First Bank Richmond has made a gift of $100,000 to Bethany Theological Seminary. The gift is designated to the Bethany Neighborhood, a program of the Seminary designed to foster a sense of connection between students and encourage engagement with the surrounding community. The gift signals a continued partnership between the Seminary and a leading financial institution in the region.
“We are humbled and honored by the generosity of First Bank Richmond,” says President Jeff Carter. “First Bank has been a key supporter and friend of the Seminary for many years, and we are grateful for their continued support of our mission. We are thrilled to work with them to support our students and to strengthen the Richmond and Wayne County communities.”
The gift will support student scholarships, student housing, and efforts to get students more deeply involved in community organizations. It underscores the Seminary’s commitment to a forward-looking graduate education that pushes students to minister, serve, and lead in a variety of contexts — in church settings and other organizations. The gift will also strengthen the Seminary’s ongoing efforts to provide a pathway to debt-free education to its students.
“Bethany Theological Seminary is truly a gem, and we are very happy to support their efforts to provide high quality graduate education and to produce graduates who are prepared to make contributions to this community and society as a whole,” notes Garry Kleer, president of First Bank Richmond.
First Bank Richmond was founded in 1887. In addition to providing banking and lending services to businesses and individuals, it is also committed to supporting local organizations. In 2021, the Bank contributed more than $500,000 to local nonprofit organizations and 60 percent of staff members served on a committee or board of a nonprofit.
Bethany Theological Seminary relocated to Richmond in 1994. Since then, many alumni have chosen to make Wayne County their long-term home. Locally, Bethany alumni have been active in education, ministry, and nonprofit leadership.
The gift from First Bank comes as the Seminary is expanding opportunities for students to engage with local nonprofit organizations as part of their educational programs, an effort that is funded, in part, by a recent grant from the Lilly Endowment of Indianapolis. The First Bank gift will help the Seminary to welcome more residential students who will study, minister, and lead while living in Wayne County.
“For many years, our students have volunteered with local organizations,” notes Carter. “But we know that our students are capable of more. Our vision is that students bring energy and ideas that will allow them to lead change in these organizations. Generous benefactors like First Bank and Lilly are positioning us to make a real difference in the community so that Wayne County — and the world — will flourish!”