This season, the Sharks Foundation has established the "Sharks Foundation Community Award" which will be given to an individual, business or group that exemplifies the mission of the Sharks Foundation to enhance the lives of youth and families in our local area. These community all-stars have gone above and beyond to help the Sharks Foundation and assist those in need.
Comerica Bank has been the presenting sponsor of the "Reading is Cool" literacy program for the past three years. Their generous contribution affirms their commitment to the community, passion for education and ensures this literacy program reaches as many students as possible.
What are the goals of Comerica both as a business and as a community leader?
Comerica's goal is to help businesses and individuals be successful. We provide financial services and expertise to help our customers reach their goals. We do so with integrity and through the lasting relationships we have built over the two decades we have been serving the Bay Area market. At Comerica, the families and businesses we serve are very diverse and we work hard to understand what matters most to them. Our success depends on the strength of our communities, which is why we dedicate significant resources to support non-profit organizations that do great work. We accomplish this through charitable contributions, partnerships, and volunteering.
How and why did Comerica first start supporting the Sharks Foundation and specifically, Reading Is Cool?
Reading is an important part of a child's education, but in order for them to learn how to become great readers, they must have access to books. This program brings in a large amount of donated books and money to purchase more books. We hosted book drives at select banking centers throughout the season because we knew the community would bring lots of books for children who would really enjoy them. Also, by being a part of the Reading is Cool program, we're able to make reading fun with visits from Sharkie and Sharks players to participating schools. This program has provided us with a great opportunity to support education, which is one of our key giving priorities.
Why do you think it's so important to promote literacy to today's youth?
Do do well in school and later in the workplace, kids need to know how to read well. In addition, children can find so much joy and imagination in books that it's a great activity to promote.
Does Comerica assist the community in any other way, besides supporting the Sharks Foundation?
At Comerica, we know that our business can only succeed if the communities we serve are economically healthy and viable. That is why we are committed to improving the communities where we live and work. That commitment is based on our clear vision of being socially responsible and making a tangible difference in the communities we serve. As a result, we have supported numerous non-profit organization in the community, including the United Way, San Jose Rotary Foundation, Sacred Heart Community Services and many others. We also provided a total of $300,000 recently to six non-profit organizations that provide loans to small businesses that otherwise wouldn't qualify for a traditional bank loan. In 2011, Comerica gave close to $3,000,000 in charitable grants to California nonprofit organizations.
What does receiving the Sharks Foundation Community Award mean to you?
This is a great honor and we truly appreciate the recognition. We know how much the Sharks mean to the community and we are proud to be a part of the Sharks Foundation's outreach to local youth.