First Merchants Bank donates to B&G Clubs of Greater NWI

Written by Chronicle Staff. Posted in Community News & People in the News

Published on July 13, 2020 with No Comments

Photo cutline: First Merchants Bank recently donated $7,500 to Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana. Pictured, from left, are Scott Steinwart, first vice president, regional chief sales officer; Rene Martin, vice president, relationship manager and board treasurer for Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana; Ryan Smiley, president and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs; and Stephanie Madison, bank vice president, community and client manager

To help kick off Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana’s Best Summer Ever campaign, First Merchants Bank is donating $7,500 to the organization as part of a dollar-for-dollar matching gift. Through July 3, donations of at least $50 to Boys & Girls Clubs were matched by First Merchants Bank up to $7,500.

“We are so thankful to First Merchants Bank for their generous donation,” Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana President and CEO Ryan Smiley said. “This gift will go a long way toward giving club kids the Best Summer Ever, and we are grateful for their commitment to our shared communities.”

First Merchants pledged $1,000,000 to be contributed across all communities the banking institution serves throughout Indiana, Ohio, Illinois and Michigan. Local leadership identified Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana as providing valuable services to communities and vital in the fight against COVID-19.

Smiley said the donation will go toward summer programming at nine region club locations. Following eleven weeks of closure due to COVID-19, the organization re-opened clubs in Cedar Lake, Portage, Valparaiso, Chesterton and South Haven on June 1. The East Chicago, Gary and Hammond Clubs re-opened June 15, and Lake Station Boys & Girls Club re-opened July 6.

This summer, Boys & Girls Clubs is focused on providing club members with the Best Summer Ever in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that abruptly closed schools and has since shut down a number of recreational opportunities for region kids. Club members participate in arts and STEM programming and socialize with their friends all within the safety of clubs, which have implemented a number of precautions to keep members, their families and staff safe.

The organization is particularly focusing its efforts on combatting learning loss, a phenomenon children typically experience over the summer when they are out of school. Smiley said that while the status of the upcoming school year remains uncertain, the organization is committed to helping students and schools however it can.

“Nobody is sure what school is going to look like in August,” Smiley said. “But we know that teachers have worked hard to get our kids where they are, and we want to do our part to help keep them on track.”

Visit for more information on how to give and have donations matched.



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