A strong partnership – San Luis Valley Federal Bank and Trinidad State

Mark Bechaver, SLV Federal Bank President, Jim Kynor, TSJC Vice President -- Valley Campus, Duane Bussey, SLV Federal Bank Chief Executive Officer

ALAMOSA — San Luis Valley Federal Bank CEO, Duane Bussey, and the Bank’s board of directors are grateful to Trinidad State for its physical campus in the San Luis Valley—one that meets the educational needs of so many Valley residents. 

“While online education is a great tool for many,” Bussey said, “the Valley Campus allows students to engage face-to-face with faculty and staff, which builds stronger learning relationships.  The Bank also understands how important education is to increasing a person’s job opportunities, and their life success.”

“Our support of Trinidad State is a great investment for the individual and the community,” he added, “which ultimately helps the bank grow and be successful.” 

San Luis Valley Federal Bank began supporting the College shortly after TSJC created the Valley Campus.  Since 2004, the Bank has contributed $183,000 for scholarships and the Student Emergency Fund.  It recognizes that many people don’t need a four-year degree, and instead need an educational program they can complete more quickly so they can enter the job market faster. 

Attending a two-year college, Valley residents can obtain skills in the trade programs that are so important to the Valley’s economy, along with general business skills needed to fill job opportunities at the Bank and at other local businesses. 

“TSJC fills an important need by providing vocational training, both for adults and new high school graduates,” Bussey said.  “It also provides a college experience to students who may not feel comfortable attending a four-year school to begin their college life.  A large number of Bank employees have also attended Trinidad State, gaining basic business skills that reduce the training and orientation times needed for our employees.”

Scholarships funded by the Bank also give priority to its customers.  “This provides a benefit for Bank members, supports the College, and creates a win-win outcome,” said Bussey.  The awards are meant to supplement expenses, not cover the full cost to attend.  “We’ve learned that many students encounter a small shortfall, but it can be enough to prevent a student from attending,” he said. “The Bank helps fill those gaps.”

In 2016, Foundation Executive Director, Toni DeAngelis, advised the Bank about available matching funds to increase donor contributions.  “This opportunity helped the Bank grow our endowment faster than we could have, otherwise,” said Bussey.  “We made larger donations over that two-year period, which were matched dollar for dollar.”

Earnings from this endowment now fund most of the Bank’s scholarship awards, with the endowment projected to grow and continue meeting student needs into the future. 

The Bank also decided to increase its support in 2020, after recognizing how many people and organizations were hurt by the Coronavirus pandemic.  Large commitments were made by the board to organizations like the Food Bank Network, local hospitals and both Trinidad State and Adams State University.  The $33,000 gift for TSJC was divided between the Student Emergency Fund, the Bank’s endowment, and classes that provide enrichment training for the Valley’s agricultural industry.

The Bank intends to support Trinidad State long into the future.  “Our board believes the TSJC Foundation has been good stewards of our investment in the College,” said Bussey.  “We also believe there’s no better way to support the success of the Valley community than by investing in people’s education.”

“Trinidad State is grateful to the San Luis Valley Federal Bank for its generous support,” said Toni DeAngelis, Executive Director at TSJCEF.  “They’ve been a terrific partner in our efforts to serve students in the San Luis Valley.”

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