomar Foundation, to help contribute $150,000 total (donating $50,000 apiece) to the Make4Covid movement. The company also connected Make4Covid to well-known Colorado distiller, Leopold Brothers, to help deliver highly needed sanitizer alongside its PPE shipments. And with the help of El Pomar Foundation, FirstBank introduced them to a former Army General and Director of NORAD, who offered his personal aircraft to help transport protective equipment.
Today, Make4Covid has delivered nearly 50,000 pieces of PPE, including over 11,000 units to hospitals in Glenwood Springs, Grand Junction, Craig, Granby, and Del Norte, to name a few.
“We are grateful to FirstBank, which has been instrumental in championing our cause and were helpful in getting additional partners onboard,” said Lauren Hebert, Make4Covid Lead Organizer. “This sort of collaboration represents the true meaning of community and is the spirit behind the Make4Covid movement.”
Supporting Local Businesses and Restaurants
Outside the realm of PPE, FirstBank worked around the clock to fund over $1 billion in SBA Paycheck Protection loans to 12,000 companies. This provided a metaphorical ‘life line’ to businesses experiencing financial hardships as a result of the pandemic. But their commitment to small business didn’t end there.
FirstBank launched a Support Local page — and associated ad campaign — encouraging folks to support several area restaurants/food service companies. Restaurants interested in being featured can go to efirstbankblog.com/supportlocal to apply.
While the impact of community-based efforts like these remain to be seen, we’re hopeful many more uplifting stories of support and kindness will continue to surface. In the meantime, you can learn more about how FirstBank is helping customers, communities and employees through the pandemic by visiting their COVID-19 response page.