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Wendy Reuer, Published December 18 2012

Bell State Bank & Trust pays donations forward

FARGO – Bell State Bank & Trust employees paid it forward Tuesday by donating $7,500 to support United Way of Cass Clay programs.

The donation brings the annual campaign’s total to $4.2 million, less than $1 million away from its goal of $5.1 million, said Sheri Thomsen, president of United Way of Cass Clay.

“We’d really encourage individuals in this community to start thinking about making a year-end gift to really consider United Way,” Thomsen said.

The Bell State Bank & Trust donation is part of the company’s annual Pay It Forward program. Each employee is offered $1,000 they can donate throughout the year to a cause or organization of their choice, said Tom Carvell, software engineer with the bank.

Carvell said he sent an email out to employees asking if they would like to contribute to the United Way and received $7,500 within 24 hours.

“There are all these little nooks and crannies in our community where there is a void that is out of sight, out of mind from our everyday lives,” Carvell said. “(United Way) steps in, and they do such a great job to help with those,” Carvell said.

Bank employees saw firsthand where their Pay It Forward dollars were going Tuesday morning when Carvell and two co-workers, Darin Gabriel and Gail Blair, read to the students of Fercho YMCA Child Care Center in south Fargo.

Many of the students are a part of the United Way’s Imagination Library program. Imagination Library sends a book to each child’s address once a month from birth to age 5. More than 9,000 books have been sent to encourage reading and learning.

“I think I got more of a blessing here today seeing (the kids) than I did just learning about (the program),” Gabriel said.

Programs such as Imagination Library make donating Pay It Forward money to United Way an easy choice, Gabriel said.

“I started thinking and with all of United Way does, what better way to share,” Blair said.

More than $3 million has been donated to local programs and charities in the bank’s five years of participating in Pay it Forward.

Blair said the nice thing about the program is that it asks bank employees to consider where their donations go and what programs are available in the Fargo-Moorhead area.

The United Way campaign raised $5,010,429 last year, exceeding its goal of $5 million.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Wendy Reuer at (701) 241-5530

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