Local bank’s $50K donation will change lives of Middletown families ‘for the better’

First Financial donated $50,000 to Middletown Community Foundation’s READY! Campaign. Back row, from left: Dan Sack, Robie Suggs, Amy Berlean, JoAnn Wagner and Roddell McCullough; Front row, from left: Kristen Mulligan, Carole Schul, Patricia Gage, and Elaine Garver. CONTRIBUTED

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First Financial donated $50,000 to Middletown Community Foundation’s READY! Campaign. Back row, from left: Dan Sack, Robie Suggs, Amy Berlean, JoAnn Wagner and Roddell McCullough; Front row, from left: Kristen Mulligan, Carole Schul, Patricia Gage, and Elaine Garver. CONTRIBUTED

A local bank foundation recently invested in Middletown’s early childhood education effort.

First Financial Bank donated $50,000 to the Middletown Community Foundation’s READY! Campaign, a program geared toward preparing children for kindergarten, helping students remain successful throughout their school career and assist them in identifying the right career path.

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The donation from First Financial Bank “is a gift to the entire community,” said Foundation Board President Carole Schul.

She said READY! programs are working, and the bank’s support will change local families’ lives “for the better.”

Schul said some of the services provided through the READY! program are home visits with a social worker, scholarships for preschool students and play groups geared toward teaching through music, art and play.

“We are committed to the youth of our community and we are excited to put this gift to good use,” she said.

Roddell McCullough, director of Community Development for First Financial, said the bank has committed to “focus on things that are important to Middletown. Our goal to help to improve their situations through education.”

Kristen Mulligan, MCF’s finance and scholarship manager, praised the bank for its support of the campaign. She said the donation illustrates First Financial’s “commitment to the community.”

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The READY! Campaign was established after a community wide survey indicated that many children in the foundation’s service area of Middletown, Monroe, Madison Twp., Edgewood and Franklin, were entering kindergarten behind standard expectations and therefore struggled to perform well in school from the start. Recognizing that its existing philanthropic endowments were not substantial enough to fund the necessary programs to enact such a significant change in local student performance, the MCF’s Board of Trustees launched a campaign to raise several million dollars specifically for the initiatives identified by its task forces and committees.

Questions about READY! and how you can help support early childhood education can be addressed by calling the Middletown Community Foundation at 513-424-7369 or email info@mcfoundation.org.

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