First Financial Foundation Announces Winners of 2014 Erma Dorrer Literary Scholarship

Press Release

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(L to R): 2014 scholarship winners Kimberly Rogers, Demonica Britt, Michael Perry, President/CEO Issa Stephan, and Carly Burrus.

WALL, N.J. – The First Financial Federal Credit Union Foundation (www.firstffcu.com) recently awarded $500 scholarships to four deserving undergraduate students.

This year’s winners included: Kimberly Rogers of Ocean Township, Georgian Court University; Demonica Britt of Freehold, Seton Hall University; Michael Perry of Freehold, Boston College; and Carly Burrus of Neptune, Coastal Carolina University.

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Pictured above: 2014 scholarship winner Kimberly Rogers with Issa Stephan and her parents.

This year, there was one scholarship topic for student applicants to respond to: In today’s world, identity theft, building credit and maintaining good credit are essential elements in our financial lives.  How will you address these essential financial elements during your college years, and how will you guide your friends and family to address the above elements?  Your response should include details about how to protect yourself and what others should do to protect themselves from ID theft, as well as how you plan to build credit and maintain credit for your financial future.

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Pictured above: 2014 scholarship winner Demonica Britt with Issa Stephan and her daughters.

Applicants submitted a written essay or video clip to answer the question, and had to be a member of the credit union by 12/31/13 and about to attend for fall 2014 or currently attending a 2 or 4 year college anywhere in the country.

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Pictured above: 2014 scholarship winner Michael Perry with Issa Stephan and his parents and grandmother.

“We are thrilled to be able to aid these admirable and bright students in their journey of success and education,” said First Financial President and CEO, Issa Stephan.  “Our credit union puts a high priority on education, after all – that’s how First Financial began 78 years ago, with a group of schoolteachers in Asbury Park.”

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Pictured above: 2014 scholarship winner Carly Burrus with Issa Stephan and her mother.

View more about this year’s scholarships and the First Financial Foundation on First Financial’s website.

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About the First Financial Foundation:

Since 1994, First Financial has supported the Monmouth & Ocean communities with the Erma Dorrer Scholarship Program. Today, that program has been extended into the First Financial Foundation to assist charitable organizations of the Monmouth & Ocean County Communities.  The First Financial Federal Credit Union Foundation is a non-profit working to support a variety of community programs and organizations throughout Monmouth and Ocean Counties.  We direct 100% of your contributions to programs because all administrative expenses are paid for by First Financial Federal Credit Union.  To learn more, visit www.firstffcu.com.

First Financial Foundation Announces Winners of 2013 Erma Dorrer Literary Scholarship

Press Release

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(L to R): First Financial’s President/CEO, Issa Stephan with 2013 scholarship recipient Christen Corrado. Not pictured: 2013 scholarship winners Kevin Rogers and Amanda Sayko.

The First Financial Federal Credit Union Foundation (www.firstfinancialfoundation.org) recently awarded $1,000 scholarships to three deserving undergraduate students.

This year’s winners included: Kevin Rogers, Ocean Township, Monmouth University (started Fall 2011); Christen Corrado, Freehold, Rowan University, School of Engineering (started Fall 2011); and Amanda Sayko, Howell, Penn State Erie, The Behrend College (started Fall 2013).

This year, there was one scholarship topic for student applicants to respond to:

Due to heavy competition in New Jersey with banks and financial institutions on every corner, how can First Financial bring in new credit union members? How can we differentiate ourselves and successfully carry out a membership drive within the community to recruit new members? Please answer the question as if you were a First Financial executive – what would you do to educate the local community about the benefits of a credit union membership?

Applicants submitted a written essay or video clip to answer the question of their choice, and had to be a member of the credit union by 12/31/12 and about to attend for fall 2013 or currently attending a 2 or 4 year college anywhere in the country.

“We are thrilled to be able to aid these admirable and bright young students in their journey of success and education,” said First Financial President and CEO, Issa Stephan.  “Our credit union puts a high priority on education, after all – that’s how First Financial began 77 years ago, with a group of schoolteachers in Asbury Park.”

Congratulations to our 2013 scholarship recipients and thank you to all of this year’s applicants!

