Citizens First Bank Doubling Donations Made to Habitat

The hometown bank is matching contributions made this month to help ore area families become homeowners.

By Anne Moser Ι Daily Sun Staff Writer Ι December 20, 2023

Citizens First Bank and Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter are partnering to help make a difference for families in need during the
holiday season.

Throughout the month of December, Citizens First Bank will match every dollar that is donated to Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter
by the community. The goal is to help give the gift of safe, affordable homes to local families.

“We’re highly committed to supporting the community in The Villages,” said Michelle Crawford, Citizens First Bank vice president and marketing officer. “The donation- matching doubles our impact and provides clean, safe housing for families in need.”

Through Dec. 31, community members are encouraged to support Habitat for Humanity in their mission of providing home ownership opportunities for low-income families. Citizens First Bank will match any sum of money donated to the organization up to $100,000.

That means $25 donations will become $50, and $50 will become $100, bringing families closer to receiving the gift of a home.

“It’s important for anyone who joins us in supporting Habitat to remember that we’re supporting young families who may not have other housing opportunities,” said Brad Weber, executive vice president and chief lending officer at Citizens First Bank.

This donation-matching fundraiser will make it possible for Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter to double its impact in the community, said Lacie Himes, development director at Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter.

“This fundraiser shows Citizens First Bank’s community involvement and willingness to make affordable housing a reality,” Himes said.  “We appreciate that they have put the effort in to support those who live in the same community as them.”

Citizens First’s donation drive for Habitat has been successful in the four years since it started, and the organizers hope to see more success this year.

“This is one way we can create positive growth and change,” Himes said. “We cannot do it alone. Every dollar makes a difference.”

The bank is committed to supporting the community in meaningful ways, Crawford said. 

This is only one of multiple charity initiatives Citizens First Bank has contributed to in 2023. In addition to Habitat for Humanity, staff also support the Buffalo Scholarship Foundation, The Villages Relay for Life effort and others.

Citizens First also has sponsored The Villages High School’s Construction Management Academy’s annual Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter’s home builds for five years, Weber said. That effort allows students to learn construction skills from area professionals while helping build homes for area families.

The bank also supports the Haven of Lake and Sumter Counties, a nonprofit organization in Leesburg that serves victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. This year’s fundraising efforts collected more than $16,000 for the Haven.

“We have been supporting the Haven for more than 27 years,” Crawford said. “It’s a very important organization as it provides a safe place for victims of abuse to receive counseling and other services.”

Citizens First Bank intends to continue its charitable initiatives and its commitment to the community in and around The Villages in 2024 and beyond.

“It’s important for us to be involved in the community by supporting the people who live here,” Crawford said.

For more information, or to donate to Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter, visit Citizens First Bank will match donations through Dec. 31.