Ledyard National Bank has been an Upper Valley institution since opening in 1989. Now with seven branches and two Ledyard Financial Advisors offices across the region, the Local First Alliance member strives to give back to the community through a variety of innovative programs. Through a recent campaign encouraging customers to switch to e-statements, for each conversion Ledyard donated a tree for planting in conjunction with the Connecticut River Watershed Council. The bank has also rolled out a new mortgage product to support the purchase of manufactured homes; geared toward low- to moderate-income households, the program serves an often overlooked population in the region. These are just two examples of how the bank helps customers in the local community “Plan well. Live well.”
Aspiring graphic artists and communications professionals at the Hartford Area Career and Technology Center are competing to create new public service announcements for Local First Alliance, a program of Vital Communities. The ads will answer the question: Why is it cool to shop at locally owned businesses?
“Local First Alliance is focused on supporting a vibrant local economy. The first-ever Upper Valley High School Communications Competition engages students to help us spread the message of how important and fun it is to shop at locally owned businesses,” said Local First Alliance Administrator Emily Gardner. “The contest will provide powerful marketing resources for our program while giving students valuable experience collaborating with industry professionals and showcasing their work to the community.”
The Upper Valley High School Communications Competition is a pilot project in 2014, focusing on students in HACTC’s Media Arts program taught by Felicia Allard. The Local First Alliance Steering Committee will select winners in three categories: print, television, and radio. The winning print PSAwill run in the Valley News and on the side of a Chippers truck, and the winning radio PSA will run on Great Eastern Radio stations. Each winning artist or team will receive a $150 cash award courtesy of Lake Sunapee Bank, Ledyard National Bank, and Mascoma Savings Bank. The winning television PSA will run on WPTZ, and the winner will receive an iPad courtesy of Systems Plus Computers.
Due May 14, submissions serve as the students’ senior projects and help strengthen their portfolios as they pursue college and jobs. Winners will be announced on Wednesday, May 21, with awards presented at the HACTC senior awards banquet on Thursday, May 22.
Local First Alliance businesses strengthen the Upper Valley economy not only through their own work but by supporting each other. Three Tomatoes Trattoria in downtown Lebanon exemplifies that practice. With the belief that “living and working in the community is a privilege,” Three Tomatoes Trattoria provides a gathering place where neighbors and friends can connect over fresh, authentic, simply prepared Italian meals in a casual atmosphere. The restaurant takes pride in sourcing ingredients from local farmers and producers, and actively participating in the good work that best serves the people who live in the Upper Valley.
Another Local First Alliance member, North Road Sugar Works in Vershire, is a new nonprofit organization aimed at establishing an educational sugarhouse while stimulating the local economy and community. Founder Marc McKee, who has 25 years of experience sugaring at Vershire’s Mountain School, is working to build an efficient, sustainably constructed sugarhouse that can serve as a model for “responsible” sugaring and open up discussions about the impacts of climate change on maple trees, “the love and lore associated with maple production,” and the challenges for the industry moving forward. Look for North Road Sugar Works to open (fingers crossed) in Spring 2015.