When California-based Pacific Western Bank expanded into Colorado four years ago, its executives began looking for community partners it could support with Community Reinvestment Act contributions.
It didn’t take long for them to discover the African Leadership Group and the variety of programs and services it offers in the greater Denver area. “If we’re going to make a donation and get involved with an organization, we don’t want to just check a box, we want to really understand an organization,” Laura Mendez, a Pacific Western Bank community banker.
Bank executives were immediately impressed by the work of ALG and its leader, Papa Dia. “We felt really passionate about what they were doing,” Laura said. “And that’s when we decided to start donating.”
This will be the third year that Pacific Western Bank has been the major funder of ALG’s Education Scholarship Program, which provides scholarships ranging from $2,500 to $4,000 to deserving, low-income graduating high school seniors intending to pursue a course of study at either a vocational (two-year) or four-year educational institution.
Mendez also teaches ALG’s Youth Empowerment Initiative Financial Literacy Class. A mortgage broker and real estate agent as well as banker, Mendez also hopes to start assisting ALG with its homeownership workshops.
Finally, Pacific Western has become a sponsor of ALG’s Afrik Impact Fundraising Gala. “We have a table and it’s always a lot of fun to have 8-10 people from the bank there learning more about this wonderful organization.”