Bay Ridge nonprofits find new funding option

Bay Ridge’s Greek School of Plato has been receiving a steady stream of donations thanks to an innovative program developed by a bank that serves the Bay Ridge area.

The educational institution enrolled in Investors Bank’s Care2Share Affinity Program, a program designed to provide local nonprofit organizations access to a new steady source of financial support.

The Greek School of Plato, which was one of the first organizations to sign up for the program in 2013, is dedicated to educating Greek-Americans while simultaneously strengthening their connection with Greek heritage. Because of the Care2Share Program, the school now receives donations from Investors Bank four times a year based on how many people sign up to support the Greek School.

“Investors created the program because we want our customers and the community to help us direct our charitable dollars,” said Regina Scire, vice president market manager at Investors. “They can provide us with the names of the organizations that are near and dear to them and important to them. The reason we do it is so they can help us channel the money.”

Anyone with a new or existing Investors account can help out by filling out a simple Care2Share Account Linking form that will connect his or her account to the Greek School. The Greek School educates students from pre-k to ninth grade, and it is preparing to build a new 17,000 to 20,000-square-foot 21st century school building.

“Due to [the Greek School’s] continuous growth and large following of supporters, the Care2Share Program was the perfect fit to help with their fund raising efforts,” said Maria Krisilas, branch manager and assistant vice president at the Investors Bank Third Avenue branch.

Investors routinely makes donations to the school based on the average balances in all of the accounts linked to the Greek School, so the more people who link their accounts to the Greek School, the more donations the Greek School will get to use towards paying for their new building location, renovation and other needs.

“Last year we had about 170 students, and this year we expect it will be more,” said Eleni Karageorgiou, the Greek School’s principal. “We don’t have our own building, and we are renting. The rent is very expensive, and we have a lot of teachers because we have a lot of students, and they must be paid. We have to pay books and things like that.”

People who enroll in the Care2Share program will have all of their banking information kept confidential. The bank calculates the size of its contribution by calculating .25 percent of the average quarterly balance of all personal checking accounts and .15 percent on the average quarterly balances of personal savings accounts linked to the school.

“The Care2Share program provides another way to receive donations for our school through the support of the community and Investors Bank,” said John Geroulanos, board member of the Greek School of Plato. “This is a ‘win-win’ program for everyone. The school benefits by receiving additional funds, and our supporters assist us by banking at Investors. And the bank wins because it’s making a positive difference in the community.”

Today, there are about 36 charities that have signed up for the Care2Share Program, and over 1,000 people have signed up to link their accounts.

“Investors Bank is committed to making a difference for our customers, our employees and the communities that we serve,” Krisilas said. “For us, being a good corporate citizen is all about giving back.”

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