On March 18, 2021 in California, Central Valley Community Bank President and CEO, James M. Ford, announced that the bank had raised over $83,000 for the Central Sierra Resiliency Fund (The Fund).
The Fund, which is held by the Central Sierra Historical Society and Museum, a 501(c)(3), was established to help Central Sierra residents and communities rebuild their lives and properties, restore economic revitalization and reforest the 379,895 acres devastated by the 2020 Creek Fire, the largest single fire incident recorded in California’s history.
“We thank Central Valley Community Bank for their partnership,” said Keith Swinger, the Central Sierra Historical Society and Museum Board of Directors Chairperson.
“We’re grateful for their assistance with the establishment of the Central Sierra Resiliency Fund and their continued support of our mission to restore, revitalize and reforest the region where so many live, operate businesses and recreate,” he continued.
The Bank with support from their team, clients and community raised funds for the effort through its CVCB Sierra Resiliency Drive (Drive).
“Over the past 41 years, supporting our communities is, and always has been, a priority for our Bank,” Ford said.
“This last year brought many challenges to the regions we serve, which inspired us all the more to increase our efforts in the communities we call home through opportunities like the CVCB Sierra Resiliency Drive,” he added.
Ford praised the selflessness of those who stepped forward to provide food, clothing, shelter, financial assistance and other relief even while the Creek Fire was still burning, and encourages Central Valley residents to continue.
“It will take decades to replenish what was lost in the fire. Support is needed today, tomorrow and years into the future as restoring this area will be a lifelong effort,” concluded Ford.
Launched in November 2020 with the goal of raising $50,000, the Drive was jumpstarted by a Bank contribution of $25,000. Then employees, Board of Directors and clients contributed significantly to the cause, from numerous small gifts of under $100 to a particularly generous donation of $20,000.
The Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco provided a Disaster Relief matching grant of $25,000. And local community groups joined in, like Fresno’s PINC which also supported the Bank’s Holiday Giving Tree effort that provided gifts to families who lost everything in the Creek Fire.
Central Valley Community Bank isn’t looking at the rebuilding effort as an outsider; it is deeply rooted in the region impacted by the Creek Fire. The Bank’s history in the Central Sierra dates back to 1982 when it opened its Shaver Lake Banking Center, which later relocated to Prather in 1987.
Today, the Prather Banking Center which will move back into its newly-reconstructed building this spring is the only bank servicing the communities of Prather, Huntington Lake, Big Creek, Shaver Lake, Auberry and other surrounding areas. The Central Sierra was also home to several of the Bank’s founding Board members, whose next generation continues to live and value this special legacy today.
“We are honored to provide assistance, both financially and volunteerism through the support of our employees, clients and community, to this area which has been home to our Bank, our Board, team members and our clients for decades,” Ford said.
Photo of Central Valley courtesy of Central Valley Community Bank.