New opportunities for Birmingham families with surprise gifts from BBVA Compass’ Project Blue Elf

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BBVA’s Project Blue Elf makes donations to the community in December of every year. Photo via BBVA

BBVA Compass is on a mission to bring the age of opportunity to everyone – in Birmingham and across the country. One of the ways the Birmingham-based bank does this is through Project Blue Elf, the company’s signature holiday initiative where employee volunteers work together with community partners to donate impactful gifts to families who have participated in BBVA Compass’ financial literacy programs. 

What is Project Blue Elf?

The volunteers for Project Blue Elf are BBVA Compass employees.  In 2018, more than 4,500 BBVA Compass employees have participated in the volunteer program, representing more than 90,000 hours volunteered in their communities.  Their volunteer efforts reach across the U.S. in cities including Houston, Dallas and Phoenix, as well as Birmingham. Each year, the volunteer teams work with different local organizations. In 2017, for example, the Project Blue Elf teams worked with schools where they distributed toys and read with the students. 

Learn more about Project Blue Elf

This year, the Project Blue Elf teams established friendships with individuals who took part in the BBVA Compass Center for Financial Education, the bank’s Financial literacy initiative. In recognition of their hard work, BBVA Compass surprised the families with special – and much-needed – gifts.  

Learn more about Project Blue Elf here.

A Perfect Match in Birmingham

The Project Blue Elf team discusses their donations for 2018. Photo via BBVA

BBVA Compass partnered with the Salvation Army and the Neighborhood Housing Services of Birmingham to host an event on December 8, 2018.  Though the bank has partnered with these organizations for years, BBVA Compass decided to make an even bigger impact by surprising two families with gifts that will forever change their lives.  

Project Blue Elf plays a pivotal role in this volunteer effort, and each year this program has continued to grow. “This initiative started out as one of the multiple ways we invest in the communities we serve, and it has grown substantially into one of the most powerful undertakings we do each year,” said BBVA Compass Foundation President Reymundo Ocañas.  “Our volunteers realize that the holidays can be a difficult time for those in need and they are happy to help,” added Ocañas. 

The donation table is stocked! Photo via BBVA

More than 45 families attended as BBVA donated $2,500 to each nonprofit partner and recognized two families who had attended the financial literacy programs. They honored each family with a $500 donation in addition to a personally meaningful gift. 

Items Many Take For Granted

The Project Blue Elf volunteers from BBVA Compass knew that each family was in need of a particular household item, and had been taking financial literacy workshops throughout the year with particular goals in mind. Amanda Ingram, the mother of two young boys, mentioned in passing that her stove had only one working eye. The team recognized that a working stove was a true necessity for her family. This gift is something most of us take for granted, and it was exactly what Ingram needed.

“The words out of her mouth were, ‘I can cook now.’ That just melts my heart.”

Wendy Mathis, Project Blue Elf Volunteer

Molanda Manassa, a mother of five, received a new washer and dryer for her family. This is the first time she has ever had new appliances, and she was overcome with gratitude.

Molanda Manassa received a brand new washer and driver thanks to Project Blue Elf. Photo via BBVA

“To receive this gift today, is just overwhelming. I am very appreciative.”

Molanda Manassa, recipient of a brand new washer and dryer

It is clear how touched and happy the BBVA Compass Project Blue Elf volunteers and community partners were to share these joys of the season with each family. They surprised them with the gifts, which were hidden and then dramatically revealed to each recipient! 

“To be able to actually help a family obtain gifts and things that they need just to be successful in their homes is awesome.”

Shanavia Moore, Project Blue Elf volunteer

BBVA Financial Literacy Program and Community Involvement

While giving gifts at the holidays makes a difference in people’s lives, BBVA Compass goes well beyond this. The bank is passionately committed to creating opportunities by improving financial literacy in the communities it serves.  A little less than two years ago, BBVA Compass launched a project that reflects its commitment to financial education: the Center for Financial Education and Capability. With the goal of fostering knowledge in the areas of financial education and capability, the program helps families and individuals learn more about their finances. BBVA Compass also offers financial literacy workshops that are open to the entire public. 

BBVA Project Blue Elf volunteers get ready for the event. Photo via BBVA

In addition to the financial literacy programs, BBVA Compass gives back to the communities where they live and work through:

  • Community reinvestment
  • Charitable giving
  • Employee volunteerism
  • Sustainable practices
  • Diversity and Inclusion

Visit the BBVA Compass website to learn more about the bank’s financial literacy programs and community involvement. 

BBVA Truly Makes A Difference

Amanda Ingram celebrates her new stove with her son. Photo via BBVA

BBVA Compass takes the time to not only mentor and educate the people in Birmingham and beyond, the bank and its volunteers spend time to get to know individuals and their needs. Through Project Blue Elf, the bank’s partnership with community organizations such as the Salvation Army and Neighborhood Housing Service of Birmingham and its Financial Literacy program, BBVA Compass creates opportunities that make a tangible difference in the lives of families throughout our community. 

“I have never seen a bank do anything like this before. Bank with BBVA because they make a difference in the community.”

Amanda Ingram, recipient of a brand new stove

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