NCB Foundation celebrates $1 billion mark
To whom much is given, much is expected, and the National Commercial Bank (NCB), has been giving back through its foundation.
Last Thursday, the NCB Foundation celebrated passing the J$1-billion mark in supporting its areas of remit: education, community and sports development, and youth leadership and entrepreneurship. The celebration was held at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel. A moving testimony came from Princeton Brown, an NCB Foundation scholarship recipient, who last month became a doctor.
In his testimony, which brought many to tears, he recalled that when he went for the scholarship, there was a painting of a farmer with a cutlass chopping through brush. The painting read, 'Where there is no path, create one'.
"NCB sharpened my cutlass and placed it in my hands," he said. "I am a living example of what the foundation is doing. I will be eternally grateful." Brown opined that the $1-billion mark didn't quite tell the story.
"If we should place a cost on what they have done, it's immeasurable, because one cannot measure the impact they have had on lives, the dreams they have helped make reality," he said. Brown promised he would be doing his part, making himself an ambassador for the foundation's work.
"The gratitude I have in my heart, words cannot express it," he said. "But what I will do is do my honest part to ensure that, as a young man, I can contribute to my society, to my country, and help keep this amazing cycle, this amazing thing that the foundation is doing. And in doing so, this foundation, this initiative will continue to surpass time."
Brown, a Portland native, then took up NCB Group chairman Michael Lee-Chin's 'push-up' challenge. Both men made the 50 mark. Lee-Chin, ever the philosopher, said Jamaicans today are what our forebears dreamt future generations would be.
"We have all the assets that they would have loved to have had ... . Let us make sure we use those tools wisely, in the help of mankind," he said. He encouraged persons to do well, do good for others and live with passion.
"If NCB was not going well, they would not be able to do good," he said. "So please let us celebrate when people do good, because people who do well, do good and doing well, they are actually the quintessential role models. And lastly, I am proud of NCB because of the passion they have for building a better Jamaica."
Special guest Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller lauded the foundation for its work, saying it "exemplifies the big corporate heart of NCB". Always with a soft spot for sports and youth, Simpson Miller saluted every avenue of the foundation's efforts.
The bulk of the money, some $245 million, has gone to funding scholarships and grants for 3,000 individuals. Another approximately $216 million has been used to purchase computer equipment and improve school and hospital infrastructure.
The foundation has also provided disaster assistance, funded CSEC fee sponsorship (principles of accounts and business), supported sports development, and assisted various community projects. Some 92,000 persons have been directly impacted by the CSEC sponsorship, while more than 50,000 have benefited from the disaster assistance.
"In addition to the individuals we directly assist, we also positively impact their families, their communities, and the nation at large," said foundation Chair Thalia Lyn. She highlighted some of the foundation's major projects outside its remit, including $120 million towards Hurricane Ivan Disaster Relief, and building homes for needy families in St Thomas and St Ann, in partnership with Food For The Poor and Island Grill.
"Each of us has a role to play in building a better Jamaica," she said. "We will individually all be better off for it, and we will leave a better place for the next generation."