Banking unit awards Family Services first-time homebuyer funds

SunTrust presented a $100,000 grant to Family Services Inc. to help the nonprofit promote homeownership in the community. From left are Matt Giddens, the Carolina Division community development manager for SunTrust Bank; Debbie Kidd, director of Family Services’ Homeownership Resource Center; Kristin Bastian, the center’s financial education manager; Rebecca Costanzo, Charleston area manager of SunTrust Mortgage; and Mark Lattanzio, Charleston region president of SunTrust Bank.

When helping people purchase their initial house, $100,000 can go a long way.

North Charleston-based Family Services Inc. was one of 15 nonprofit housing agencies to earn grants from the SunTrust Mortgage home-loan subsidiary of SunTrust Banks Inc. The $100,000 payout will assist the group’s first time homebuyer program, notably to help it buy 100 homes in 2016.

Family Services says it’s also among eight NeighborWorks organizations to receive SunTrust grants.

The funds help housing agencies continue to provide professional financial and housing counseling services to people and families to enable them “to reach financial stability,” according to Family Services. The nonprofit each year helps “thousands of people” get control of their finances going forward, offering programs on financial coaching, credit improvement, debt management, student debt solutions, bankruptcy counseling and homebuyer education, it says.

“SunTrust’s generosity will assist us in helping 100 additional community members achieve their dream of homeownership in 2016,” says Debbie Kidd, Homeownership Resource Center director for Family Services.

Rebecca Costanzo, Charleston area manager of SunTrust Mortgage Inc., says buying a home helps in city and town development.

“Homeownership is the foundation for building and strengthening our communities,” she says. “Partnering with outstanding community organizations to deliver valuable tools to homebuyers is an example of SunTrust putting our purpose of Lighting the Way to Financial Well-Being into action,” she says. “Additionally, anyone looking to take a step toward financial confidence can join our movement at onUp.com to receive financial advice, tips and tools.”

Close to 90 percent of people in a NeighborWorks survey agreed that homeownership is a “key part” of the American Dream, says Paul Weech, NeighborWorks America president and chief executive. “The investments from SunTrust will help these organizations make those dreams come true,” he says. NeighborWorks America, he says, champions the “continuing support” from SunTrust Mortgage for homeownership and consumer financial preparedness.

To learn about Family Services programs, go to www.makehomehappen.org or call 843-735-7802.

Founded in 1889, Family Services Inc. “has remained one of the leading human service nonprofit organizations by providing professional financial, housing and health counseling services to residents and businesses of South Carolina,” the nonprofit says. Visit www.fsisc.org or email info@fsisc.org.

SunTrust Banks, headquartered in Atlanta, operates an “extensive” branch network in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast states, including South Carolina.

Reach Jim Parker at 843-937-5542 or jparker@postandcourier.com.