First Financial Foundation Awards Superstorm Sandy Donations to Manahawkin Family

Press Release

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Clarence and Judith Jones of Manahawkin receive a check from First Financial President & CEO, Issa Stephan at the credit union’s Toms River branch.

Toms River, NJ (6/24/13) – Clarence and Judith Jones of Manahawkin were delighted when they received a phone call from First Financial, letting them know they were the recipients of the First Financial Foundation’s Superstorm Sandy member donation drive.  The Jones’ met First Financial President & CEO, Issa Stephan, who presented them with a $330 check – most of which was collected from cash/change donation boxes that were placed in the credit union’s five branch locations in early 2013.

The First Financial Foundation was made aware that several of the credit union’s families were greatly affected by Superstorm Sandy, and wanted to contribute to the cause by helping the membership.  In early 2013, donation boxes for cash/change deposits were placed in all five of First Financial’s branch locations – as well as a link was placed on First Financial’s website for those who wanted to make an online contribution.  In addition, the Foundation contacted the Food Bank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties and had food collection bins placed in each of their five branch locations.  First Financial members, employees, and business account members contributed what they were able to the cause.

The First Financial Foundation received written assistance requests from 11 member families who were significantly impacted by the storm, and in April 2013 drew one of the 11 families at random to provide the amount collected from the donations.  The family drawn was that of Clarence and Judith Jones. The Jones’ home in Manahawkin, NJ was completely devastated from the storm. While their home is currently in the process of being rebuilt, the couple has been traveling back and forth between babysitting for grandchildren on Long Island and when in New Jersey, temporarily living in a camper belonging to their son, John Paul Jones, next to where their home used to be.

On receiving the donations from the First Financial Foundation – the Jones’ said, “We were managing just fine – patiently waiting as our home was being rebuilt, and residing in our camper when we were in New Jersey. Unfortunately, our camper’s water pump recently stopped functioning properly – and this generous donation will go toward its repair. We are very grateful to the First Financial Foundation and the First Financial members and employees who made contributions!”

“The main goals of the First Financial Foundation are to assist the local Monmouth and Ocean County community by providing college scholarships to area students, classroom grants to our schools, and contributing to other important causes which impact our community members in any way we can,” stated First Financial President & CEO, Issa Stephan.

Stephan also noted that while the Foundation wanted to be able to contribute more and give something to all of the affected member families, it wasn’t possible at this time due to the annual college scholarships that will be given out this summer and classroom grants later this fall. “Throughout the year the Foundation holds various fundraisers such as car washes, bake sales, craft fairs, and raffles in order to raise money for our annual donation campaigns. Superstorm Sandy wasn’t something anyone could’ve planned for – or known that it would affect the Jersey Shore area as much as it had. However, with our members needing help, we wanted to contribute as much as we could to those in need.  We hope our upcoming fundraising campaigns that will take place throughout the rest of this year will allow us to supply additional funds to the other ten member families who wrote to us,” said Stephan.

If you would like to donate to the First Financial Foundation, stop into any one of our branches or visit our website at www.firstffcu.com and click on the donation button at the bottom of our homepage. For more information, you can contact the First Financial Foundation at foundation@firstffcu.com or send direct requests to PO Box 1172, Toms River, NJ 08754-1172.

Classroom Grant Winner Sincerely Thanks First Financial Foundation

Back in December 2012 we announced our four $500 classroom grant winners for the 2012-2013 school year awarded by the First Financial Foundation. Brick Educational Enrichment Center Teacher Sally Flannery, a resident of Wall, NJ, was ecstatic when we surprised her with a $500 grant to help fund her classroom needs.

Ms. Flannery submitted her grant application in order to purchase drop-proof iPad cases to protect the devices she uses to teach preschool children with special needs.

“The iPad is single handedly helping our children access a world they’ve never had access to before,” said Flannery. ”However, there’s one tiny, little glitch. Preschoolers drop things. Often, children on the autistic spectrum and children with behavior disorders throw things, and they are not able to differentiate between the cost of a stuffed dinosaur and a $500 iPad. The drop-proof cases will help protect our equipment and ensure our children have access to the world at their fingertips.”

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(Pictured above: Sally Flannery (far right) along with the other teachers of Brick Educational Enrichment Center.)

