Public voting begins on $5,000 “Bank on My Dream” contest

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Voting has begun on who will be one of ten Floridians to get a special dream fulfilled this summer — to the tune of $5,000 — in the “Bank on My Dream” contest.

Sponsored by the Florida Bankers Association, “Bank on My Dream” is an effort to promote awareness on how bankers fit into the lives of Floridians. Ten people statewide will have a chance to win $5,000 each, presented by the FBA and its member banks.

There are two requirements to qualify for the contest — a Florida nonprofit organization must nominate the “dream,” and it must be something attainable with the $5,000 cash prize.

With the conclusion of the nomination phase, which began April 17, the contest is now open to public voting, which will account for 20% of the overall scores for the winners

Among the finalists are Malachi Dean, a 4-year-old fighting brain cancer at Broward Health Medical Center and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and Uriel, a 12-year old boy with arthrogryposis multiplex congenital. Uriel’s family needs a reliable, safe mode of transportation. Another is Thomas Benjamin, whose dream is Face It Athletics, providing ten (10) $500 scholarships to at risk and needy children in Palm Beach County so they have the tools and clothes to start the 2014-2015 school year.

“Bankers partner with Floridians to make their dreams come true every day,” said FBA CEO Alex Sanchez in a statement announcing the competition. “Sometimes, a small investment can have a big impact. This contest will demonstrate how $5,000 can make important dreams come true for 10 Floridians.”

All 35 nominations are in narrative or video format and can be found on www.BankOnMyDream.com.

Following the voting period, a panel of judges will select two winners a week for five weeks. Winners will be announced in June and July.

The goal of “Bank on My Dream” is to heighten awareness of the importance of Florida financial institutions, which in 2013 funded 461,771 mortgage loans totaling approximately $90 billion.

As for Florida business, banks also play a vital role in the health of Florida’s economy.

In 2013, Florida banks made more than 48,000 business loans, anywhere from a few thousand dollars to in excess of $1 million:  33,261 were less than $100,000; 8,018 were between $100,000 and $250,000; 7,194 were $250,000 to $1 million.

Established in 1888, the FBA is one of Florida’s oldest trade associations, with a current membership of nearly 300 financial institutions ranging in size from small community banks, thrifts and trust companies to medium-sized banks operating in various parts of the state, to large regional financial institutions headquartered in Florida or outside the state.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.