Kish Bank Hosts 7th Annual Celebration of Community, Honors Area Educators and More

STATE COLLEGE, PA – June 26, 2024 – Kish Bank hosted its 7th annual Kish Celebrates Community reception Monday evening at the newly opened Palmer Museum of Art at Penn State, where 250 attendees gathered in celebration of community and the heroic efforts of the community organizations, nonprofits, and dedicated volunteers of the Central PA region.

“We are here tonight to share our pride in this region, celebrate your commitment to our communities, and recognize the work of so many outstanding organizations and individuals impacting the quality of life here in Central PA,” said William P. Hayes, Executive Chairman of Kish Bank, as he addressed the crowd. “Like you, all of us at Kish are so proud to call this place home, and proud to be part of the lives of the people who live here. It’s simple—there is no place else we’d rather be.”

Humanitarian of the Year Award

A highlight of the evening was the presentation of Kish’s Humanitarian of the Year Awards to two area educators, each recognized statewide for their exemplary efforts in championing practices and resources that lead students in their care to infinite possibilities of success.

Ashlie Crosson, a 10th grade English teacher at Mifflin County High School, is the 2024 Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year as named by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Born in Mifflin County and graduated from Mifflin County schools, Crosson is cited for her innovative teaching methods and dedication to her students and the community she serves.

Michael Fedisson, Bellefonte High School Principal, is Pennsylvania’s 2024 Principal of the Year as named by the Pennsylvania Principals Association. Fedisson also graduated from and was a student athlete at the school he now leads in Centre County. Fedisson advocated for improved career education programs in agriculture and education and increased focus on student and adult mental health, partnering with The Jana Marie Foundation (Kish Bank’s Outstanding Nonprofit of the Year).

As Hayes explained, “While we recognize and salute educators and teachers everywhere, and we are fortunate in our region to have many who dedicate their lives to this undertaking, tonight we have two individuals who have been recognized by their peers as the very best among us. These individuals see the potential when no one else can. Because of them, the future of our communities will be in safe hands, because they come from right here at home.”

The Humanitarian of the Year Awards were sponsored by the Lewistown Sentinel and Strouse Electric Inc.

Outstanding Nonprofit of the Year Award

The Jana Marie Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to the mental wellbeing of young people in Central Pennsylvania, was awarded Kish’s Outstanding Nonprofit of the Year Award in recognition of being on the front lines of “opening minds and saving lives” in its community-led efforts.

In presenting the award, Kish Bank President and CEO Greg Hayes said, “Building a healthy community is one of our core values here at Kish. We are keenly aware of how the mental health of young people has become a pressing concern, especially during and now following the COVID-19 pandemic. Recent research shows that more than four in ten students feel persistently sad or hopeless, and nearly one-third experience poor mental health. The Jana Marie Foundation is making significant impact, reaching thousands of individuals with support and intervention programming to address youth mental health challenges.”

The Outstanding Nonprofit of the Year Award was sponsored by Stocker Chevrolet and Subaru.

Other Highlights

Kish’s Community Impact Award, an award given annually to a Kish employee for their outstanding volunteering efforts, was awarded to Shane Graham, Vice President and Branch Manager of Kish Bank’s Belleville, Allensville, and Reedsville branches. Graham volunteers over 200 hours each year with four different community organizations, serves on two boards and many committees, and serves as Treasurer for the Mifflin County Historical Society.

Kish highlighted its unique partnership with Giv Local, a Certified Benefit Corporation that provides credit card merchant processing with a promise to donate 20% of the revenue back to a local nonprofit of each business’s choosing at no additional cost. Greg Hayes announced that in 2023, a total of $48,784 was donated to 108 nonprofits in Central PA through Kish and Giv Local’s partnership, bringing total donations since its launch in 2020 to over $124,000.

The Bob Perks Cancer Assistance Fund, PA Pink Zone, and Relay For Life of Mifflin/Juniata were honored for leading the fight against cancer in the Central PA region. Kish celebrated the results of its 2023 Kish for the Cure Campaign, through which employees raised over $74,000 for the three beneficiary organizations.

The evening also featured Mike Rhoades, Penn State Men’s Basketball Head Coach, as a special guest and keynote speaker. Rhoades spoke of the engaging spirit of community found here in Central PA, and of the lasting impact that teachers have made on his life and on the success he is building today with his team.