First Fidelity Bank & Tripp County Community Foundation
Carson Covey believes he has winning roots. “I’m fortunate to come from a community like Winner,” says the 24-year-old graduate student. “The community is so good about supporting students.”
A big source of that support comes from the First Fidelity Bank & Tripp County Community Foundation. Tripp County is one of 77 communities partnering with the South Dakota Community Foundation (SDCF) through a Community Savings Accounts (CSA).The CSA for Tripp County was established in 1995 when First Fidelity Bank offered to make a $50,000 donation to each community in which the bank was located, encouraging the area to set up a permanent endowment through SDCF. Today, that endowment has grown to $400,000 and grants of nearly $275,000 have been awarded in the community.
Tripp County maintains 11 scholarship funds, encouraging students to continue in education and pursue their goals. Covey is one of those students. A 2011 Winner High School graduate who was the recipient of the Charles Hellman Memorial Scholarship for Future Educators, Covey went on to receive his bachelor of arts degree in music education from South Dakota State University and is now in the master’s degree program at North Dakota State University, studying collaborative piano.
“I wanted to graduate with as few loans as possible, and the scholarship helped me achieve my goals.”Carson Covey
That’s exactly what Chuck Keiser likes to hear. He has served on the First Fidelity Bank & Tripp County Community Foundation board since its inception and has enjoyed being part of the investment in youth. “One of the most important things in the community is education,” he says.
Many scholarship donors have a desire to memorialize a friend or loved one. “The money will be held in perpetuity,” he notes. “It’s a one-time investment. The money never runs out. Even after the donor is not here, our CSA is a vehicle that will always be here. It shows that people put their trust in us.”
It is positive to see students like Covey use the funding wisely. “We hope these kids will go on to get an education and come back to the community, whether it’s as educators, bankers, family ranchers or something else,” he says.
That’s certainly in Covey’s mind as he plans to graduate in a year. “I’d like to come back to South Dakota,” he says. “It’s always nice to be closer to home.”
Keiser says it’s been an honor being part of an organization that makes a difference for students. “It’s nice to know our work is playing a small part in young people achieving their goals and dreams.”