Recently, Ms. Flannery contacted us with a sincere testimonial, “Recently, a student accidentally dropped one of the iPads.  If it didn’t have the protective case the First Financial Foundation funded, it would have been ruined. This was the first accident, and I’m sure they’ll be many more to come. Thank you from the bottom of my heart and from all of us at the Educational Enrichment Center.”

Knowing that the small things we do can help make a difference in someone’s life is the foundation we built our institution on and we will continue to build upon this value to help and support our surrounding communities.

First Financial Foundation Awards Classroom Grant to Environmental Science Teacher of Central Regional HS

jenhainesPictured above from left to right: Michelle Ramsey, Assistant Principal;  Issa Stephan, First Financial President & CEO; Graham Stevens, First Financial JFAC Managing Director; Jennifer Haines, Winning Science Teacher; Douglas Corbett, Principal; Timothy Murphy, Assistant Principal; Louise Pesci, Curriculum Supervisor; Felicya Morreale, Supervisor of Math and Science; Kevin Buscio, Supervisor of Language and Social Studies.

Bayville, NJ (12/28/12) — Central Regional H.S. Environmental Science Teacher Jen Haines, a resident of Waretown, NJ, was very excited when she received a surprise visit to her classroom by First Financial President & CEO, Issa Stephan, who brought her a $500 classroom grant for the 2012-2013 school year.

Ms. Haines’ supervisor, Louise Pesci, submitted a grant application on her behalf to support Haines’ ongoing efforts to conduct hands on, environmental projects that excite the students and promote transferable learning.

Pesci wrote in to the First Financial Foundation, “Ten years ago, our seventh-grade science students took part in a rain basin project, which since that time, has filtered out pollutants to the ground water and stopped non-point source pollutants from entering into our two on site storm basins. These basins empty out into the Barnegat Bay and have continued to recharge the waters entering these drains to keep our waters safe.  Students from the four classes who worked and learned about saving their environment still come back to see their handiwork, some with their own children.”

The grant money will allow Haines to expand the project to two new troubled areas on the school campus.  One area is a constantly eroding hill, and the two others are wet lands areas in front of a small storm-basin and a low lying area of land.

The grant will allow for the purchase of shovels, wet-lands plants, up-land plants and enough mulch for both project areas.  It will also allow the Science Department to invite a soil conservation specialist to come to the school and speak to the students.

Since First Financial began with a group of Asbury Park schoolteachers back in 1936, the credit union has not forgotten its educational roots.  That is why its Foundation offered current Monmouth and Ocean County educators four classroom grants to use at their schools for the 2012-2013 school year.

 

First Financial Foundation Awards Classroom Grant to Brick Educational Enrichment Center Teacher

Press Release

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Pictured above from left to right: Graham Stevens (First Financial JFAC Managing Director), Issa Stephan (First Financial President & CEO), winning teacher Sally Flannery, Assistant Superintendent Walter Hrycenko), Jessica Revoir (First Financial Marketing Manager), and Megan Shull (First Financial Business Development Officer).

Brick Township, NJ (12/19/12) – Brick Educational Enrichment Center Teacher Sally Flannery, a resident of Wall, NJ, was delighted when she received a surprise visit to her classroom by First Financial President & CEO, Issa Stephan, who brought her a $500 classroom grant for the 2012-2013 school year.

Ms. Flannery submitted a grant application to purchase drop-proof iPad cases to protect the devices she uses to teach preschool children with special needs.

“The iPad is single handedly helping our children access a world they’ve never had access to before,” said Flannery. ”However, there’s one tiny, little glitch. Preschoolers drop things. Often, children on the autistic spectrum and children with behavior disorders throw things, and they are not able to differentiate between the cost of a stuffed dinosaur and a $500 iPad. The drop-proof cases will help protect our equipment and ensure our children have access to the world at their fingertips.”

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Pictured above left to right: Principal Kathleen DiGrigoli, Issa Stephan, Sally Flannery, and Walter Hrycenko.

Since First Financial began with a group of Asbury Park schoolteachers back in 1936, the credit union has not forgotten its educational roots.  That is why its Foundation offered current Monmouth and Ocean County educators four classroom grants to use at their schools for the 2012-2013 school year.