First Financial Bank has donated $60,000 to help fund the construction of Heritage Plaza, a proposed beautification project at South Arkansas Community College.
The bank has been one of the college's top benefactors through the years. The relationship simply makes sense, according to FFB Steve Cameron, who also is a member of the SouthArk Board of Trustees.
"First Financial is headquartered here and a substantial part of our business is here. It follows that an educated and economically-sound population is critical to our success in the future," Cameron said. "SouthArk is vital to that goal and we are pleased to help our community college accomplish its mission."
To depict visually the impact that that the college has had on one of the area's largest employers, Cameron requested that all bank employees who have taken classes at SouthArk appear in the photograph of the check presentation.
As it turns out, that accounts for about half of all 165 FFB employees.
"While we had no idea of the exact number, we knew that it would be a significant percentage of our employees who have had classes at SouthArk," Cameron said. "While we have substantial internal training going on at all times for specific jobs, we benefit greatly from a more educated workforce. Whatever the type of class—information technology, English, math, etc.—they all contribute toward providing us a group of employees who are better-equipped to do their jobs in a more professional way."
SouthArk president, Dr. Barbara Jones, said "We are so grateful for the generous gift and ongoing support from First Financial Bank for Heritage Plaza. The plaza will provide a pleasant gathering and learning space for students, faculty, staff and community members. We are thrilled to learn that First Financial Bank is made up of so many SouthArk alumni, which demonstrates the significant impact the college has had in educating our region's workforce. "