By Benjamin Fang
Local businesses and nonprofit organizations often work together for the betterment of the community. Maria Odysseos, vice president and market manager at Investors Bank’s Broadway branch, serves as co-chair of the Queens Chamber of Commerce’s Nonprofit Committee. She said her bank often lends a helping hand to offer assistance on banking or financial needs.
“We take an active role in the community,” she said. “We get to know them, they get to know us.”
When opening a new branch in a community, Investors Bank meets business owners, elected officials and local nonprofits. Then the bank partners with them and showcase the organizations, especially at their grand opening. Bank employees also volunteer their time to make a difference in the community. Investors Bank also has a foundation that gives grants throughout New York and New Jersey.
“We try to go to the grassroots in the community,” Odysseos said. “We want to make a difference.”
At Nonprofit Committee meetings, Odysseos said they talk to nonprofits throughout the borough to better understand the issues and challenges they face. Organizations often seek help for accounting, lending, grant writing and even how to find good board members who can help with fundraising.
Then the committee hosts helpful events and seminars. For example, Investors Bank joined the Queens Chamber for a nonprofit lending seminar recently. A lender from Investors spoke about what type of lending is available, what banks generally look for, and budgetary issues.
Many nonprofits that receive city or state funding have to wait for it to come at a certain time. Odysseos said organizations often need a small line of credit for a few months.
The committee will host similar events connecting the business world to the nonprofit sector in the future. “Going forward, we will see what other topics nonprofits are interested in,” Odysseos said.