Many benefit from Athens Federal Foundation grants

Posted 11/12/16

Special to the Banner

Athens — Forty-four charitable and nonprofit organizations received more than $119,000 in grants from the Athens Federal Foundation — an institution formed in 2009 as …

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Many benefit from Athens Federal Foundation grants


Special to the Banner

Athens — Forty-four charitable and nonprofit organizations received more than $119,000 in grants from the Athens Federal Foundation — an institution formed in 2009 as part of Athens Federal Community Bank’s stock conversion. With a mission of “supporting and funding community development to assist the economically disadvantaged,” Foundation president and CEO Jeff Cunningham said the foundation strives to endow the community in its most pressing time of need.

The 44 organizations are located in Athens Federal Community Bank’s service area and carry out work ranging from helping the uninsured receive proper medical care to providing warm meals for the hungry. Each group was recognized during the foundation’s sixth annual luncheon on Oct. 20 at the McMinn County Living Heritage Museum.

“We do appreciate being involved in your causes and ministries. The amount of effort in our communities to help those in need is amazing,” said Cunningham. “It’s truly a fine group of organizations represented here, and you certainly give us a lot to celebrate. This is all about you. You help us with our mission at the foundation, which is to endow the communities we serve.”

During the luncheon, several grant recipients shared thoughts on the Foundation’s impact.

Receiving its sixth Athens Federal Foundation grant, Lift and Redemption Ministries (The Caring Place) executive director Dr. Randy Howard commended the Foundation.

“We thank the Athens Federal Foundation for continuing to support the important work being done at The Caring Place, including funding the mission of our organization to distribute groceries to family at or below poverty level, provide ready to wear clothing, offer professional social work services and fund the Sac Pac food program for area schools,” said Howard.

Cunningham correlated the increasing number of Foundation applicants to the mounting needs present in the communities served by Athens Federal.

“Particularly, this area is experiencing a crucial need for basic life essentials, including food, shelter and adequate healthcare,” said Cunningham. “The Foundation is committed to helping overcome those hardships and inspiring others to continue the effort of endowing our communities. As the Athens Federal Foundation grows, we get to touch more people in the community in different ways.”

Work done by these nonprofit and charitable organizations is work that keynote speaker Dr. Tony Crisp, pastor of Eastanallee Baptist Church, said was based upon “unconditional love.”

“It is a love that expects nothing in return. What you're doing are works that are selfless, and the greatest reward is to see that what you're doing, what you're giving, where you're working, the difference you're making is making a difference in someone's life for good,” Crisp said.

“Nonprofits have a long history. May they ever live because the government cannot do it, and anything the government can do the nonprofit can do better. Turn Americans loose, and we can change America again. I'm so grateful for you and what you're doing in the community. The reason we're doing what we're doing is because God has put within us something that wants to not just be a success, but to be significant.”

You're making a difference. You're making an impact. You are salt and light.”

Grant applications for the 2017 calendar year will be available on June 1, 2017 at any Athens Federal Community Bank office and online at

The Athens Federal Foundation was established by Athens Bancshares Corporation, the holding company for Athens Federal Community Bank, and its shareholders as part of the Bank’s 2009 stock conversion. The Foundation was created to provide funding and support for charitable causes within the bank’s market (Bradley, McMinn, Meigs, Monroe, Loudon and Polk counties).

The Foundation’s mission is to “support and fund community development via affordable housing, job training and programs that assist the economically disadvantaged. The Foundation will also consider requests for educational initiatives, health care programs and supportive human service programs as well as local cultural institutions for the purpose of broadening access to cultural and arts activities.”


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