Our Towns

Farmers Bank Gives Back to Community for 128 Years

Share on Facebook0Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+0Share on LinkedIn6Pin on Pinterest0Email this to someone

CANFIELD, Ohio — Farmers National Bank has been there for the Canfield community since it was founded in 1887, says Mark L. Graham, a resident of Canfield much of his adult life.

Graham is treasurer of the Canfield Schools Citizens (levy) Committee, a trustee of the Mill Creek Metro Parks political action committee, chairman of the distribution committee of the James & Coralie Centofanti Foundation, serves on the finance committee of St. Michael Catholic Church and on the Ursuline Sisters’ preschool committee.

Graham’s children went to Canfield public schools and played in the city’s public parks as they grew up.

When time allows, he is executive vice president and chief credit officer of Farmers National Bank.

“I’m blessed to live in Canfield and work at Farmers,” he says. He insists his giving back to his community is typical of the 110 employees who work in the bank headquarters and offices in the city and township.

Large or small, “This bank has always been there when the schools or city needed something,” Graham says as he looks out on the green from his office. Each year, the bank extends the use of its electricity and water on the west side of the green for the annual Fourth of July parade and each summer sponsors concerts on the green.

Graham says that giving back starts at the top with the president and CEO, Kevin Helmick, who sits on the Akron Children’s Hospital Community Leadership Council and on the boards of the Better Business Bureau of Columbiana, Mahoning and Trumbull Counties and the Youngstown Warren Regional Chamber and is a trustee of both the Youngstown State University Penguin Club and Ohio Foundation of Independent Colleges.

Even before he became CEO, Helmick was involved in promoting financial literacy in Canfield public schools, Graham says. Today Farmers Bank is involved in such efforts in 20 high schools throughout the Mahoning Valley, committing $120,000 over three years.

Jennifer Everett has been in charge of Farmers’ financial literacy program the last three years, Graham says. And Amber Wallace, senior vice president for marketing, has been just as involved.

The bank’s chief financial officer, Executive Vice President Carl Culp, has been heavily involved in raising funds for the American Cancer Society and is treasurer of the United Way of Youngstown and Mahoning Valley and chairman of its finance committee. A member of the Canfield Rotary, he serves on its finance committee. Culp also is on the board of Shepherd of the Valley Retirement Services and sits on its finance committee.

The bank supports the Northern Ohio Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and its Great Strides fundraisers held in Canfield, Graham says.

Farmers employees chose the causes or charities in which they want to be involved, Graham says, and then find the bank will support that involvement financially and by providing release time if an activity is held during business hours.

Farmers Trust Co., a subsidiary of Farmers National Banc Corp., distributes $7 million annually to worthy causes, including scholarships, Graham notes, while the bank gives $250,000 a year to nonprofit groups in the communities it serves.

That footprint has grown from Columbiana, Mahoning and Trumbull counties into Stark and Cuyahoga counties.

Graham points to the Centofanti Charitable Foundation, set up by a former director on the Farmers Bank board, James Centofanti, and his wife, Coralie. The couple gave primarily in support of the Canfield community until its largest gift in 2012, when the foundation contributed to $1 million to Youngstown State University to create the Centofanti Center for Health and Welfare for Vulnerable Populations within the Bitonte College of Health and Human Services.

Among the causes and efforts Farmers supports that support Canfield are Angels for Animals, Beatitude House, Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Mahoning County, 4-H clubs in Mahoning County, Second Harvest Food Bank and Boy Scouts of America.

Pictured: Employees gather in February 1962 in front of the vault, still used today, for tea and cookies to mark Farmers’ 75th anniversary.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is second installment in this month’s “Our Towns” series. The entire series can be read in the MidMay edition of The Business Journal, in subscribers’ mailboxes this week.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.